Sweetwater Spinnerbait

spinnerbaitBrewery: Sweetwater Brewing
Location: Atlanta, GA
Brew: Spinnerbait

Merchant: Publix
Service: Mix 12 pack of 12 Bottles (“Tackle Box”)

Style: Belgian-Style Red Ale
Color: Dark Red (36 SRM)
IBU: 25
ABV: 6%

Temp: Cool to room temp

Pour: Sweetwater’s “Catch & Release” seasonal brews usually come with a surprise or two and Spinnerbait’s first is evident right away—the color is awesome. It’s a much darker red than I was expecting—almost brown. Given that it’s a “Belgian Style” ale I was also expecting a thick head given how lively the carbonation in actual Belgian beers can be. Surprise number two was a bit of a let down.

Smell: Fairly typical, close to a Flemish Red with some dark fruity esters and spices.

Taste: Initially, Spinnerbait tastes lighter than the color leads one to believe. The sweet and slightly fruity yeast is all that stands out at first. The malt body is definitely middle of the road, as is the carbonation.

Halfway in there are sourdough bread and spice flavors that begin to linger on the palate. It’s a really nice contrast to yeast and rock candy sweetness. If you know Belgian reds, they can be slightly sour sometimes but at no point does this cross into the sour territory I was half expecting. The spice mix tastes more fall than winter beer with clove and nutmeg but it remains very subtle. It warmed my insides a bit. As did the cherry flavors that started popping up as I neared the bottom of the glass.

This is a very drinkable beer. It’s lighter than it looks and goes down fast with nice flavor that encourages one to imbibe another. It’s not a fantastic beer to sit and sip. On that front it’s only OK and I’m only mildly disappointed because that was something else I expected to find. On the flip side, to my delight, this is a superb socializing beer.

As I always do for these reviews, the beer was poured into a fancy-pants glass appropriate for the style. I won’t make that mistake with this one again. Spinnerbait is already in its perfect glass, a bottle. Surprise!

Pair with: A cold-cut sandwich on rye bread goobered with a rich mustard, dry cheeses or some salty ham. Pretty much anything salty.

2 caps

Wayne Pelletier

September 1991. I drew from a tall, golden, hazy glass of a fresh and local hefeweizen in Bamberg Germany. Since then I've tasted more than a thousand brews. Here in the Greater Atlanta area we're pretty fortunate. Our local heavies: SweetWater, Atlanta Brewing and Terrapin all do world-class work. But the scene goes much, much deeper. That's where I like to find fresh pints. The goal is to draw attention to those finds on a 3-cap scale. Three seems simple but that isn't to say everything is great, average or terrible. Quite the contrary is the reality. I have come across very few craft/micro beers that are just no good. I assume these are all good beverages brew by good people with good intentions and you should as well. If I cross paths with a local brew that is truly terrible I won’t waste your time, or mine, writing a review. 3 CAPS: Hurry. This is a rare brew worth going out of your way to find. I swear it. 2 CAPS: A very good beer. Stands out as great in the style. 1 CAP: A decent brew that is average for the style. Prost!