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Make Beer Not War

November 11, 2011

Maybe I’m just a sucker for art, but in my eyes the 21st Amendment Brewery can do no wrong. Their boxed-craft-beer-in-a-can approach transcends novelty, it’s just a smart, environmentally friendly way of doing things, and the artwork on their packaging almost overshadows the beer inside (even though the beer is almost always excellent).

Their most recent release, just in time for Veteran’s Day, is their Allies Win the War! Ale, a collaboration between 21st Amendment (based in San Francisco) and Ninkasi Brewing (from Oregon). At 8.5% abv, it’s an amber ale brewed with dates, with hops that provide some orange blossom notes and a mild piney bitterness, which meld with sweet caramel malts and some background dark fruit flavors to give it a slightly creamy mouthfeel. There’s nothing really mind-blowing in terms of flavor, but it’s very balanced and tasty, so much so that you almost don’t realize how strong it is.

The thing that I like most about the 21st Amendment Brewery is that they always produce solid, interesting beers, but they don’t try too hard to push limits. I think that a lot of craft beer lovers are kind of jaded these days, what with all of the specialty beers and limited-release spectacles meant to take beer into strange new places. Craft beer shouldn’t be about shock and awe, it’s about winning hearts and minds. When innovative brewers work together in the name of art and great beer, everybody wins.

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