Redhook Ale Brewery
Ben Harris Beer Cream Ale
Redhook is – plain and simple – not a brewery I’m a fan of. Aside from their Long Hammer IPA, there’s not a beer in their catalogue I would describe as being “good,” and it’s been that way since I first got into craft beer. They’re bland, boring and while drinkable, not enjoyable.
But damn it, if buying a craft beer is going to help a kid go to college, sign me up.
Ben Harris Beer was brewed in memory of the late Redhook employee Ben Harris. In April 2012, Harris was cleaning kegs using pressurized air when one of the kegs exploded. Debris struck him in the head and chest and he was later pronounced dead. He had just gotten married and had a baby on the way.
To honor Harris, Redhook brewed up a batch of 4.7% cream ale – one of his preferred styles – and hopped it up with Sterling, Saaz and Hallertau. All proceeds from the sale of the beer go to the Benjamin Harris 2012 Memorial Fund, which will be used to send his kid to college.
With South Carolina being one of a handful of states to get this beer and knowing buying it was for a good cause, I set aside my prior feelings about Redhook and drank up.
The nose has a really nice rich yeasty sweetness to it with a big, bready malt character. A melon note coats the whole beer with big hints of cantaloupe and honeydew. There is a cream note there as well as a very slight hoppiness.
The slight bitterness on the front of the tongue is canceled out by this creamy sweetness the coats the mouth. There is a slight hop bitterness again on the middle of the palate along with those melon notes, again accompanied by the cream sweetness. The finish is very smooth and creamy with an aftertaste of almost a caramel candy. The hop flavors linger throughout the mouth giving the beer a good contrast.
The brewery says the beer was designed as a sort of end-of-the-day brew, and I can certainly see that. It’s full-bodied, flavorful, not overly sweet, has the right touch of hoppiness and a low enough ABV that you can throw back a few without worrying about. As far as cream ales go, this is certainly one of the better ones I’ve had, and the additional hops add a nice touch.
All in all, it’s a fitting tribute and goodbye to one of Redhook’s own.