Name: Drop Top Amber
Brewery: Widmer Brothers Brewing
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Portland, Oregon
Style: American Amber / Red Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5%
First Brewed: 2003
Drop Top Amber Ale is amber in color with a thick tan head. The nose is fruity with a honeyed sweetness. The flavors are malty and sweet with a honey-smooth mouthfeel. Hop character is evident only on the back end, and the finish is sweet and clean.
I have had a few beers from this brewing company, and have never been impressed. Even their special release beers are mediocre at best. Breweries like this have a place in craft beer, but should only serve as a starting point for people that haven’t experienced craft beer. However, I am giving Drop Top another shot, and will drink this beer with an open mind. Hopefully it will have a better flavor than I remember and will do this review justice. Of course, PBR is also on our list. (PBR isn’t a bad beer, to be honest. I would order that over a Miller or Coors Light.)
Oh, and Sheryl asked if I was going to “drop my top”. Not sure that makes sense… but I will leave my shirt on for this review.
In the Glass: The beer has a nice orange color to it, and provided a thick head. A thicker head than I expected. The head quickly dissipates, but it was a lot thicker than I expected. The beer is also creating a nice lace in the glass. For $1.29, and coming from this brewing company, it is already starting to exceed my expectations. Hopefully it smells as good as it looks.
Nose: Didn’t see that coming. Better yet, didn’t smell that coming. At first I am hit with a ton of caramel aromas that quickly turn to wheat and earthy notes. The caramel smells like those little caramel candies that you can just suck on for hours on end. I will admit, I don’t traditionally like ambers… but I don’t remember my last amber smelling like this. If this tastes like caramel, I might go buy a case tomorrow!
Flavor: Considering what this smells like, I had some pretty high expectations for the flavor profile. It’s good, but doesn’t quite taste like it smells. Those same caramel notes are kicking in toward the end of the swallow, but it is a bit too carbonated for my liking. I would like to see a beer like this barrel aged. Why not? Every other brewing company is aging their beers in barrels. We are drinking this right out of the fridge, but I don’t think a beer like this will do much as it heats up.
Mouthfeel: There are a ton of bubbles here, and while some beers can get away with it, based on the aroma in this beer I expected it to be a tad bit thicker with less carbonation. The beer does produce a somewhat drying finish, but overall, this is a very basic beer. Cool name and I love the label… but I wouldn’t order this out.
Aftertaste: This is my favorite part of the beer. Those same caramel notes that I was smelling are back. They are not as pronounced as they were on the nose, but they are subtle and drying in the finish. The aftertaste is weak, and doesn’t last long… but was enjoyable enough for me to finish my glass.
Like I said, beers like this have a place in craft beer. That place just isn’t in my cellar. I am glad that beers like this are on the list, as there are a lot of people that need to start with styles like this. Just because you are new to craft beer doesn’t mean an IPA is right for you. Actually, if you are new to craft beer, DO NOT drink an IPA. Start light and work your way to the hoppier and darker beers. You’ll thank me later as your palate grows to appreciating a good craft beer.
Drop Top Amber – The bottle says: “NA”
As usual, I don’t know a lot about today’s beer. Ricky said it isn’t that great of one, so I’m not expecting a lot. So… I’m just going to launch right into describing it. It’s kind of a honey color in the glass – not very thick, with some bubbles floating to the top. There also wasn’t very much head. The smell… well, it has kind of a faint cinnamon and honey smell to it. That sounds good, right? Maybe this beer will be better than I expect it to be. Let’s find out!
Well, it has a bit of a sour taste to start out with. Then you get some hints of that cinnamon and honey, but only faintly. There’s also just a tiny bit of hops flavor in there as well. And then – well, then it’s gone. This beer has almost no aftertaste whatsoever. It’s a pretty easy-drinking beer. There’s not much there to impress you or even make you remember it. But on the other hand, this might make a good everyday kind of beer. I mean, I’m kind of partial to “special” beers, I will say. But I don’t hate this one, and I don’t think it’s bad by any means. It just doesn’t have a lot to differentiate itself. Would I order this beer again? Yeah, I might if I just wanted an ordinary, more refreshing beer. I do like the honey flavor. But all in all, it’s nothing special – just kind of average.