Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Perfect "10"?

The other night my hubby and I stopped at a local eatery for a quick bite to eat after a movie. I had wanted to try this particular restaurant because they tout themselves as a haven for localvores—which I try to be—and I was not disappointed. Even the draft beer was local. I ordered my first Ten Penny Ale, the debut brew of the Olde Burnside Brewing Company in East Hartford, Connecticut. I've just recently returned to Connecticut after a 20-year-long hiatus, so if you have already discovered the gold-mine that is Ten Penny or any of the other brews from Olde Burnside, please just bear with me.

I did not even finish reading the beer descriptions on the menu before I made my selection. I chose this particular beer because I am pretty familiar with Burnside Avenue in East Hartford. My mom is from East Hartford and my uncle still lives in the house that they grew up in, which is not far from Burnside Avenue. My sentimentality took over and I’m glad it did.

The beer arrived and although I did not take a lot of time to admire how it looked, it did display a short, fairly dense head and a strong amber hue. It looked good enough to drink—so I did—the first word that came to mind with my first sip of Ten Penny was clean. This is not a light beer, however. It has a good malty body and a smooth caramelized taste. The menu description categorized it as a Scottish ale, but it’s not quite a full Scottish ale in my opinion, but still quite tasty. Not surprisingly, Ten Penny’s ABV is 5.5%, which accounts for some of its smoothness.

In preparation of writing this review, I visited the Burnside Brewing Company’s website. You’d think I stole my review from them: Ten Penny “is a smooth, amber-hued mellow version of a Scottish Ale.” But then again, how many words are there to describe a good beer—and Ten Penny is a straight forward beer—it does not have tremendous depth, but it is neither flat nor thin. It paired perfectly with our tomato pizza with mozzarella, roasted garlic and basil pesto.

Ten Penny and several of Burnside’s other brews, including Dirty Penny Ale, are sold only in growlers at your local (if you’re in Connecticut) liquor store. You can’t buy a six, but the ½ gallon gives you enough to share with a friend or two. It’ll run you a bit more than a six, but you're paying for local and it’s worth it.

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