429. Argus Brewery – California Steam

Argus Brewing - California SteamI was just in Champaign, Illinois at Destihl, having a Vertex IPA.  When I called my friend Fred (head brewer at Destihl) to ask what to have, he asked me if I could pick something up from there and bring it back to him in Normal, IL.  I delivered it to him and we stopped for a quick beer at Medici in Normal.  I was scanning the list for something I haven’t had yet, and with it being a fairly hot day, I thought I’d go for this one.  It’s my first beer from this Chicago brewery.

Location: On tap and served in a standard pint glass at Medici in Normal, Illinois.

Numbers: 5.4% ABV, ~ 175 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It was very clear and dark amber-copper colored.  It had a decent sized, off-white, creamy head on it, which left some lacing on the glass.  There was almost no aroma, only a very light bready smell, which I couldn’t tell if it was coming from the beer or the restaurant kitchen.

Taste & Feel: The body was light-medium, and the mouthfeel was was slightly crisp.  There were some lightly sweet, toasty caramel malt flavors up front, followed by a little bit of light fruitiness and earthy-woody hop bitterness.  The hop bitterness picked up a bit in the slightly dry finish, and lasted for a brief time in the aftertaste.

Food Pairing: The ligtht flavors and crispness of this beer make it a nice palate cleanser for bigger, hearty, flavorful meals, such as thick burgers and steaks.  However, it would also go with something lighter, and the lightly toasty, fruity, earthy flavors would bring out the breadiness in a brick oven pizza, shepards pie, or even a Philly cheesesteak.

Overall Impression: At first glance, this beer had a very nice appearance, as it was very clear and had a nice head.  When I took a drink, I enjoyed the toasty sweetness of the malt.  When the fruitiness and hopiness came in, it made it a bit more complex, yet still crisp and refreshing.  I enjoyed the hoppiness, but I thought the hop flavors was slightly more pronounced than other steam beers I’ve had.  Overall, I thought it was pretty drinkable and had a good mix of flavors.

My Rating: ★★★½☆

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