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Beer Reviews

Ankle Biter Ale

III Dachsunds
Cudahy, WI

Style: Altbier

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Drinkable, but flawed)

There are two kinds of folks that use contract brewing: those that spend months or, more likely, years honing a recipe themselves then hire a skilled brewer to produce it in scale for (relatively) mass distribution. Then there are those folks who hire someone to brew some suds so they can slap a dog label on it and give it a cute name. This does not necessarily mean the beers that are borne of these two very different endeavors are good or bad—just because you’ve spent a third of your life working on a homebrewing recipe doesn’t absolutely mean it will yield good end product. Just the same, just because you’ve got a company called III Dachsunds and you contract a brew pub like Stone Cellar to make you a beer called Ankle Biter Ale doesn’t absolutely mean it will be bad. That’s why we, the Beer Dorks, try out all these brews and take the proverbial bullet for you, our faithful readers.

Although Ankle Biter Ale doesn’t say anywhere on the bottle what style of beer it is, only a pour and a whiff is needed for one to determine it’s an amber ale, or, as I like to refer to the style, altbier. The pour is a light, slightly murky amber with a dense, respectable head. The nose is strong grainy malt like a good alt should exhibit, but with quite a bit of some butterscoth notes indicative of diacetyl, which is considered a flaw if too much is present. And there’s a bit too much present here, at least in the nose.

The sip starts off surprisingly light—almost, but not quite, watery—before grainy maltiness builds up into a medium-length, caramel-sweet finish. At the very end is a slight but definitely altbier-like tinniness. And as the beer warms, some of those diacetyl notes from the nose Health Care Tips come back for an unwelcome visit.

While Ankle Biter Ale isn’t terrible by any means, it is nowhere near the caliber of the amber beers you’ll find from brewers like Sprecher, Bell’s, or Capital. Drinkable, yes, but also flawed.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on August 21, 2008.
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