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Judge's Review: 93 Rating - Righteous Red Ale by Church Street Brewing Co.

December, 2021

Righteous Red Ale

Righteous Red Ale

United States
Righteous Red Ale, Church Street Brewing Co.

A medium light bodied beer with a bit of roasty malt sweetness and some EKG hop flavor to balance it out.

Beverage Profile
Served at: 
45º F
Maris Otter, Vienna, Roast
East Kent Goldings



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Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Righteous Red Ale by Church Street Brewing Co. is being evaluated against category 19A, American Amber Ale. The overview of this beer states it should be an "amber, hoppy, moderate-strength American craft beer with a caramel malty flavor. The balance can vary quite a bit, with some versions being fairly malty and others being aggressively hoppy. Hoppy and bitter versions should not have clashing flavors with the caramel malt profile."

The aroma of this beer is complex in my opinion. I stray back and forth between a heavily toasted and borderline roasty malt character a moderately assertive spicy hop aroma. There is a little bit of malty sweetness that suggests caramel and a hint of honey. The reason I chose this to be an American amber over the Irish red was quite honestly how assertive the hop profile was. Typically in an American amber we can expect more of the citrus or tropical variety of hops, but that is NOT required. This is the important distinction to make in the guidelines: although new world hops are typical; the brewer can use any variety they want as long as it's in the required range of intensity. These are well above the low hopping rate expected in an Irish red. One other thing I notice is there is a corn-like aroma in the finish. The color is a nice deep copper with an off-white and persistent head. The beer is quite clear and looks very elegant in the glass. The flavor is a bit more assertive than the aroma, but just as complex. The hops take center stage for me with a solid herbal and peppery flavor that falls in the medium-high range. The bitterness follows suit by coming in at that medium-high range as well. The malt profile is the hidden jewel in this beer. It's deeply toasty and is very crusty and biscuit-like. There are hints of caramel and honey-like sweetness that prevent this beer from tasting chalky or like dry toast. That combination of toast and sweetness in the malt profile is very enjoyable. The balance overall is leaning on the hop side, but the malt certainly isn't hiding. The beer finishes dry and clean and overall has an enjoyable flavor. The mouthfeel is solidly in the medium body range, with a very soft velvety tactile feel on the tongue. There is a low alcohol warmth and no astringency to be found. 

Admittedly this red ale genre isn't my favorite of all time, but when done well it's quite enjoyable. This beer provided a satisfying balance of toasty warm malt and sweetness along with a bitter edge to it to help wash it all away. This is probably one of the best American amber (red) ales I've had in recent memory. It appears easily quaffable, yet provides enough flavor and complexity to be very interesting as you drink it.