Dallas Craft Beer Examiner
Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing continues its experimental series called Moveable Yeast with the release this week of their second beer in the family, the Altared Amber (pun intended). This beer is their normal Saint Arnold Amber Ale fermented with a strain of Belgian Trappist yeast, the specific origin of which was left unspecified.
Yeast is the most important ingredient in beer, which this series is specifically designed to spotlight. Malt and hops can provide a base that makes some beers taste similar to others, but the defining flavor characteristics can all be attributed to these little bugs. Recall the Weedwacker of a few months ago, and how simply using different yeast yielded an entirely different taste.
The traditional Saint Arnold Amber Ale is one of this brewery’s flagship products, and has been around for almost 15 years. It is a typical American amber style, lightly malted and lightly hopped, very mild and a pleasant drinker. Some might call it “boring,” or at the very least, “uninteresting.”
But add a Trappist yeast strain and it becomes a new beer altogether. The Altared Amber looks about the same, a light pale copper color with a foamy white head, but the aroma is immediately changed. The nose is yeasty and bready with a light citrus, and the taste is dry and mildly complex with a very small hop bite, finishing smooth and easy to drink.
Personally, I like this release better than the Weedwacker. This is a better pairing of ingredients with a more distinct yeast action, and would not be out of place as an imported light Belgian pale ale. This one I would buy year-round if available, especially in our long brutal summers.
￼Availability: Draft only and limited quantities, as are all the beers of this series. Found at the usually beer-focused establishments like Flying Saucer, Ginger Man and the like. Quantities are limited, so it will disappear quickly.
Originally published December 10, 2010, at Examiner.com