Pink ale and other brews I’ve enjoyed recently


This past weekend, our glorious nation was awash in green beer. I meanwhile found myself tasting a pink ale. Before you judge—hear me out.

I was making my way through the grocery store, cart overflowing with jugs of milk, Goldfish crackers, string cheese, and all the fine eats a father of four could be expected to purchase. My three-year old was relentlessly pleading for me to get him a doughnut from the bakery. So. Much. Winning.

And there she was: a brunette rep for Old Ox Brewery of Virginia. Pouring samples. 

Admittedly, the bright pink color gave me pause, but I was desperate.

What a pleasant surprise. This saison ale (5% alcohol by volume) is dry and pleasant, and the cherry juice they used adds only a gentle fruity aroma. A treacly beer Old Ox Festivale Cherry Saison is not. I bought a four-pack of the 16-ounce cans.

Pink beer is not the only interesting beer I have stumbled on to recently. Bell’s Oarsman Ale was a pleasant surprise. I have enjoyed their stouts and hearty ales, and this “tart wheat beer” (4% ABV) is a peach that will be especially enjoyable once the mercury gets above 70 degree.

After reading so many doom and gloom predictions about Sam Adams’ future, it was nice to see the folks at Boston Beer Company bring out a new brew that is receiving acclaim. Sam ‘76 (4.7% ABV) is billed as a cross between lager and ale. I bought a 12-pack for $16, and enjoyed it so much that I nabbed another.

Speaking of well-known brands doing something different, Guinness offers a Rye Pale Ale. As best I can tell, folks either love it or hate it. This light-bodied beer (5% ABV) is a touch sour, herbal, and definitely shows the rye. Most peculiar!

Last among my recent beer-ventures is Grand Teton Brewing Company’s Double Vision Dopplebock. I’ve previously raved about other Grand Teton beers, but I tried not to set my hopes high before I took a sip of this brew. Which proved needless, because… Oh. My. Goodness. This potent, dark lager (8% ABV) from Montana floods the mouth with chocolate and coffee notes. The more Double Vision warms, the richer the flavors become.

Kevin R. Kosar is the author of Whiskey: A Global History and Moonshine: A Global History. He is the editor and founder of This column also was published by the American Spectator.


Minott’s Black Star Double Hopped Golden Lager

From Whitefish, Montana…  Wait, where?  Whitefish, Montana, which is located near Whitefish Lake.  Which is a bit west of Hungry Horse.  Got it?  No?  Well, have a peek at this map.

Black Star is a product of the Great Northern Brewing Company, which was founded in 1994.  This brand of beer has had an interesting history.  The Missoulian reported:

The reissue coincides with the 15th anniversary of Great Northern, the brewery once built around Black Star. When former owner Minott Wessinger sold the brewery in 2002, he took the Black Star brand with him and the beer disappeared. Now, the McKenzie River Corp., a San Francisco-based beverage company Wessinger owns, is teaming up with Great Northern to produce the beer once again.

We’re glad it has returned.  This is a fine beer—it has a nice malty flavor and a classic Pilsner biscuit note.  This is just the sort of brew we’d like to keep stocked as one of our house brews. (Rating ***3/4)

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