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Erie Brewing Derailed Black Cherry Ale

August 27, 2012

Like many breweries, Erie Brewing started out of a brewpub in Erie, Pennsylvania. A few years later, they were able to expand and turn into a microbrewery. Interestingly, Erie was taken over by a venture capital firm in the early 2000s, and have since then been making a shift from local microbrewey to a regional supplier of a number of different beers. Given that the venture capitalists apparently changed around a large part of the staff, I wonder if the brewery today is anything like the dreams the brewpub owners had nearly twenty years ago.

Still, the important question is what did I think of Derailed, their black cherry ale.

The beer poured an interesting hazy golden color, with little to no head. What was throwing me off is that unlike other cherry beers, which normally radiate their pink coloring, this beer merely sort of evoked it. I felt like there were pink hues but the beer was clearly golden, at least in the light I was viewing it in. While the coloring might have been strange, the scent was the exact strong sent of ripe, juicy, cherries that I’ve come to expect from the variety of cherry ales I’ve drank.

Derailed had a medium body, not light and smooth, nor really very heavy in the mouth. The beer has a very balanced cherry taste. Never does it become too sweet or too sour as other fruit beers do, instead following a middle road between the two. There’s no overbearing tartness on the back end or at all really. Nor does the beer try to evoke a cherry pie flavor with biscuity flavors. There is a slight hint of malt, but it only helps to balance the cherry flavor rather than evoke something beyond it.

In the end, the Derailed is definitely focused on its fruit flavor but if you’re not looking to drink cherries, it’s probably not for you.

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