Class in a Glass – 16 Mile’s Seed-Free and Joy Watermelon Ale

OK, if I tell you this is the second flavored beer in a row that I’ve reviewed and the last review I posted was Stewart’s Stumbling Monk – don’t panic. Beer reviews are like a TV series here at tDoB, the order I shoot (write) them in might not necessarily be the order I broadcast (post) them. I just finished writing the guts of Mispillion River’s Cupacabra! the other day and that review is now in (what we like to call in the biz) post production. When either that one or this one will see the light of day remains to be seen.

Anyway, the flavored beer I’d like to focus on this time is Seed-Free and Joy, a Summer-time offering from the 16 Mile Brewery. The name is a play on Siegfried & Roy, the highly successful duo of Las Vegas magicians who were known for their use of lions and tigers in their act. Unfortunately an incident on stage in October of 2003 involving a 7-year old white tiger left Roy Horn severely injured and forced the Mirage Hotel and Casino to indefinitely cancel the show. The duo ended up retiring from show business in 2010 having made only one more stage appearance since Roy’s injuries.

In fact, the beer makes reference to Roy’s attack on the label with the artwork of a tiger eating a watermelon. While I have to admit appreciating the cleverness involved I found the humor a little on the dark side.

Buddy Avatar 50Dude, you dressed up as Roy Horn for one of your Halloween parties!

 

No I didn’t.

Buddy Avatar 50Yes you did! That’s where the white tiger that’s your truck’s security system came from!

 

Ahhhh no, pretty sure I’d remember that. Now as I was….

Buddy Avatar 50Blood and all! I’ve see the picture around here somewhere.

 

Hahahaa noooo, no you haven’t. Besides there’s not time for that now….because I gotta….I gotta…..review this beer! Yeah! Let’s taste!

THEM: Seed-Free and Joy started as beer #5 in 16 Mile’s Off The Grid series in May of 2014. The beer was described by the brewer as a “classic American session ale, also known as a blonde”, brewed with watermelon and cucumbers, and initially clocking in at around 4.5%ABV (the bottle version is a tad higher at 4.9%).

ME: Pretty beer, a touch above golden to a light copper in my glass from bottom to top with a nice vortex of carbonation rising to support a nice ring and island of foam on top of the beer. My fridge may have over chilled this beer as does happen sometimes because I’m getting very little in the way of the watermelon, but what I am getting is a delightful cracker/bread crust/freshly cracked grain aroma that I’m finding really enjoyable. That cracked grain description hit me at the end, and now that it’s in my mind the aroma reminds me of how my barroom would smell when we’d hold grain grinding parties when I homebrewed. So nice.

Buddy Avatar 50Don’t go anywhere! I think it’s in this drawer somewhere!

 

That’s OK! No need to bother yourself! I take my first sip and all that aroma is definitely in the taste as well as a flash of melon and the sensation of freshly cut cucumber in the middle. I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t have caught the cucumber if I hadn’t known it was there, but it is definitely in the mix. SFaJ finishes clean, almost to be empty on the back (as I find a lot of 16 Mile beers are) with just a hint of lingering cracked grain and hoppy spiciness; along with a slight anticipation for the next sip. The 4.9%ABV is right where it should be and as always I’ll leave it to the session police to squabble over the numbers.

If I had to chose between Chupacabra! and Seed-Free as my Summer thirst quencher – I’m going to have to go with Seed-Free as I just loved the cracker/grainy base of the beer. The watermelon is there, but it’s not at a level to be either bubble-gummy or gimmicky.

Buddy Avatar 50FOUND IT!

 

me-at-halloween

You’re an ass.

Buddy Avatar 50Admit it, you love dark humor.

 

Yeah, sigh…..I do.

Time for another beer.

Seed-Free
THE FINAL SIP: Roy Horn insisted after the incident that no harm come to the tiger that injured him. The tiger passed away in 2014 at the age of 17. (PHOTO CREDIT: The Dogs of Beer)

Class In The Glass – 16 Mile Brewing’s Inlet, Not Your Hop Head’s IPA

Inlet-IPAToday I’m going to be taking a look at a beer from a brewery I haven’t really covered much on this blog, 16 Mile. 16 Mile made quite an impact when it first hit the local beer market as that brewery that released its beer in aluminum bottles. That’s right, aluminum BOTTLES.

To be honest, this kind of raised some eyebrows on my beer loving friends but soon 16 Mile was rolling out in more traditional 12oz glass bottles and building a steady following in and around Delaware.

The name comes from an old statement about the brewery’s home town of Georgetown, DE being 16 miles from everywhere else in the county. In fact, its central location led it to becoming the county seat in 1791.

They claim to brew a more English style beer, so today I’m going to look at the beer that I think will most standout as to whether it’s in the English or American vein – Inlet India Pale Ale. Let’s taste.

THEM: From their website:

Aromatic hops accompanied by bold flavors of citrus; crisp and refreshing from start to finish. Connecting the Indian River Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian River Inlet provides fishermen and seafarers alike coastal and off-shore adventure. When stormy weather abounds, strong currents and large swells test the skills of local surfers.

Not much more as far as information goes. 6.1%ABV/80IBUs

ME: Pretty looking beer. It gives up a nice fluffy head to start, good lace while drinking and an awesome cascade of bubbles from the bottom of glass. In my glass the beer goes from a light amber to almost a copper/orange from bottom to top. The aroma definitely lets you know that there’s an English influence going on here as this is an IPA that doesn’t overload you with goobs of citrusy hops as you’re likely to find in American varieties. To be honest, my nose is too busy picking up the subtle caramel type malt and a hint of bread to really notice any hops at all. But they are there. Quiet. Reserved. To be honest I get more of a grassy note than a citrus one.  The taste? More of the same. Nice malt backbone (is that toffee?), the hops pop through a little more (again grassy). There is a touch of fruit here but I’m not sure if it’s hops or some esters dancing around in there.  Everything in balance. Nothing over done. And then it finishes clean with a little lingering bitterness in the cheeks.

I’ll be honest, although I love their attempt to present a much need alternative to today’s American hop explosive/aggressive barrel aged landscape; and I give them mad props for their Collaborative series (which now sits at beer #8. Each beer in this series is completely distinct with each one benefiting one of an amazing array of charities. Check them out) I’m not hugely into 16 Mile. Many of their shelf products don’t resonate with me (on the other hand I have loved some of their draft offerings like Delaware Oyster Stout and Riverfront Dock Porter), but Inlet IPA is pretty good. If you decide to give it a chance just remember; this isn’t your hop head’s IPA – and it’s not supposed to be.

Time for another beer.

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THE FINAL SIP: The summer 16 Mile will be releasing their one time “Off The Grid” brew, Seed-Free & Joy watermelon ale. I’d like to tell you that I didn’t chuckle at the label. I really would.