Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s first ale offering was Boont Amber Ale, named after the “Boontling” dialect that locals speak. I generally get about as excited for “amber ales” as I do for “lagers.” Which is to say not very excited at all, but knowing that AVBC makes great beers and being impressed with several of their other offerings at least made me want to try this, as opposed to completely avoid it like most ambers.
It isn’t that amber ales are bad beers, they’re just not very exciting. “Amber” is sort of a catch-all style, not really meaning much beyond the fact that you can reasonably expect the beer to be slightly red in color. Most of the time ambers are just sort of there, occupying space.
I poured my sample from a 22oz bomber I bought at Lukas Liquors. Uncapped it almost became a serious gusher, like another AVBC bomber I had a while back, but I noticed it rising and poured it off into my English style pint glass before it could overflow. The beer pours a hazy reddish-amber color with a big, rocky butterscotch head. My sample had big, soda pop size bubbles clinging to the glass, too, but these dissipated pretty quickly. Aroma is pretty weak to my nose, and my nose is actually working today! Not much there. A little malt, a little hops, but nothing really. Maybe a little graham cracker if I hallucinate.
The beer is balanced, as most of us would expect from an amber ale. It leans a little toward the malty side, with a bit of bitterness to balance it out, but I can’t honestly say I notice too much hops flavor, so the bitterness could be coming from darker malts. In the long aftertaste I get some roasty, almost burned (but not in an unpleasant way) flavors.
The mouthfeel is pretty thin on the Boont Amber Ale, but for such a lightly bodied beer it has quite an aftertaste. I think this beer would pair well with something like roasted chicken and potatoes with rosemary, maybe some pastas in cream sauce and possibly even with smoked cheeses like a nice smoked Gouda. I don’t cook much with beer, but I’ll bet this would be a great beer to use in cooking, too. It’s not a bad beer, but it lives up to expectation for an amber… kind of boring, kind of ho-hum. Perfectly good beer, especially if you’re looking for balance, but from this brewer I’d just as soon reach for the oatmeal stout or IPA. Look for the stout review soon.