21 April 2011

Amber gamble

I do love a good American amber ale: gentle but assertive hop fruitiness based on a firm and biscuity malt base and a middle-of-the-road ABV, between 5 and 6%. It's the best of all possible worlds and great fun to just drink through without giving it too much thought.

Anderson Valley's Boont is a relative newcomer to these parts, hailing from California as all the best amber ales do -- Speakeasy's Prohibition, for the record, is my benchmark here. It's certainly amber, a deep shade of orange, darkened further by a suspended haze: it's not amber if there aren't things trapped in it, I guess. Sherbet lemons and gingerbread on the nose, and a flavour dominated by toffee malt. The hop notes are rather muted, dialled down from bitter, below fruity, and only just hanging on as floral, though a little bit of citric tang kicks in cheekily at the end. And I wouldn't change a thing about it. At 5.8% ABV it's light enough to drink freely, but with enough weight to carry the different flavours and aromas. End-to-end tastiness.

And with this canary still happily chirping in its cage, I deem it safe to explore the rest of the Anderson Valley range in due course.


  1. Anderson Valley do make some nice beers, the amber being one of the better ones in my experience. Now, if only we could find Irish craft beer so readily over here (other than O'Hara's and Porterhouse that is).

  2. My go-to beer back in the early 90s. Many a California beer geek was weened on Boont Amber

  3. It is a lovely beer.

  4. An American classic, by any standard. One does wonder whether "amber" should really be called a style, but that's a different debate.