Local Beer Preview: Crystal Lake Reel Hazy
Friday at 11:09 pm
Going through a large stash of beer that I intend to review. As usual, I acknowledge when a beer has been sent to me for my comment. And this was sent by John O’Fallon, President of Crystal Lake Brewing in, of course, Crystal Lake. They’ve been brewing since 2013, and have slowly been building out a packaging and distribution footprint.
One of the beers they wanted to offer was their Real Hazy Pale Ale. That has been a taproom regular, and appears to have been finessed a few times with different kinds of hops. The new can here was made, they said, largely with Solero, “a brand new aroma hop with Cascade lineage that bursts with tropical fruit, berry and passion fruit.” The hop is cultivated in Germany is claimed to be “environmentally sustainable” and thus in short supply. Crystal Lake claims to be the first, and so far only, production brewery to use it.
Tasting: I managed not to kick up a big head with my pour. Just a nice, slightly puffy parfait layer over an opaque, yellowish body. The smell is mainly passionfruit, backed by pine resin. Maybe a little bit mango creeps up after a few sips.
Taste has some bitterness, subdued at first, but it builds up as I go along. Again, there’s the passionfruit and a bit of pine resin from a Cascade-derived hop. Some citrus peel comes up, too. Only through the middle of the beer did I get a hint of some strawberry.. I did not think much of the malts at first. But it tends toward the sweet side, enforcing the fruitiness of the overall package.
This is a pretty strong tasting beer, one that manages to stand out among a hoard of hoppy pale ales. Settles out with a bit of lemon. This would work nicely with a spread of sausage and hard cheeses, or as a between course beer.