Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stateline Brewery

On a busy August weekend my friends and I visited the Stateline Brewery in South Lake Tahoe. With an amazing location, just a minute from the Nevada casinos, a good happy hour and a solid menu we all agreed this is a "Try It" place. We sat downstairs in their enormous indoor space, but wished we were sitting outside in the sunshine. 

Those people looked happy. The food menu was rather imaginative, more than your average bar menu, with resort prices to match. Nothing to complain about here. The draft beer selection was solid, but not spectacular. The Stateline Brews were decent but indistinct and they were only pouring 2 of their 5 drafts. Weak....

Avalanche Ale is a solid Pale Ale, a good drinking beer that satisfies but doesn't wow. (Pictured, in full glass) Definitely "Try It". It has a nice amber color with a slightly cloudy body. There is a noticeable hop aroma, with a slight malt balance. It doesn't drink as hoppy as it smells, well, not after the first sharp hop notes. 

The opening taste has a mild sour edge, but this is well balanced by a rich malt that mellows it out. The malt finishes a bit heavy on the tongue but it isn't unpleasant or overwhelming. Once the mouth gets used to this balance, it is quite happy and could go for a few of 'em. The official description noted a "toasted malt finish", we didn't find one. Everyone at the table was happy with this one. We suggested that it drinks similar to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but with a lighter malt body.

White Out Wit is advertised as a "refreshing wheat beer brewed with German Barley, coriander and Curacao orange peel." (Pictured, in half glass) From that description you might see the problem. The focus on secondary flavors, and not on making a solid wit beer gets this one off on the wrong foot from the start. While I enjoyed it because I am a sucker for wheat beers, the consensus was that this is a "Skip It". It came with an orange. For me, not a good sign. More bad early signs: a weak aroma (wheat beers can be fragrant), a very clear body (too clear and golden for my wits). As with most wheat based beers the hop level is muted and balanced with wheat flavor. Here neither really shines. 

The rich wheaty body is missing (no surprise, noting the color). There is a definite flavor bouquet you hit on the front part of the sip, but the flavors could be stronger and last longer. If you are going to focus on those flavors and not focus attention specifically at the beer, at least do it well (in my opinion, Great White by Lost Coast Brewery does this brilliantly). The end result leaves the beer in no-man's land, not rich enough to be a good rich guy's beer, not fruity enough to be a chick beer.

I'd like to see what else this brewery does. I assume they have uniform drinkability for the tourist crowd, I wonder if they have anything truly groundbreaking for the brewheads reading this review. We'll see!

1 comment:

  1. Hey there!
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Stateline to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you!