I love micro brews . . . I especially love to find breweries as close to home as possible; you know, support the local little guy. I'd be hard pressed to find a brewery as close to home as Cavalry Brewing Company . . . they are a scant 23.5 miles away in scenic Oxford, CT.
Cavalry is owned by one man who also happens to be the brewmaster, Mike McCreary. In 2008, he fell victim to the economic downturn that is plaguing so much of our country. He was forced to find an alternate means of making a living and decided to pour his passions into a bottle and make beer.
The concepts for his beer tell a story . . . not just about the craft of brewing a good beer but about his experiences. His first line of beers pay tribute to those experiences and to all the soldiers who fight for this country.
I'm a patriotic gal to the core and I love beer . . . so, of course, when I saw Cavalry's beer at my favorite beer store I snatched up a couple of six packs to give them a whirl.
The first beer I tried was the Hatch Plug Ale.
A happy tanker is a fat tanker and a real fat tanker is a Hatch Plug. This beer is named after a 1st Lieutenant that was traded for six M-16’s to another unit prior to departing for Iraq in early 2003. Hatch Plug went on to run the Baghdad airport and helped establish the telecommunications system in the region. Despite what we did to him he remains a good friend to this day.
It is made in the style of a classic English ale.
I would describe it as an anytime anywhere kind of beer. It's light enough to enjoy a few while hanging out with friends but complex enough to compliment a good meal.
It pours with a thin head and is a lovely a reddish gold color. It smells like . . . mmm, it smells very bready. The yeasty aroma carries over very well to the palate and finishes with a bit of sweetness.
It's a very good beer . . . dangerously drinkable . . . like you could drink the whole six pack in one sitting dangerous. It's low alcohol content saves the day at 4.5% alcohol by volume.
The second of my Cavalry selections was called X-Limited Ale . . . Lot #2. The 'X' is for experimental and the lot number one of two batches out. The idea is to get a thumbs up or thumbs down from consumers . . . like a missile, this beer will be launched only if the drinkers deem it so. The brewery wants to know if it's a "Patriot" or a "Scud"!
I say Lot #2 X-Limited Ale is a Patriot! It is an Extra Special Bitter ESB, which is my first time trying this style of beer. ESB is a strong bitter pale ale as opposed to an ordinary bitter in which is the category the average British IPA falls into.
The head on this beer was amazing! It poured with a thick creamy head very much like a root beer and was a deep golden color. The aroma made my mouth water with its citrussy hoppy nose. It was very hoppy but not overpowering . . . pleasantly bitter with a hint of malty sweetness. The flavors balance out nicely with just the right amount of carbonation.
With a relatively low 5% ABV, I could enjoy a few of these ESB without feeling like I got hit by a missile.
I think this is a beer that should definitely go from experimental to full-on production. Two thumbs up!
I'm looking forward to trying more offerings from Cavalry . . . cheers!
For more information on Cavalry visit their website.