Otter Creek's Pale Ale is a filtered, golden-amber ale brewed with pale malts and huge doses of Cascade hops. Immediately note a big, raw hop character on the nose; bigly orange in character, with minor notes of citrus zest and fresh grains. Expect a slightly dank mustiness. On the palate, we picked up some notes of soft fruits (apricots, peach) that begin with plenty of room to breathe and grow a bit before being shut down by the hoppy bitterness. Expect light zesty flavors, including lime rind and pulp, all washed in a bath of very citrusy hops, without the hefty bitterness you might expect in a beer with this much hops in the aroma. This is a pale ale you could have tons of; it’s very easygoing but flavorful, and nicely balanced with moderate bitterness in the finish. Consider pairing this with a smoked pepper turkey and sharp cheddar sandwich, heavy on the peperoncini peppers.
The Otter Creek Brewing is located in the beautiful little college town of Middlebury, Vermont. They shipped their first keg of beer back in March of 1991, which has us wondering… are the kegs at local college parties filled with Otter Creek brews? And, if so, is it too late to go back to college?
Their original brewery was conceived of in 1989 by Lawrence Miller, an avid homebrewer. Four years later, they had outgrown their original site and moved into a state of the art brewery just down the road. Middlebury was chosen as the brewery site as much for its quality of life as for its excellent water obtained from the pristine Otter Creek River (hence their name). Larry knew from extensive travels and studies throughout Europe that good quality water would be critical as he developed his brand of beers, each brewed with a focus on old-world brewing methods.
Good water is key to great beer, and these days, good business practices and focus on ecological impact help make a good brewery great. Otter Creek Brewing uses local ingredients and works with local companies whenever possible. They also use recycled cardboard for their 6-pack carriers, recycle their brewhouse water wherever possible, and utilize B20 Biodiesel to heat their brewkettle. And, they even capitalize on the cold-weather climate of Vermont, using a system that takes in cold air outside to offset the brewery’s refrigeration needs. You help Mother Nature, she helps you right back.
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (800) 473-0727 or check out their web site at www.ottercreekbrewing.com.
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