The red or amber ale style category is in many ways a sort of catch-all for beers of a certain hue that don’t neatly fall into other categories. They can be hop-focused, though typically not as much as an IPA. They can be malty, almost like märzens or Vienna lagers, but brewed with ale yeast. When high in ABV, they can begin hinting toward barleywines. Or they can be both hoppy and malty in the very bold, powerful way that this red ale is. Certainly one of the better of the style that we’ve encountered in many moons (and a 2011 GABF Silver Medalist), Jamaica Red presents an unfiltered, deep, rich, reddish color capped by a big fluffy head that descends to a thick collar that drops plenty of lacing. Caramel malt aromas spring forth, overlaid by hop notes of sweet, candied citrus fruits. On the palate, one may have a hard time deciding if the malts or hops ultimately win out; the malt-hop interplay is impressive, creating huge complexity. Rich, chewy malts offer toasty caramel notes with moderate sweetness, while hops provide a very resinous and floral character with spicy citric notes of tangerine and grapefruit. Look for added complexities in varying intensities like maple syrup, spruce, toffee, earthy bread, and anise. Big, round, smooth, and creamy, Jamaica Red is very well-balanced in the most aggressive sort of way. The brewery recommends pairing with savory crepes, pasta with white sauce, or grilled chicken. We'd like to add well-done (nearly burnt crust) white pizza to that list. Cheers!