One Big Bottle: Pelican Riptide Red Ale

One Big Bottle

The brews we're sipping, one by one.

20110315riptidestoryshotbottle.jpgEditor's Note: So many beers, so little time. One Big Bottle will spotlight the brews we're sipping, one by one.

This bottle is marked "Irish-Style Red Ale", but there's a real Northwest spin on this beer from Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon.

Kiss me, I'm Irish-inspired?

The Riptide Red pours a rosy brown, and there's a hefty portion of herbal rosemary-like hops popping in front of the toffee malt flavors. The hops freshen a beer style that can sometimes be overwhelmingly malty.

Golden Promise malt gives this beer a slightly toasty caramel-laced flavor—but it's subtle, not sticky-sweet. Santiam hops add hints of cantaloupe, chamomile, and herbs: each mouthfeel is a bit like dipping a rosemary sprig and a thyme sprig in a bowl of caramel. Though these flavors might not fully resolve into a coherent story, the finish is impressively clean, urging you to take another sip.

Riptide Red is an unusual beer that's full of flavor despite being pretty low in alcohol. We'd pair it with fish tacos or squid splashed with fresh lemon.