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Friday, March 17, 2006 

Beer Review: Smithwick's Ale

Happy St. Patrick's Day. Today, most people will be focusing their attention and pint glasses towards Guinness or some crappy green-dyed domestic macrobrew. While I heartily endorse (and will be drinking) Guinness, today is a great time to expand your beer horizons. Guinness also makes Harp and Smithwick's. Smithwick's is one of those beers that I only have every so often. It's good, but it's not in my general rotation. I always mess up the pronunciation, even though I know how it should be said. The "W" is supposed to be silent, so it's pronounced "Smithicks" in the US. The Irish have about twenty different ways they say it. My brain just won't remove the W sound before my mouth says it.

It's got a nice, brown-chestnutty color that one would expect from an Irish ale. It's often billed as being red or "ruby" colored, but I think it's closer to brown than red. Poured properly, there should be a very thick head. There is a little malty aroma, but it's nothing strong or memorable. The flavor is dominated by the malts. It's got a grainy but surprisingly smooth flavor. It's very drinkable. The main reason that Smithwick's isn't in my general rotation is that I usually like it with food (and I don't eat at bars very often). Just as a personal preference, I like to have "red" beers with any sort of bovine critter-dominated meal. Between Guinnesses, give Smithwick's a try today.

I thought about trying the Smithwick's today, but opted for an ale brewed in Kalamazoo. It's called Two hearted Ale. I did, however, pick up a bottle of Knob Hill. Pretty good stuff. I just couldn't see paying $45.00 for the Booker's.

I spent my day with Guinness and Newcastle. We found a Marquette bar with cheap import taps and no line (there were lines outside of bars as early as 7 PM in Milwaukee), so we stayed there. Beer and whiskey... all you need.

Man, that Knob Hill gave me a headache, the likes of which would bring Kong to his knees! I'll have some of the beer tonight. I won't do Knob Hill straight again though.

I'm curious... have you ever had Boddington's, and if so what are your thoughts on it?

When I actually have money to drink somewhere other than at home (i.e. once a semester or so) I typically trade back and forth between Guinness and Boddington's.

Bodd's is great. It reminds me of sort of a sweet, vanilla Guinness. It's also surprisingly rich for a golden beer.

Do NOT try Two Heart Ale. Ewwwww!! Skunky!!

I have had Boddington's before, at Von Trier, on the near East Side of Milwaukee. It was a 0.5 pint, and all I can say is that is was a vast disappointment. Granted it was right after a Kaner Dunkel, but it should not have been that bad.

My new kick is IPA's. Everytime I go out I try to find a new micro that has one. So far, I hate to say it, New Glarus has had the best IPA by far. However, I have not yet ventured into the realm of foreign IPA's, though I have heard that there are some good Belgian and English IPA's.

That'll be the next try.

As far as the Boddington's, I'd say to watch your palate. That Dunkel lingers enough to vastly alter how the next beer will taste. Also, be wary of making a judgment solely based on one beer, especially in a bar. You don't know how old that keg is, how clean their lines are, etc.

IPAs are very hit and miss with me. Many times, I think they are so damn hoppy that they are undrinkable. They just aren't enjoyable to drink. I tread lightly with IPAs and rarely (if ever) buy an entire six pack. I usually end up with something I don't like.

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  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
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