JailHouse Witness Protection (Amber Ale with Orange Peel and Tea)
A light to medium-light bodied amber ale that exhibits a nicely balanced caramel malt with just a hint of hops. Coriander and sweet orange peel round out the subtle flavor profile and an ever so slight notice of tea in the finish from decaffeinated Luzianne tea. After quite a few in-passing discussions with both Reid Ramsay of Beer Street Journal and Ale Sharpton of Cruisin’ for a Brewsin’ we decided to get together on a collaborative brew that may spark a conversation and hopefully some brewing culture surrounding southern craft beer. What came of these chats and the final collaborative beer was an easy drinking amber ale that incorporated one of the most southern ingredients...tea. Once fermentation was complete, we brought together a panel of tasters to "dial in the beer" with more added tea and hops. The result was a nice balance of all the ingredients and one heck of a drinkable libation. The beer was released for a Beer Street Journal Anniversary party and was well received by patrons. Interesting conversations were abound that day and the beer was enjoyed by many a craft beer drinker as well as a few who just had to know what tea in a beer tasted like. While some prefer non-traditional ingredients to give them a stiff punch in the face others would rather it just be an accent or background note. What’s cool about these differing opinions is there is more experimentation and fun to be had with the idea. Hopefully other Southern Craft Brewers will throw in their two cents on the subject and maybe even brew a Southern influenced beer of their own...if they haven’t already. After the party, we wanted to be able to share this beer with a broader audience so we are releasing it to Witness Protection to entice further discussion around Southern Beer Culture and what possibilities exist when we think outside the box a little bit.
A style without definition, amber ales range from bland, vaguelly caramelly beers to products with a fairly healthy malt and hop balance. Often the differentiation between a quality amber and an American Pale is that the amber might have more dark malt character, or a less assertive hop rate.