norhawowl.jpg?w=640Right Brain Brewery – Traverse City Michigan, USA 5.8% ABV

Right Brain Brewery out of Traverse City, Michigan is definitely one of the better breweries in the Great Lakes Region. At 10 years of age, Right Brain Brewery has an impressive variety of beer styles to choose from, with a focus on Ales, IPAs and Stouts. All of their beers have creative names, and visually stunning artwork to accompany the packaged product. All of these things makes Right Brain Brewery a brewery that’s easy to love.

A recent trip to one of my favorite stores in Grand Rapids, MI brought me face to face with Northern Hawk Owl Amber Ale. The hand drawn rendering of a cartoon greenish colored owl hawk wearing a yellow flight helmet against the red background on the 4 pack box staring out at me from the cooler shelf proved irresistible. A nice amber ale sounded like a good match to the shrimp, mushrooms, and polenta that I had compiled into my grocery cart.

The ale itself is a nice, solid amber ale. The reddish color is pleasant to look at in the glass. The flavor holds some nice, mildly caramel notes of malty sweetness. It was very reminiscent of a Newcastle Brown Ale in some respects, with a brief scent of a nice sour note just beneath the surface.

Hawk Owl is part of Right Brain's year round offerings, which makes sense given that Hawk Owl's maltiness would be satisfying on cold and grey winter days, while its clean finish, with minimal sweetness, would not be overwhelming in the sweltering humidity of the midwest's summers.

Northern Hawk Amber Ale is a very drinkable beer that pairs well with food, but is also an excellent standalone beer in its own right.