Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Arena Premium

Lake Louie Brewing
Arena, WI

Style: American Pale Ale

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

When I hear the words “premium” and “beer” together in the same sentence, I usually think “shit.” This is, of course, because of modern marketing techniques. You know, lying. Because anyone can slap the word “premium” on the side of their can (Hamm’s, anyone?), it’s basically become a meaningless term. Except for me. For me, as I said earlier, it means “shit.”

Well, it used to. Not any more. Because I have had Lake Louie Arena Premium. And it is not shit. Not at all.

It pours a baaaaarely hazy bright gold underneath a white, finely bubbled, thick head that leaves plenty of lacing. The aroma isn’t huge, but the vivid, floral hops come wafting off enough to tingle your nose hairs. I’m pretty awful at picking out individual hops, but I wanna say there’s a little Amarillo in there. Tough to say, because just before you get a noseful of hop aroma, a shot of bready maltiness rushes up to balance things right out.

The body here is right down the middle for a pale ale, letting some sharp carbonation flavors start off the proceedings by scrubbing your tongue clean. This paves the way for a quick—very quick—nip of bitterness to usher in a middle sip of dry, biscuity malt. The finish is clean, short, and spicy, with a nice shot of bright hop bitterness to slam the sip home.

Maybe it’s because the first time I tried this one I was expecting a “premium” beer, but from dram one I’ve thought Arena Premium is a fantastic pale ale. Normally I’m only impressed with pale ales that have a healthy dose of bitterness—the healthier, the better—but Arena Premium isn’t that hoppy at all. Those bright American hops just give this beer a life of its own, making it both interesting and drinkable, a combination that you just can’t beat with a stick.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on September 29, 2009.
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