Chuck’s Amber Ale. It sounds like an American brew from Brooklyn doesn’t it? But Chuck couldn’t be further afield right now, sitting at home in Ranana, Israel, lapping up the unconditional love dogs these days so much do. Yes, Chuck is a dog. Whats more, Chuck is still alive and well and petted by Itai, Lior, Doron, Beni and Rafi. The 5 boys and one dog which make up this boutique brew clan.
I’m not going to delve into the heart of their operation here, for this review is coupled with another publication for the ‘Featured People’ section where I tell you all about them. Be sure to give that a read (here) to get a better understanding behind who has brought this beer to our tables.
What I will tell you in short, is that Itai was the lad who first introduced me to their beers and a more enthusiastic sales person of any product, is rare to find. But it was Rafi Ben-David, the master brewer and self confessed, if albeit shyly, leader of the gang, whom having met at the Benny’s Cask ale pub to share a couple of pints with, really had me sold. Chuck’s Amber Ale is Rafi’s home brewed recipe with the input and advice of the the boys. It cant be easy. You can sort of picture the scene where Rafi would come out from some dark cellar kitchen with a new brew recipe, enthusiastically and ceremoniously offer it to the other partners to taste and judge, and most of the time failing to reach a unanimous consensus…poor Rafi would totter back down again to start over. Almost 3 years in-fact it took till they finally did all agree, and here was Benny pouring it out of a cask in-front of me. This, I remembered happily, is what it is all about.
But it’s not Benny’s Cask version I am going to critique today, its the bottled version. This is the version you are most likely going to taste first. Having said that, both myself and Rafi agree hands down, that the casked version is better by some margin. This is actually true with a good 90% of beers you will taste. Perhaps a more acquired taste and education needed, but its well worth it.
Amber light copper. Medium body – little cloudy, perfect inch head slight off white colour.
Sweet acid fruits, pleasant flat malty aroma coupled with slight aromatic hops. All in all – very balanced and not overwhelming.
The taste of this beer is not a million miles from a good lager but not a few yards from an american pale ale either. The metallic mouth-feel leans towards lager, but the thick sweet body and bitter tones render this an ale and no mistake. The emphasis here is on the malt, and its got a good character, slightly toasted but also sweet enough to make me suspect there is some wheat malt used too. There is a grown-up maturity about it, almost too balanced and well behaved, yet I can think of most occasions I fancy a beer where this effort would suit me more than an overly hopped amber ale.
This really is a very well balanced beer. Its reminiscent in some ways of the brewer of this effort…pleasant, with hints of deeper of things to come. Somehow I feel that the next effort could do with being a bit more aggressive, a bit more rude. I get the feeling that lurking beneath the surface, Chuck’s bite might be louder than his bark.
5.3% Alc per 330ml bottle
You can buy it at:
- Beer Bazar
- Beer Market
- Beer & Beyond
- Benny’s Cask Ale Pub