Tonight, I was vain, I’ll admit. I wanted a pretty beer. It may sound strange, when you drink beer, not stare at it, but its true, I was looking for a good lookin’ brew. And I found one in McCarthy Red Ale. This red ale was definitely that, a beautiful auburn, confident as can be. A nice hat sat atop this lovely red head, of a thick frothy yellowish-white. There was some nice lacing as I sipped, the froth slipping down the edge of the glass. Having the pleasure of meeting McCarthy on a few other occasions, I wasn’t as surprised as I might have been upon the scent. It was a beautiful, crisp, palate-cleansing hop aroma, a bit of orange zest peppered on a malty foundation.

However, when the ale hit my tongue, I was surprised. The taste, although I had been down this road before, was different than I remembered. It was smooth as can be, and in an unanticipated way, making it that much more impactful. There was still the citrusy layer, but a much heavier, longer-lasting flavor of bark, pine and a pinch of peppery spice. There is a tangy sweetness, if I really search for it, but the malts aren’t as present as I remembered either.

I was looking for a pretty beer and I got it, but I got one that tasted good too. I think the proper pairing would make this one even better, rounding out the flavors, tempering the bold notes and strengthening the subtle ones. At Emmett’s pub, I’ve enjoyed it with a pork sandwich and it was a pure delight.