Red ales are a curious corner of the craft beer marketplace. There was a time—like the dream of the 1990s when we dedicated our lives to obscure bands from the Pacific Northwest and went clowning—that red ales were one of the dominant type of beer sold as craft or micro. Do you remember a time when your local watering hole was getting all crazy and putting Killian’s Irish Red on tap? Yep, this product of the now MillerCoors conglomerate was a trendy beer to drink. It also coincided with a period of time when every bar seemed to switch to being an Irish pub at the exact time that the same species was dying in the homeland. Don’t believe me? There was an entire industry that sprang up disassembling actual Irish pubs and shipping them—bric-a-brac and all—to the United States.
Granted, the line of demarcation between red, amber, and brown ales is somewhat murky. I tend to believe that a lot of craft brewers went down the amber path to avoid confusion with the mass market beers like Killian’s. Hell there was a time when a brown—Pete’s Wicked Ale—was the most popular craft beer in America. What?
Crazy Mountain Brewery offers Boohai Red Ale:
The beer definitely “pours” red and has a solid malt body, which I suppose is to be one of the defining characteristics of a red ale. At 6.0% ABV and 40 IBU, Boohai Red Ale is smack dab in the middle of the all-day drinkability scale. It’s a little bit bready to be considered a warm weather beer and not quite the meal that some other heavier malt beers aspire to become.
The hops, not named by the brewery, are said to come from New Zealand. Hops from the southern hemisphere are interesting. Some beers that I have had—including one that I made when I was homebrewing—using Australian hops have come across odd. Apparently, the quality control in growing and drying Australian hops is not quite up to the standards practiced by more established growers in the U.S. and Europe. However, the hop notes in Boohai Red Ale are excellent. There are no off notes and the bitterness is well complemented by the malt body of the beer.
It is my contention that Boohai Red Ale is in the category of beer that rarely gets plaudits anymore because it is well-balanced and well-executed. There is nothing to really hang a critique or review on—positive or negative—outside of the beer being well-crafted. Maybe that is the sign that American craft brewing has become established:
See what others are saying about Crazy Mountain Brewery Boohai Red Ale @ Beeradvocate.