Ladies and gentlemen, I propose that a good amber ale is harder to find than the Easter bunny winning the Powerball and being struck by lightning at the same time.
By their definition, amber ales have a tough hill to climb. The amber color naturally comes from highly caramelized malts, which creates more sugar in the wort and a beer with less character than Bill Murray nowadays. (He’s playing himself in every movie now, people.)
If you’re having a hard time following, consider this: the most popular amber in Colorado (probably) is Fat Tire. Fat Tire is the chicken of beer because it really tastes like everything, and I’m fully blitzed on Fat Tire. (Sorry New Belgium, I like a lot of your stuff, just not Fat Tire anymore.)
So we come to O’Dell’s Isolation Ale because we’re told that it’s a seasonal ale, and we should drink seasonal beer sourced from seasonal elves because this makes sense somehow. In all reality, Isolation Ale is less of a seasonal and more of a better, bitter amber.
The rich color and low carbonation make Isolation incredibly pleasing, and wonderfully surprising. No, it won’t blitz your buds. Yes, it is bitter for an amber, and it’s even hoppy.
WHAT: O’Dell Brewing Co.’s Isolation Ale.
WHERE: Pretty much anywhere should have it by now. If you don’t see it, seriously reconsider your choice of bottle shops.
WHY: It’s better than just another amber ale. In fact, it’s just balanced enough between rich malt and sharp hops that it should qualify as just a good ale.
WHAT IT REMINDS ME OF: George Killian’s Irish Red — just kidding. Laguinitas Brewing (Calif.) is a master of ales and Isolation approaches one of the best: Censored. And that’s high praise, indeed.