Lobster Ale

This weekend I was able to try Lobster Ale, which is a red ale from Belfast Bay Brewing Co. in Belfast, Maine.  I’ve seen this around in stores and I’ve always wanted to try it, so when I saw it on the menu at a local restaurant, it was finally time.  I’m usually equally suspicious and optimistic about red ales.  They can be lighter or darker in color; light or rich in composition; hoppy, malty or neither; and be either good or bad.  But I always have high hopes for them.  A good red ale is a good find.  One that is full of flavor, creamy but not too heavy, and satisfying with a unique taste can be very refreshing and hit the spot.  Unfortunately, I was let down again with Lobster Ale.

The first thing I noticed was that it was on the darker end of the spectrum for a red ale, bordering on brown in color.  It had an average thickness for a red ale, not too heavy and not too creamy.  The taste, though, was the issue for me.  The primary flavor that came through was caramel, but not in a savory way.  The other flavor that came through was slight fortified alcohol, the kind you get with a Port or Madeira wine.  Most beers that offer caramel notes are going to be stouts or cream ales, which typically have a slightly higher alcohol content, but you’re still not supposed to taste it.  It was an odd combination.  The brewer says there are fruit notes, which I didn’t get.  From this review you’d probably think I hated it, but I didn’t.  It was OK, just not what I would look for in a red ale.  I would say it is more like an amber ale with sweet tones, tasting on the stronger side.  If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll enjoy it.  As for me, I’ll probably only order it again if I was tasting for it, but I don’t know how likely that will be.

Overall                 5/10
Color                    8
Thickness            5
Hops/Malt          7
ABV                       5.0%


"Good people drink good beer." - Hunter S. Thompson