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Judge's Review: 84 Rating - Real Vanilla Cream Ale by Garage Brewing Co.

February, 2020
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
31 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

Real Vanilla Cream Ale by Garage Brewing Co. would ordinarily go under category #1C as a Cream Ale, However, with the introduction of 'real vanilla' flavor this falls under the category of #30A ( Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer). A Cream Ale should have characteristics more closely related to an American lager and this does no (not with vanilla flavoring). The aroma revealed a nice malt sweetness and vanilla. The pour of this beer revealed a golden hue that was a bit cloudy, perhaps from chill haze, with good carbonation and small, tight bubbles in the head. The flavor of this beer was evidently vanilla. It was mentioned that it had "a hint" of vanilla, but that is putting it mildly. I thought the vanilla presence was quite aggressive in the first sip, but then my palate adjusted to that. A light malt background and light hops complemented this beer. As indicated, it was advertised as a vanilla cream ale, but I'm not quite sure of that. A cream ale should be a 'clean, well-attenuated, flavorful American lawnmower beer,' according to the BJCP. This was not the case. It tasted more like an alcoholic cream soda due to the presence of vanilla. The body and mouthfeel of this beer was medium with good carbonation. The overall impression of this beer is that it is out of character. It is not a cream ale, but something else, I guess a vanilla cream ale...? Hence, this beer is more of a spice beer than anything else. Despite all that, it has very easy drinkability and a smooth finish.