Michael Bury's picture

The Partner Ships Series: Union Craft Brewing

February, 2017
Judges Rating: 
18 / 24
5 / 6
33 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

This Partner Ships Series beer, Olde Ale, which is a collaboration between Heavy Seas and Union Craft Brewing is being evaluated as an old ale (2015 BJCP Category 17B) despite the addition of brown sugar. In this beer, patience is truly a required skill.

This murky, deep brown beer with ruby highlights pours without a head at all. Immediately thereafter, the nose is quite restrained for an old ale. It requires patience to allow this beer to warm to roughly 50 degrees, but if you do, you'll be rewarded with thick, rich caramel, concord grape and hints of molasses in the aroma. Restrained toast and dark bread crusts with supportive chocolate round out the aroma. Not surprising for this style, hops are nowhere to be found.

The flavor opens with similar notes to those found in the aroma: caramel, molasses, toast, grape and hazelnuts. Unlike many old ales, this beer finishes semi-dry with a lingering dustiness. Once again, hops are largely absent except for a mild, supportive bitterness but the balance is squarely towards the malt. Subtle alcohol provides a bit of intrigue as it melds with the other malt-based flavors. 

Overall, Olde Ale is a solid offering from Heavy Seas & Union Craft Brewing. It's a bit drier and less complex that the best examples, which is also what sets the beer apart. Then there's the quaffability aspect; it goes down more like an imperial brown ale that an old ale. Bottoms up!