Weekly Beer Geek: Olde Number 22
- Written by Luke G
- February 10, 2011
Olde Number 22 Alt Bier dark ale
Arbor Brewing Company
The Beginning As we get hit with yet another bruising, bone-chilling cold snap, I find myself looking more and more to the darker sections of the beer fridge. There’s just something about coming in from the cold to a full-bodied beer served just below room temperature that warms me to the bone. Besides, the low tonight is supposed to hit 11 below with the wind chill and “22” is… double… negative… oh hell, just drink some dark beer and stay bundled up.
The Brewer’s Pitch Arbor’s selling point for Olde 22 is that it is drinkable dark ale- and as we know from Bud Lite commercials, “drinkable” usually means “not very bitter.” A more cynical person might translate it to “chuggable.” That may not be a bad thing with a darker beer, though, as sometimes brewers can go overboard with body and bitters and make the beer a less enjoyable experience. This is a very smoothly malted ale that finished dry without too much bitter and has subtle smoky notes. Literally meaning “old beer,” altbier refers to the historical method of using top-fermenting yeast to produce a very smooth, very clean-tasting ale.
The Beer Olde 22 pours cleanly with a fine rim of nearly nonexistent head. The smell is very subtle and faint, with barely-there notes of smokily roasted malt and a sweet alcohol aroma. The beer is very light-bodied to the point of being watery. Carbonation is extremely subtle and provides a crisp bite, making the beer taste colder than it is. A fine roast flavor comes through briefly before a crisp, hoppy finish.
The Breakdown This beer has nothing to offer- literally. There is a disturbing lack of flavor of any sort in Olde Number 22. The most evident flavor is the hoppiness at the finish, although it is not so much strong as the other flavors are extremely weak. The roast is overwhelmed by the flavors of hops and alcohol, and the smoky taste promised by the brewer doesn’t emerge at all. This avoids an F because it IS drinkable- I save my F’s for beers I can’t finish, and Olde 22 isn’t quite bad enough for me to dump it.
The Bottom Line Olde Number 22 should have been left in the history books- find a different dark brew to warm you up while you wait for spring.