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Drink Wed Apr 07 2010
This week is a special one for microbrewery's: the Craft Brewer's Conference brings together wholesalers and (who else?) craft brewers for a week of business, pleasure, and some serious beer drinking. I was lucky enough to be present for Ale Night, held last night at The Gage, by Arcadia Ales. The Battle Creek, MI brewery debuted new packaging for their Sky High Rye, Whitsun brews as well as appropriately elegant new looks for Cereal Killer and Big Dick's Olde Ale, and offered generous tastings of these fine brews.
Arcadia's owner, Tim Suprise, was on hand to present the four beers, which were widely varied but equally excellent. On draft, there was the Sky High Rye, a rye and pale-malt blend with an exceptionally drinkable bitterness. Hoppy pale ales are not normally my thing, but this one had enough flavor to please my palate. Upon seeing the new label for Whitsun, however, I knew it would be more my speed. A wheat beer with an orangey color and flavor, its relative mildness compared to the Sky High made it as easy to drink as a soda pop. Which was a good thing, because I still had two ales to go!
If you're a true beer lover, you cannot continue living without trying Arcadia's rich and decadent Barleywine-style ales. Both the Big Dick's Olde Ale and the Cereal Killer have a sweet, madeira-esque flavor, with the latter's intensity and syrupy texture kicked up a few notches. At 8% and 10% alcohol by volume respectively, these bottles are reminiscent of bourbon stouts, and pack a punch that will likely hold you to a single serving. But it will be an enjoyable serving indeed.
Suprise told me that Arcadia specializes in British-style ales, and utilizes British equipments and English barley (among other things) to preserve the authenticity of the ales. Suprise carried the Briton influence beyond the pint and into his wardrobe: he donned a fashionable kilt. He also shared a short list of places where Chicagoans can try these and other Arcadia Ales firsthand:
Four- and six-packs can also be purchased at Binny's and most Chicagoland Whole Foods locations.
Happy drinking-or, as the Arcadia folks would put it, Sláinte!