Red Banshee – Fort Collins Brewery – 5.3% ABV
I’ve always been a sucker for redheads. They are some of the most beautiful women on the planet, yet often the most volatile. One would think this to be appropriate when choosing a beer of the same designation, right? I found a nice a little ditty in BuyRite when looking over the selection. They have a setup where you can build your own six pack, choosing from many various brews on the racks. Being a lover of all styles and tastes, I tend to vary them as much as possible when I build my own sixer. This time, she caught my eye. I grabbed a bottle and looked it over. This is the Red Banshee from Fort Collins Brewery. The redhead on the label gave me something to look at, and then I quickly grabbed her and added her to the group.
After getting home, I decided I had to have that redhead right away. Popped it open and poured it into a glass. The color is a deep ruby red and built a thick light-beige head above it, one that hung around for a while, left some nice soapy lacing and produced a nice floral aroma from the Willamette hops. This type of hops produces a much more earthy aroma, more so than Cascade or Goldings or many of the others. Those are a little more piney. Anyway, it looked nice and red, almost brown without the light. The redhead was calling for me, so I grabbed it and decided it was time for a taste.
Immediately, caramel is the front runner in the flavor department. Like most red ales I’ve had before, Red Banshee is pretty typical. The crystal malts in this are what give it that caramel flavor. See, crystal malts and caramel malts are basically the same thing. You can interchange either of those words when you’re describing what you’re brewing or drinking. Most educated brewers will know what you mean. So as I mentioned before, the crystal/caramel malts impart that flavor. This is nice and sweet, but earthy and medium-to-full-bodied. Caramel, toasted grains and brown sugar would be the dominant taste here. The hops presence makes itself known late in the game. Hard to tell which is more prominent. The malts I think win the match in the end, but not without a fight from the hops.
This is a pretty good take on a red ale. Malty backbone, touch of hops in the end, nice smooth mouthfeel. I’ve been drinking a few of these types of beers lately. Irish red ales, amber ales, American red ales. I’m trying to find one that sticks out above the rest of the pack. Red Banshee is in the hunt for sure. Will it prevail in the end? Only time will tell. Grab a Red Banshee if and when you get a chance and see for yourself. You might fall for her wily charms…