Schlafly’s No. 15 Ale is their year-round beer commemorating their 15th anniversary. I happen to like pretty much everything Schlafly puts out. I know being a St. Louis based brewery they take a heavy hit from some of the the other Kansas City beer bloggers, but I think they are a solid brewery and I generally like what they are putting out. As always, though, I’m always leery of “amber ales” as this is such a generic, catch-all “style.” Luckily I ended up with one of these in my cooler from the 4th of July BBQ, so I get to try the beer without investing the $$$!
The beer pours a nice amber/orange color with a little haze and a fluffy white head. I was drinking it in my English style “Nonick” pint glass (a pint glass with the bulge near the lip), which seemed appropriate for a good balanced drinker like most ambers tend to be.
No. 15 is a wheat beer, maybe more of a “dunkelweizen” or dark wheat beer by style. According to the Schlafly website, it only has 15 IBU’s, but is 6% ABV and is brewed with orange peel and other spices.
At first I thought this beer’s aroma was similar to a pilsner, but then all I could think of was “Belgian?” I was getting a lot of Belgian yeast character out of this, but I think it was the wheat and the spices tricking my nose and brain! For me, after the original few snorts, there really isn’t much to be had on the aroma of this beer.
Even with the taste, though, my initial thought is still questioning if this is a Belgian beer or not. It must be the spices it’s brewed with, but that initial taste says “Belgian” to me, which is really strange. After the initial Belgian-y character wears off, I get mostly wheat and malt with little hops, just enough to give it a drier finish and not be overly sweet.
I like this beer. It’s more complex than I thought it’d be, but it’s an easy drinker. At 6% it’s hardly a session beer, but it’s not so complex that you have to think about each sip, either. It has a lot of surprises for me, especially those Belgian-like notes in the aroma and flavor. People who like Fat Tire would probably appreciate this, and although it has been a while since I’ve had a Fat Tire, I think No. 15 is a better “amber” than the old standby. I would actually buy this to have on hand in the fall, and I think it’d be great with food!