Wachusett Country Ale
Review Date 12/11/2009
What does it take to be the best selling ale in central Massachusetts? Ask the fine folks at Wachusett Brewing Company of Westminster. Their Wachusett Country Ale has earned just that sobriquet. That shouldn't surprise, either: this is a very accessible, easy drinking ale that should appeal to an array of beer drinkers outside the confines of beer geekdom. Though, of course, just how big a swath of central Massachusetts they're talking about isn't quite clear.
Country Ale has been around since 1994, and I can fondly recall sipping it while watching the Patriots play on a cool fall afternoon in Rhode Island. Today, a full fifteen years later, it still retains it's balance of delightful drinkability and satisfying flavor. Country Ale is brewed with Crystal and Two-Row Pale malts, and moderately hopped with Cascades, Clusters, and Willamettes. The bitterness is mild at only 17 IBUs, but the beer has an overall balance that I heartily enjoy. And it's 5.1% alcohol content by volume lends it to session drinking, too.
Stylistically, of course, this is a pale ale, and the brewery calls it "the balanced pale ale". I'm not sure what they mean by that, as any beer can be balanced as long as the hops and malts are employed to emerge with equal measure in the final analysis. Still, most breweries have a beer in this vein, one designed to appeal to a broad audience, sell briskly, and really pay the bills. A nice plus is the fact that you can buy Wachusett Country Ale in a convenient sampler twelve-pack for about thirteen bucks. you'll also get to try the IPA, Blueberry, and a seasonal brew.
Wachusett Country Ale pours to a bright orange amber color with a medium sized head formation and an enticing soft malty nose. The beer is well carbonated, and a steady stream of large bubbles flows from the bottom to top of my glass for some time after I pour. The palate is not overpowering but still has plenty of flavor, with a touch of biscuity malt mixed with a bit of chewy caramel. Fruity pear notes poke through the malt, and just a hint of herbal grassy hops balance the finish.
Again, this is a drinkable brew with good flavor, while at the same time not an overpowering one. If you're just starting out on the road of good brew, this one is a good first step. Great, too, with roast chicken, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables on a Sunday afternoon. And a football game or two wouldn't hurt, either.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.