The Sail and Anchor range have expanded to include a new red ale, made in collaboration with Karl Strauss Brewing Company hailing from San Diego in California, whose Red Trolley, Pintail and Tower 10 beers are all available at your local Dan Murphy’s, the only place I have seen them.
I was a bit concerned about this beer as I don’t particularly like the Karl Strauss Red Trolley Red Ale, and the core Sail and Anchor range can be a bit pedestrian to say the least, damned near undrinkable at times, but they lift their game for their limited releases beers such as this though (and I always like their labels on their limited releases).
It pours a lovely auburn, ruddy copper colour in the glass, from the 640ml bottle. The aromas are more pale ale than red ale, with citrus and piney resin aromas. On the tongue it was quite almost like a beery fruit cake. There is orange peel, raisin, a lot of burnt toffee and a touch of woodiness. It finishes with an aggressive bitter yet sweet, burnt orange and hoppy notes. The bitterness increased as the beer warmed, to the point that I couldn’t call this a sessionable beer, but at 6% alcohol there probably wouldn’t be too many that you could quaff any way.
The tasting notes on the bottle this as a medium-bodied beer, but for me it’s a much lighter red ale than I’m used to. I get what Sail and Anchor are trying to do here, and I honestly respect that drive to do something different in the market, and without that drive we don’t get new inventions and some of the other great craft beers that are out there.
This is certainly an interesting beer, but I’m not gushing over it. It’s definitely a beer that I think everyone should try, but I’m not sure that you would go back for more than one.