The first in our character beer series, a throw back to our garbage pale kid collecting days, comes Vlad The ImPALEr. a deep red pale ale inspired by one of history's most notorious badasses. Post humously dubbed Vlad the Impaler, for his particularly sadistic and bloody reputation of impaling his enemies. Vlad also adopted the moniker Dracula, meaning 'son of the dragon.' As a historical tribute, Cervetech presents a Pale Ale worthy of the ruthless figure.
In crafting Vlad we went with some of the more typical grains used to make a red, such as special b malt at first what really makes Vlad a cut above the rest is our use of some of the more exotic ingredients our local climate provides. The red fleshed Dragon fruit (which grows locally from May to November) proved to be an excellent choice for commemorating 'the son of the dragon.'
Vlad pours a deep yet bright, rich, red brew and holds a finger head of white bubbles. This brew shows nice head retention, leaving some lacing behind as it goes down. Carbonation on the first batch was towards the high end although not unpleasant. The aroma is all hops and this brew runs you through the gauntlet between spicy, floral and citric hops. Flavors are towards the tropical end with some pineapple, grapefruit, and cactus. Cactus??? Remember Dragonfruit is after all a cactus fruit also known as Pitaya. Your first impression of this beer might be sweet at first, but do not be fooled because a well-balanced hop bitterness will be quickly taking center stage. As you sip, bitterness of grapefruit, lemon rind and piney spice remind you that we are hop head brewers with the best intentions of not making an IPA but sometimes we fall short of that task. The middle peaks with a bit of caramel mostly attributed to the use of special b malt (one of our favs). The finish is slightly boozey but not overpowering, after all this is a 7.5% abv. The aftertaste takes you back to the front end hops, with bitterness coated in resiny hop oils.
After trying this beer, you too will agree that this is a bloody good pale ale. I don't want to give away what the next brew in the character series will be but I will say that it makes two extremes make a lot of sense...