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Ithaca Embrr!

November 24, 2014

Ithaca Brewery is one of those companies that I could have sworn I had talked about before. After all, if you’re a craft beer drinker in the Northeast United States you’ve probably had their year round Flower Power at least once. However, it’s their seasonal and one-off beers that always draw my attention and that’s why I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to talk about them. Then again, they’re just one of many fabulous breweries that have been hanging around the vast (oft forgotten) region of “upstate New York.”

The Embrr!, their winter seasonal, is a porter made with rye that pours a deep black with red hues and a nice brown head sitting on top. The nose is dominated by chocolatey roasted malt scents, with just a hint of rye spice. Its fairly smooth with a body that’s thicker than average but not particularly full or creamy in any way.

The majority of its flavor is composed of that strong chocolate and roasted malt character. The rye flavors form an undercurrent, present enough to remind you they exist but nothing overpowering. The roasted malt once again dominates the end with a bitter chocolate-coffee finish that’s balanced out by the characteristic rye spice. Overall, this is a well-balanced beer that’s nice in the wintertime but probably not going to give you a real rye fix if that’s what you’re looking for.

For a seasonal, the Ithaca Embrr! is something unique in a sea of similarly high ABV overly sweet winter warmers and for that alone it’s worth checking out. However, it’s also a beer that could go well with both a heavy savory entree or a chocolatey dessert, or just enjoyed by the glass on a cold night spent inside. It’s versatile, interesting, and worth your time, just don’t expect it to blow you away.

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