Why Did the Hippo Cross the State? (Beercation 6)

River Horse Brewing

River Horse Sign

When is a tasting not a tasting? When you know the brewery is open, but when you get there it’s only open for retail sales, cases and bottles and growlers, but no pints or tasting. Disappointing, but I decided to take my tasting to go. So the beer crossed the state to get to the other site, my apartment.

River Horse Tasting

River Horse IPAIPA

This pours cloudy amber with a very generous foamy white head with a yellow tinge. It has an old fashioned hop nose, before the citrus bombs; it’s earthy, with light biscuit malt. On the palate there is light fruit then lots of malt, slightly muddy, with light hop flavors. On the finish the malt transitions slowly to hops, continuing to a medium length. 5.7% ABV

River Horse Special AleSpecial Ale

“An American Amber” this is dark amber with a brief medium tannish head. There is a cake malt nose with toffee notes. Malt dominates the flavor, followed by a little wave of dark fruit ending with a puff of hops. This reminds me strongly of British styles, but the hops are American. The finish continues the malt and light toffee and fruit. Not a favorite but that’s a matter of style rather than of execution. 5.5% ABV

RiverHorse TripelHorseTripel Horse

Cloudy golden amber in the glass with a light white head. The first sniff is malt, the next sniff is estery, the third adds spices. The flavor is fruit malty, the body is medium full, spices play around the edges, and dryness alternates with caramel. Quite complex! The finish is medium: medium malty, medium spicy, medium long. 10.0% ABV and potentially quite sneaky. The flavors build sip to sip, becoming quite delicious.

River Horse Summer BlondeSummer Blonde Ale

A pale golden pour with a medium bubbly white head. It’s a full bore malt nose, biscuit and bakery, dry with a little shot of traditional hops. On the palate it’s lightly effervescent, giving an immeduate shot of toffee followed by lots of malt. Some hops join the malt on the finish. It’s a sessionable 4.5% ABV

River Horse HopHazardHop Hazard

“Unfiltered American Pale Ale,” it’s cloudy amber like liquid caramel with a medium off white head. The mostly malt nose has some stone fruit, and surprisingly little hop aroma, then earthy hops come in strongly on the palate, and stronger still on the finish. This makes a nice progression keeping things interesting sniff to sip to savoring. 6.5% ABV

Maybe I shouldn’t list this as Beercation at all, since none of these were tasted until I got home, but I put River Horse in brewery sequence if not in tasting sequence.

I suppose that under New Jersey law they could not give a tasting at that time. The bizarre requirement is that you can only give a tasting to someone during or after a tour of the facility. Since the brewery was in production, they naturally couldn’t give a tour. Something about running over customers with a fork lift, or at least washing their shoes in beer. In fact I got a minimal tour from just inside the door of the brewhouse, but that cuts no ice. It’s interesting that some breweries like Cape May Brewing observe this requriement rigorously, while others–who shall remain nameless–seem to ignore it altogether. It may be a matter of who got slapped on the wrist by the state!

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