Saturday, November 26, 2011

Silver Anniversary Ale (Summit Brewing, St. Paul, MN)

Hoppy Anniversary!  25th anniversary limited edition ale that is a hopped up version of Summit's classic and iconic American pale ale.  Burnt amber pale ale with a fluffy off white head that hangs in there for most of the beer.  Big grapefruit and hop spice over a moderate malt.  Can really smell the EPA underneath the strong hoppiness that Summit added to this ale.  Hops linger on the tongue with a sharp bitterness at the sides.  Slightly sweet finish but the hop is still there off the back.  Same mineral taste that is the classic EPA, the smaller malt bill let the hops shine through the lighter (but by no means thin) body.

A very fun "interpretation" of the EPA, as stated on Summit's website, and an excellent homage to the legacy and role that Summit has played in the development of craft beer.  Cascade hops are the common element. Horizon and Fuggles are swapped out for Citra and Centennial hops (plus a dry hop) to create the anniversary ale.  The changes give a clearly American tint to the beer compared to the English character of the EPA.

Both are good, but I like the Silver Anniversary Ale better.  However, I don't think comparison is really the point.  The lighter, hop forward American style of the anniversary ale compared to the maltier, English character of the EPA is a harbinger of the changing beer world from the Old to the New.  While European beers still have a lot to offer (and I still intend to travel to see for myself just how much), the heart and soul of the beer world is transplanting to the US--if it hasn't already.   Emerging beer countries like Japan and Australia, among others, look to the cooperative yet individualistic model of US craft brewers rather than the style based approach for much of Europe.  Belgium, a country less tied to styles, seems to be the leader in following the lessons learned in the creation of the US craft industry.  The very existence of a one of my favorite new styles--Belgian IPA--is almost prima facie proof of the seismic shift.

Get a six pack of the Silver Anniversary Ale, enjoy the flavor, celebrate the accomplishments of Summit, and joyously anticipate the future of the craft beer industry right in our own backyard.

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