Review Date 9/25/2015
Anybody that lives in New England has probably been to a Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub. Growing up in Rhode Island, I was a frequent customer of this establishment, the home of good food in grand portions at great prices. Arriving in Andover, Massachusetts on a Sunday evening, I met with a friend and coworker who we’ll call Bob for a few beers and dinner at the local Ninety Nine Restaurant.
Of course, one always orders the beer before the food, and as we sat at the bar I was eying the Samuel Adams Octoberfest, always a good decision. Our bartender, however, sly gal she was, plied us with a couple of samples of Horseshoe Ale, brewed especially for the Ninety Nine restaurants chain by Wachusett Brewing in Massachusetts. She reeled us in hook, line, and sinker and we each ordered a mug.
Here’s how the Ninety Nine folks describe Horseshoe Ale in a press release from the spring of 2015 when the beer was rolled out:
Horseshoe Ale is brewed exclusively for the Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub by Wachusett Brewing Company and is a high-quality American Pale Ale that will be served at an exceptional value. Wachusett tested a few varieties of the American Pale Ale to get it perfect for the Ninety Nine guests.
This ale was selected by Ninety Nine Restaurant guests for its smooth, refreshing and complex craft beer made with over 12 high-quality ingredients featuring Citra, Centennial and Cascade Hops.
I’m not sure I’d call this an American Pale Ale myself as it lacked the hoppy oomph that style is known for. That’s not to say that the beer doesn’t have hop character; it surely does. Just more in line with a standard pale ale in my opinion. Horseshoe Ale has been brewed before for the Ninety Nine by Mill City in Lowell, though they’ve been out of business for some years. It has an alcohol content of 5% by volume and I paid $4.50 for a pint (it might have been a bit more than that)
My mug of Ninety Nine Restaurants Horseshoe Ale arrived a beautiful deep amber color with a moderate head of creamy foam and a soft caramel malt nose laced with a hint of citric hops. Taking a sip, the beer has a firm, clean light caramel maltiness up front followed by a subtle Cascade hop presence, with a bit of resin and citrus hop aroma in the palate and finish. A balancing bitterness won’t offend newcomers to craft beer but kept this discerning beer enthusiast happy.
Clearly, Horseshoe Ale is meant to be accessible and flavorful at the same time. It was a great match to the lobster roll I enjoyed here, and I’m glad our bartender recommended it. She was great all around, and when I ordered up a pint of that Samuel Adams Octoberfest next she accidentally gave me a 22-ounce glass instead, and let me keep the glass too. But I digress. Would I buy the Horseshoe Ale again? To be honest, that would depend on what beers were on tap, but at the price there’s a strong possibility that I would. Good old Bob liked it too, so there you have it my friends. Two opinions for the price of one on this one.
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.