Revolver's High Brass Has Promise But Can't Hide Its Flaws.
Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we'll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it's local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!
This week, we sipped on Revolver Brewing's High Brass.
Fast Facts on Revolver Brewing High Brass.
• Style: Blonde Ale.
• ABV: 6 percent.
• International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 25.
• Color: Copper gold.
• Availability: Year-round.
In the craft beer world, a brewery typically adds a Blonde Ale to its lineup out of necessity, not necessarily out of any kind of burning creative desire. For the most part, a Blonde Ale is an easy-drinking, light, flavor-neutral, easy-to-produce ale. It's the kind of beer you add to your lineup to serve as a gateway to your other products and provide an agreeable option for those more familiar with the macro-produced light lagers of the world.
Still, though, a Blonde Ale hides no flaws, so the brewer needs to be on his or her game for the style to work.
Background on Blonde Ales.
See above for a simple, general description of a Blonde Ale. For more detail, read on. A Blonde Ale should pour clear, and have a light yellow to deep golden hue. The head should be low to medium white, and have decent retention. Expect a light to medium sweet malt aroma, low to medium hop aromas (almost any variety will do) and there may or may not be a bit of fruitiness. Flavors include more faint sweet malt, low to medium levels of hop flavor, low to medium bitterness (though usually balanced towards the malt side), and a slightly sweet finish. Mouthfeel should be medium light to medium, with high levels of carbonation.
High Brass pours crystal clear with almost a copper gold color and a thick frothy white head. There's some decent head retention, but it doesn't exactly stick around for long, either.
Remember the first time you ever bothered to smell a freshly poured Heineken? If it's been awhile and you can’t quite recall, it's that sort of funky, skunky, stale, earthy aroma that a lot of macro light lagers suffer from. And it's this same, unfortunate tasting note that forms the first impression for High Brass. Beyond that system shocker, there's some faintly sweet, bready grain.
Subtly sweet malts can be found upfront with a firm hop backbone and dry finish. For a Blonde Ale, the sweetness-to-bitterness ratio is quite nice here, with the overall profile leaning slightly more towards bitter than sweet. Beyond the sweet, malts there's also a bit of fresh grain and mineral flavors.
High Brass has a light mouthfeel with slightly elevated levels of carbonation, which is appropriate for the style.
Were it not for the initial offputting aromas this beer would score much higher. Still, it's a prrety interesting brew: While not quite a Blonde Ale in the traditional sense — it sort of flips the sweet-to-bitter ratio on its head — High Brass is close enough to the style so that an average drinker would not find confusion in a sample. And, moving beyond the aromas, the beer's flavor is actually balanced quite nicely: It has surprising depth for a Blonde, and the fact that it's not an overly sweet or malt-forward affair is refreshing.
But those aroma, though. They're hard to overlook. And, in turn, they help High Brass serve as a prime example of just how difficult it is to hide flaws in lighter beer styles.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'll give Revolver High Brass a 7.
What's happening in the area brew scene? (Powered by Dallas Brew Scene.)
• Thursday, September 18, through Thursday, November 20. Brewhaha Comedy Tour at Various Local Breweries.
• Friday, November 7. The Inaugural NTX Beer Week Brewer's Ball at the Renaissance Hotel.
Previous On Tap Reviews:
• Peticolas' Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community's Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Peticolas' Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Community's Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Goatman: 9.5.
• Community's Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas' Thrillla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Revolver's Blood & Honey: 9.
• Martin House's Imperial Texan: 9.
• Community's Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Peticolas' Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners' Block Party Porter: 9.
• Cedar Creek's Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Deep Ellum's Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Rock Ryder: 8.5.
• Rahr's Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Punkel: 8.
• Four Corners' El Chingon IPA: 8.
• Martin House's Day Break: 8.
• Deep Ellum's GOURDzilla: 8.
• Peticolas' The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
• Deep Ellum's Pale Ale: 8.
• Revolver's Bock: 8.
• Peticolas' Wintervention: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works' Brunch Money: 8.
• Martin House's Salsa Verde: 8.
• Lakewood's Hop Trapp: 8.
• Martin House's Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
• Lakewood's Antigoon's Revenge: 7.5.
• Community's Texas Pils: 7.5.
• Lakewood's Zomer Pils: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek's Dankosaurus: 7.5.
• Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
• Cedar Creek's The Lawn Ranger: 7.
• Lakewood's Till & Toil: 7.
• 903 Brewers' The Chosen One: 7.
• Martin House's Gateway XPA: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Work's Quakertown Stout: 7.
• Community's Pale Ale: 7.
• Martin House's River House: 7.
• Peticolas' The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum's Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Cedar Creek's Elliott's Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery's Lakefire: 6
• Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
• Lakewood's La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Grapevine's Monarch: 4.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• Miller Lite: 1.