11/30/18: Rhinegeist Brewery's Dad

5:05 PM

This is a beer that's been around for some time. Odds are, if you live in a place where Rhinegeist is found you've seen cans lining store shelves and taps advertising the stuff on their labels. Once November rolls around, Rhinegeist puts a lot of resources into making sure Dad is on your radar.

And, you know what? Their efforts are effective. Dad's been on my radar since I moved to Cincinnati. I see it every time I go grocery shopping in November, December, and even January. I'll say that I even tried it, once, nearly four years ago, on tap at a barcade. Back then, my palate isn't what it is now, so, when I quaffed my first and only pint of the stuff my thought was: It's a Christmas ale, but hoppy. Now, years later and having gained much more appreciation for hoppy beverages, I'm excited to crack into this can and give Dad a second try. I'm hoping, regardless of how I enjoy the beer, to better understand how my palate's developed. Here goes!

For those of you who are unaware of Rhinegeist, or for those who would otherwise like a summary of the brewery, I've got you covered. In 2007, a dude named Bob Bunder, new to Cincinnati, dreamed of brewing beer. He saw that the old Moerlein bottling plant (Moerlein was one of the premier breweries in pre-prohibition Cincinnati) in Over-the-Rhine was vacant. Bob teamed up with Bryant Goulding (a west-coast beer sales rep), Jim Matt (a chemist with a penchant for brewing), Luke Cole (an engineer with brewing experience), and Dennis Kramer-Wine (who put together Rhinegeist's distribution plan). With the team organized, the brewery made their first batch of beer in 2013, and have since become a staple in the Cincinnati beer scene. If you'd like more information than what I've given you here, take a look at Rhinegeist's "Our Story" page.

So, now that the history lesson is out of the way, let's turn our attention to Dad (that link'll take you to the brew's official page). This seasonal beer is a hoppy red ale that clocks in at 6% ABV. It has juicy malts (Crystal 15 and 2 Row Pale), crisp hops (Chinook, Bravo, and El Dorado), and is available in cans and on draft in November and December (but, like I said in the intro, you're sure to find some kicking around throughout January, as well).

The hops that I picked up on so strongly years ago are very present in Dad's bouquet. I get both orange and pine aromas from my can, each of which can be strongly tied to Christmas. Digging deeper, I also get some of that malt backbone the ale has. It's sweet. There's not much else going with Dad's nose, and I'm okay with that. Purrl, who gave my can two whiffs, isn't; being a cat, she's likely put off by the hoppiness of the stuff.

If I'm being honest here, which, I hope, is why you read these posts (that, and they're probably entertaining), there's not a lot to Dad's taste. It's inoffensive, sure, but that's about all I can say. Except for the hops in the finish. These are bold and carry on that pineyness I got from the nose. The juicy sweetness I gathered from the malt only moments ago is washed out here.

While Dad may be an ordinary red ale in the flavor department, its mouthfeel is something else. It's endlessly creamy and very nearly makes up for the ale's lack of flavorful oomph.

During my senior year of college, I decided that I wanted to decorate for Christmas. My house had an enormous cherry tree growing outside it--one that I thought would be perfect to hang Christmas lights in. So, I went to the store to bought some and an extension cord. Then, one cold December morning before my first class, I sent about putting them up.

By opening the window of my room, I could access the roof above our front porch, which gave me access to the top of the tree. I crawled around that thing for a good half an hour, draping the lights over its its branches as I went. At one point, I nearly good stuck between a bough and the trunk, but I managed to squeeze my way through. I left the plug for the lights on the roof and, after retrieving it, hooked the lights up to the extension cord.

That night I plugged the cord into the outlet under my window and watched our tree twinkle with colors. Did I do the best job? Not by a long shot, but we were the only house on our street with Christmas lights. That endeavor is what I find myself thinking about as I sit here drinking my can of Dad.

So, now that I've reached the end of this post, what's left to say? One thing is that my palate has, happily, expanded. The other is that what was once my least favorite part of the ale (the hops) are now the greatest standout for me. Rhinegeist's Christmas offering isn't anything exceptional. I probably wouldn't reach for it if I had a choice of holiday beers. That doesn't mean that Dad's bad, however. It's just average and doesn't do anything to mark itself a holiday brew. I'm giving it a 7.0/10. Grab some if you're feeling so inclined, but know that it wouldn't be my first choice.

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