Santa Fe Brewing just tapped their famous Irish Red Ale for the season. They threw a big party in celebration, and believe me, if you’ve ever spent any time, at all, with the Irish, you’d know to tell them that the “craic” was good, indeed!
Last Saturday, fun-seeking folks and families braved the cold for this festival of Irish fun. There were some delicious eats on the cheap and … bagpipes? OK, so maybe bagpipes are Scottish, but they still added to the overall mood of merriment, rather than incite any international incidents. Although, that sort of Brew-ha-ha is just SFBC’s style. We’ve all been to Oktoberfiesta where lederhosen and sombreros are the rule, not the exception.
As mentioned, the very talented High Desert Pipes & Drums came up from Albuquerque to teach us a thing or two about how to rock in a kilt, or simply how to rock a kilt. They even played the theme to Star Wars when requested.
Despite the cold weather (when Santa Feans tend to be a bit shy about going out), there was a great turnout. It was fun to see my friends old and new, but as always, I was here for the beer. This malty masterpiece is one of my favorite seasonals that Santa Fe Brewing releases. It’s a beer that I could drink all day, and believe me, I certainly tried. And at 4.8-percent ABV, when your ride arrives, you’ll still remember you were the one who called him/her.
Fundamentally, I wasn’t a fan of the whole session idea at all, but with this beer, I’m starting to get it. It’s brewed not to be a huge new barrel-aged, palate-wrecking, one-off experience, but instead to be a good beer that fits a fun time. It’s brewed to fit a certain quality of taste and style, not just something you pour down your throat until the ABV finally adds up to inebriation. It’s brewed so that each mouthful is a reminder that you’re enjoying your experience on this planet, you’re having a good time, but you’re not in a frat-house anymore, ‘Flounder.’ This session is not meant to be shotgunned, and perhaps it’s not meant to be overly fussed over, either. Though if you’d like to, you’ll certainly find something special in its use of Noble and American hops, which give it just enough bitterness to provide balance. You’ll find something wonderfully deep and complex about the caramel malt character from the mostly Maris Otter bill, and you’ll find that when it comes to brewing, very few people can achieve that artfully dry finish as well as Head Cellarman Leif Rotsaert, the wizard behind the recipe. And this recipe’s been at SFBC since 2012, with hardly any tweaking.
In the polarizing world of beer tastings and beer bongs, this session beer finds itself somewhere in between, just chillin’. And it’s a party beer, don’t get me wrong. In the can, it’s ready for anything you can throw at it. But when I drink this one, I remember all of those long conversations over pints, late into those summer nights with my Irish friends at a pub. For those moments, and many others like them, this craft brew is for you. Sorry (Not sorry) AB-Inbev, this is the beer adults bring to the party. And party we must.
Santa Fe Brewing Company’s Irish Red Ale will be available on tap and in cans at the brewery and Eldorado Taproom as well as many other restaurants and bars and grocers near your hooley. But, it’ll only be available through the month of March, so drink up or stock up.