Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rohrbach Highland Lager

On first glance, you wouldn't peg Rochester as a place to find great seafood.  Sure, we have Lake Ontario on our doorstep, but pollution issues have caused severe restrictions to be placed on the consumption of fish from the lake (roughly speaking, you can probably eat about 1oz of fish every 1,000 years).  However, there are a couple of shining examples out there, and Henrietta's Crab Shack is one of them.  It's in the old Bazil location on East Henrietta Road, owned and operated by the same family, but with an emphasis on high-quality seafood - particularly shellfish.  I've been here a couple of times and am always impressed by the freshness of their food (shipped in from Boston every morning) and the atmosphere they create.

But why am I writing about seafood on Upstate Brews?  This was supposed to be about beer!  I mention it only because I went for a drink after work with some friends there today, and enjoyed a lovely couple of jars of Highland Lager along with some crab legs and nachos. 

Rohrbach's is one of my favourite breweries in the Rochester area - they make a good range of craft beers, all of which I thoroughly enjoy drinking - and they also have a tap room and restaurant in Gates, which I've promised myself I'll visit one of these days.  Their brewery site, in downtown Rochester, is right by the Public Market and they do offer tours on Saturdays if you're interested in how ale is made.  I'll try to get my hands on some of their Pumpkin Ale, but I may have missed the boat on this as it's already November...

Their Highland Lager is a subtle brew, with a gentle aroma of malt and a dark gold colour.  Drinking this beer on tap certainly has its advantages - the effervescence of the last couple of beers I've tried was noticeably absent this time around, leaving a very smooth texture.

Like the last lager I tried, this beer had a pretty light body, which makes it a great drink to have with snacks - you don't want an overpowering hoppy taste interfering with the lovely shrimp and crab legs.  It has a pleasantly malty aftertaste, with a sweetness behind it which is very welcome.

It's a good pick for a place like the Crab Shack, as it won't overpower the subtle flavour of seafood but it has enough body to also stand on its own.  If you want a beer with more hoppy 'oomph', Rohrbach's can certainly cater to your needs in that department too - and I'll be glad to review their other varieties in the near future.

3.5 out of 5.

PS I think the Crab Shack should really invest in some Oyster Stout.  Thoughts?

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