Cavalry Brewing, Hatch Plug

Cavalry Brewing Co.
Grade: A

Cavalry is Connecticut's newest brewery, joining the likes of Hooker Brewing and the large number of brewpubs in the state. Mike McCreary is the owner and brewer, and decided to pursue his dream after the economy collapsed in 2008. He themes his brewery and his beers on his years of military experience, and crafts them in the style he learned while brewing in the UK and Scotland. Brewing English style beers might not sound very sexy (no Quadruple Imperial IPA?), but that's exactly why these beers are so good. They're unassuming, simple, well made, and generally drinkable. Americans can't really appreciate English beer, mostly because by the time the stuff from England gets to us, it's seen better days. Enter Calvary, producing authentic, delicious, and most importantly, fresh examples of English beer.

Pours absolutely crystal clear, with not much head that dissipates to a coating on the top of the beer. The color is light auburn, with reddish gold tones. Bready caramel comes up from the aroma, slightly sweet but with a grainy background. Some subtle fruit aromas are there as well, but take a back seat to the cereal-like grains. The flavor is full of bread, toast, biscuit, very light caramel and some very slight candy sweetness. There isn't much in the way of hop aroma or flavor, except for what I describe as a slight earthy/spicy note. The bitterness is there, keeping things dry and crisp and not overpowering the malts.

This is a very tasty beer, it reminds me a lot of some Scottish 80 Shillings and some more English style milds and bitters I've had before. It's got a great cereal flavor from the malts that manages not to be cloyingly sweet at all. This is very drinkable, and a nice departure from the classic pale ale that most startup breweries do. Being able to deliver big malt flavor, while balancing drinkability with lower alcohol is a difficult job to say the least. Cavalry is a very welcome addition to the Connecticut brewing scene.