Craft beer drinkers can be a particular bunch when it comes to beer style, and also when it comes to beer ingredients. Certain ingredients have gained a reputation as not worthy of craft beer. Some of this is the fault of “big beer”, who has used lower quality filler ingredients as a way to save money and or to up alcohol content without adding much flavor. One ingredient that ended up on this list was corn. For years the Brewers Association wouldn’t recognize a beer as craft if corn was used as an ingredient. Craft beer visionary Chris Lohring of Notch Brewing wants to change this misconception. He argues that corn was an important ingredient in pre-prohibition beers in the U.S., and can be an important part of the mash in a quality craft lager (See his full argument and more info HERE). As he usually does, Chris put his money where his mouth is, and brewed a corn lager, called The Mule. The current version of The Mule is brewed with malted and flaked corn from local provider Valley Malt, along with Santiam hops. The Mule is mostly sold on draft, but you can find 22 oz. bottles at some local beer stores (I found some at Craft Beer Cellar in Newton).
Notch The Mule pours a clear straw gold with a solid white head and significant carbonation. The smell is very hoppy, some fruit and resin – not IPA level hoppy scents, but you get a nice hit in the nose. The taste also starts with the hops, floral with hints of lemon, guava and pine. the malt profile is very clean, a mild grainy and nutty flavor that really lets the hops shine without overwhelming the palate. Like every Notch beer I’ve tried The Mule is incredibly easy to drink, and at 4.2% ABV a 22 oz. bottle goes down with ease. Grab some to enjoy on the last few warm days of 2014, or really any time. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
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