Horsin’ Around

Posted: April 16, 2009 by kmahern in Uncategorized
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River Horse Brewing Company opened in Labertville, NY in April 1996

River Horse Brewing Company opened in Labertville, NY in April 1996

Wandering through the wonderful world of Wegmans’ beer section one recent day, my boyfriend and I stumbled upon a strange looking variety pack with an intriguing label. The tan and light blue box, which sported a logo that mimicked the weathered graphic t-shirt look, read “River Horse Brewing Company” and hailed from New Jersey.



River Horse is actually another name for a Hippo

River Horse is actually another name for a Hippo

Always drawn to alcohol named after animals (even though I’ve been told brewers who do so usually don’t take their craft seriously), I was especially tickled that this brand included the word horse, and persuaded a purchase. Read on for the often delicious and slightly surprising delights we found inside.


Tripel Horse Belgian Style Ale—10%

This is an unfiltered, Belgian style ale. According to the Web site, it’s the Belgian yeast they use that gives it the vanilla aroma and taste. It also has a slight citrus undertone that comes out most in the aftertaste to counter the sweetness of the vanilla. The mouthfeel is a bit heavier than its companions, but since it’s accompanied by a high alcohol percentage, we’ll let that one slide.

Brewer’s Reserve Limited Edition Imperial Cherry Amber—7%

True to its name, the amber color is a pale ale infused with a hint of cherry red. The taste is slightly hoppy with just a slight undertone of cherries, and it tends to linger in your mouth. I wouldn’t call it a fruit beer (see Pomegranate Wheat from Saranac or Black Cherry Lambic from Syracuse Suds) because the cherries aren’t the main component—they’re more of an afterthought in the taste. So don’t let the fruity name scare you off, boys—it’s OK to like this one.

ESB Special Ale—4.5%

ESB means “Extra Special Bitter.” This is a golden, unfiltered English style ale. It’s made with caramel malts, which come through in the beer’s brownish tinge and the almost burnt character in the taste. The first sip is definitely bitter, but the taste finishes a bit sweet, making this a complex brew.

Hop Hazard American Pale Ale—5.5%

Hop heads rejoice—others beware. This ale is brewed with a five-hop blend, and the bitter result will give you the shivers. Remember when you were [insert (under)age here] and you took your first sip of beer? Let’s be honest—you didn’t love it. It probably made your mouth pucker and sent a little shiver down your spine that you struggled to suppress so your friends didn’t think you were lame. This one sends me wayyyy back there, and the lingering sour finish keeps the memory fresh through the next sip—if you get that far (call me a wuss—then come crawling back when this brew knocks you off your barstool so I can say “I told you so”).



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