Glassware: Cream ales are lighter beers with a wonderful malt profile. However, it is a beer that is not overly complex but still deserves a pour into proper glassware. The Willi Becher pint glass is a top choice for this beer. This is also a great beer straight from the can and many old timers, who grew up on cream ales, will want to drink straight from it. So don’t be afraid to let the snobbery drop away for a while and enjoy a world class beer from a can.
Description: Hardywood’s Cream Ale pours a semi-clear golden hue with bright white creamy head that leaves a thick layer of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very faint but subtle notes of semi-sweet toasted bready malts are the most dominant up front flavors. The taste follows the nose but presents a true flavor explosion on the palate. Notes of sweet toasted malts wash over the palate first, followed by hints of honey, biscuit malts, and even delicate suggestions of vanilla are present. This is truly one deliciously malty beer! The medium body with light to moderate carbonation aid in the beer’s smoothness. This is not only a delicious beer for any craft beer geek, but also a highly recommended one for those looking to get into craft beer.
Food pairing: Cream Ale goes fantastic with an array of classic American dishes that are enjoyed any time of the year. During the summer months, pair this cream ale with any backyard barbecue dish whether it be cheeseburgers, barbecue chicken, ribs, steak or fish this will most definitely be a dream beer pairing. It is also a beer perfect for any Friday night pizza order. The crust will melt into this malty cream ale and the subtle sweetness will sink its teeth into even the spiciest of toppings. It is also a beer light enough to find itself at home with a salad of any variety but goes especially well with ones topped with chicken, cheese, croutons, and ranch dressing. Nevertheless, it should be noted that this is a light beer and that should be kept in mind with many pairings as it can quickly be overwhelmed by some heartier dishes.
The Final Word: The cream ale style is one that has seemingly been lost in the fold by many breweries during the craft beer boom with more popular styles such as IPA’s and barrel aged imperial stouts getting all the fanfare. However, when a brewery can brew a consistent, delicious and easy drinking cream ale it is proof positive they are a great brewery, and are quite confident in their brewing skills. The cream ale style is meant to be light without a lot of flavors to hide flaws behind. Hardywood has already been established as a world class brewery so it should be no surprise their cream ale is world class. The biggest issue is getting people to try this somewhat forgotten style, but if you do you will be rewarded with a beer that will quickly become a favorite and one that should always be on hand for any occasion!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Beer: Cream Ale
Style: Cream Ale
ABV: 4.40 %
Weekender Rating: WWWWV