Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Oversized Wine Glass
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal, English Caramalt
Hops: Nugget, Centennial, Cascade
Don't let the Aragorn-meets-Disney-cartoon-meets-'The Rock'-Sheriff on the label put you off; the beer is much better than the label might suggest. The nose is sharp, with a strikingly edgy hop aroma featuring citrus, resinous pine notes and herbal qualities approaching chamomile and, well, we'll just say it, mentholated juniper (here come the e-mails…). The beer has a very long-lived bitterness that goes right to the salivary glands and attacks! (You'll actually feel it). These are all good things for us hopheads. Expect pungent hop flavors, pine and woody flavors all to come through in the flavor, anchored in the finish by a profound bitterness. You'll want to pair this with something spicy, like the recipe found here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/105195 for broiled shrimp with spicy ginger-lime butter (we doubled the dose of cayenne pepper, skewer-grilled rather than broiled, and loved it with this brew).
"…Sherwood Forest has been considered an enchanted place, home to myths, legends and many a story of honor, tradition and loyalty." So reads the website for Sherwood Forest Brewers Ltd.—explaining the meaning behind their choice in name. Since their inception in 1997 and until just recently, they've brewed one beer and one beer alone: Archer's Ale. Taking a cue from Sherwood Forest's number one resident, Robin Hood, the philosophy behind this beer has been to deliver precision accuracy (stylistically) and consistency (quality), while delivering us from the evil of the tyrant Sheriff of Nottingham (macro-brewed swill).
And like Robin Hood, this particular archer has earned itself a place in lore: it was only the 3rd beer in the country available in a can (Sherwood Forest was just the 2nd company in the U.S. to can). "Microbrewed beer in a can?!?" you cry with disbelief. "Why would you do that?" Well, if you haven't already taken notice of this trend, it's happening all around the world as microbrewers realize that canning microbrewed beer is a cheaper, more portable, more protective way to package their products. For years, it's been a tough sell, as people reported that canned beers had a metallic flavor. But developments in canning technology have yielded a protective lining that prevents the beer from ever contacting the metal of the can.
If you live near a park/beach/river and wanted to bring along some craft brewed beer, you'll have noticed that most prohibit glass bottles—leaving few options for microbrewed beer lovers (or, think back to your last flight; any good canned beer there? Nope.) Other benefits? Turns out canning equipment is actually cheaper than bottling lines, providing a break to start-up microbreweries. But probably the best reason to can is the fact that cans offer superior protection to beer—no oxidation (from air leakage around the bottle cap) and no skunking by light strike!
We tip our hats to these guys for having the guts to can when so few would dare, and for putting something worth drinking in those cans!
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