North Carolina Does Beer Well


While on vacation this week in the Outer Banks, it was imperative that I picked up a 6 pack of something from NC, to sample the local flavor. I accompanied my sister and her friends on a beer run to the local Brew Thru and asked the attendant about local beer. After telling me that their best local beer was out, she pulled out the micro list and showed me where the NC beers were on it. As a fan of English ales, Highland Brewing‘s Gaelic Ale seemed a logical choice.

Out of Asheville, NC, Highland seems to be a respected brewery. With a few seasonals that sounded interesting and 5 year round brews, Gaelic Ale is their lead beer. Here are my notes:


Pours a deep amber color with great clarity and a slight reddish tint. There is a small, creamy head that is maintained throughout.


Here’s where I am a bit disappointed, as despite there being nothing unpleasant about the aroma… there is nothing really pleasant either. There is some faint malt aroma, but it is little to none.


The flavor is full… and quite tasty at that. American hops varieties are noticeable, specifically cascade and chinook. This is a beer where you can identify quite easily that the prominent hops flavor is American. There is a moderate malt quality and a somewhat bitter finish. The flavor could be compared to some ESBs and Reds, but is something of its own.


While there is some sweetness to the flavor, the palate is quite dry. As noted above, there is a dry, hoppy finish. This creates a slight aftertaste, not altogether undesirable, but not fantastic either. There is a lot of body, without the beer being too heavy or thick.

Overall Rating:

Overall, my first dive in NC’s beers was a positive and promising experience. Gaelic Ale is a solid session beer and only loses some points due to the lack of any discernible aroma (note that while little to no smell may be somewhat intentional, I like a good aroma to my beer). At 5.8% ABV, this American amber/red style is no pushover, but it won’t house you after just a beer or two.


~ by thepaintedman on June 18, 2009.

6 Responses to “North Carolina Does Beer Well”

  1. When will you be reviewing my beer of choice, Miller Lite?

  2. Just for you, I will. But expect some POOR ratings.

  3. Sounds interesting. If you’re ever up in Maine, you should try most any of the local brews. Allagash Curieux is one i just tried, unique animal. Allagash’s site says that Kunda Bev. in KOP carries it, closest to you anyhow.

  4. Thanks Tim. Allagash is great. Never had Curieux, but Allagash White and Allagash Black are amazing.

    I’ll be I can get a bottle of Curieux at Capone’s in Norristown. A case at Kunda would be too much for me… Kunda’s prices aren’t bad, but a case of anything Allagash makes is not cheap.

  5. I would recommend a beer called Flat Tire. Excellent Ambler Ale based out of Denver, CO. Unfortuately we can not get it in PA but I did see it down in NC.

  6. I believe you are referring to New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale. It’s a solid American Amber and you are correct that it’s all over down here in NC (I’ll be back in PA tonight). Despite the fact that it isn’t officially carried in PA, specialty bottle shops and bars can sometimes get their hands on it. I ave had it at least once in PA, I believe I got a bottle at Capone’s in Norristown.

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