Its not often you go somewhere with no direction. You just turn the key on your car, put it into drive and see where the blacktop takes you. Today, in the quiet of Door County’s tree-line drives, we did just that. It was freeing, to find your way by bumping along the shoreline, realizing that ‘lost’ was just where you were trying to be.

In that same way, I rarely plunge headlong into a beer of which I have no knowledge. That is, until my Amazing Clubs beer-of-the-month club arrived. Now, each of the next six glorious months, I will be driven with no map, into the unexplored worlds of four American craft brews. The first of these kind, the Red Tail Lager by Mendocino, was a pleasant trip through sight, smell and taste.

The lager poured a rich copper, dovetailing into a brighter, crisper orange towards the base of my glass. (Note: you may think this Carlsberg glass to be improper, however, I am in Wisconsin and if it holds beer, its proper). The head rushed to an immediate 3 fingers, but dwindled quickly, forming a small mountain of off-white foam in the center of my glass. The nose was indistinguishably grainy, but that vagueness was pleasant, albeit uneventful. I tried breathing it in deeply, but after a bit of light-headedness, realized I was going to gain nothing more than perhaps a slight hint of citrus. As I peered into the copper liquid, even after several sips the crowd of carbonation marched toward the ivory roof. The taste was crisp and clean with pops of grapefruit and grass. The finish was hoppy, but in the wilderness with no WiFi, I’m unable to discover the type (hopefully not the Tom-hated Cascade, oh how I’d be embarrassed to enjoy it!). The aftertaste lingers a bit, giving me something to chew on until the next sip.

Red Tail was a sedated adventure, likened to a calm, beautiful drive. Although absent of any pulse-quickening surprises of flavor, it was pleasant and enjoyable.

ABV: 4.5%

Grade: B+