Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Final Frontier

If you know anything about me, you know that I'm a big-time STAR TREK nerd. I love anything and everything about the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise and all of the spinoffs, and I'm not ashamed to don some pointed ears, or wear a uniform, or make the Vulcan salute.

Last weekend, I put that claim to the test by checking out the Starfleet Academy Experience, at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. I pinned on my Next Generation communicator and did what any cadet would do, including commanding a starship for the Kobayashi Maru test.

I didn't cheat, like James T. Kirk did, but I did manage to save my own ship and rescue 30 members of the ill-fated Maru before it was destroyed.

But, enough geek talk.

I also took advantage of the long weekend to indulge in another of my passions: beer. And, with a STAR TREK-inspired beer available, my weekend seemed to be looking up.

Just in time for a STAR TREK gala at the museum and for the 2016 Ottawa Comiccon, The Clocktower Brew Pub, in partnership with the Federation of Beer (Pluto's Moon Beer Company), have created a red ale concoction that uses (quadro)triticale with an old nineteenth-century recipe.

Sort of like the past meets the future.

The question I had, was, is this ale from the twenty-first century, made with a nineteenth-century recipe and twentieth-century grains, good enough for the twenty-third century?

Let's boldly go, shall we?
The Final Frontier (5.3% ABV)
Clocktower Brew Pub/Federation of Beer
Ottawa ON
Appearance: dark amber with orangy-red highlights and a creamy, light-beige head that pours a thick foam and settles to a solid cap.

Nose: floral malt, caramel, grass, and yeast, with just a touch of hops and something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Because this Kentucky Common style is made with triticale—something with which I'm unfamiliar—that could be what I'm picking up.

Palate: malty corn syrup with a grassiness that I typically associate with beer of lesser quality (think Canadian or Blue). The finish lingers, possibly well into the future.

Overall impression: there is an oxymoron quality about this beer—it pays tribute to the future by following a recipe from the past, but the grain swap that is used to tie it to STAR TREK doesn't quite seem to work. It's goes down easy enough, but there are some flavours that just don't seem right or are a little too simple for the theme.

To me, the brewers didn't seem to take much risk in brewing this ale to make it stand out, to be worthy of time and space. They didn't quote Captain Kirk when he said, "Risk is our business." I think it's a great mantra by which brewers and space explorers should live.

This ale does not boldly go. We can only hope that centuries from now, futuristic brewers come by this recipe and improve it, or fire photon torpedoes at it.

If you're a fan of STAR TREK and like simple red ales, this one may be worth a try. Make it so.

Otherwise, resist (it's not futile).

Beer O'Clock rating: 2.5

Engage... I mean, Cheers!

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