What's better than a nice, happy beer on a cold, windy Sunday? Four nice, happy beers! I braved the elements (and the terrible drivers) and headed to Quarter Celtic (1100 San Mateo NE) to take my taste buds on a tour of their best brews. The main room was big and bright and boasted an impressive brewing setup that was visible from the bar, and the fella working the drafts was very welcoming and knowledgeable. I wanted to try everything, especially their Quarter Porter, which they were unfortunately out of (sad face). So I settled for a lovely flight of beer samples which came to me on a nifty little metal glass holder.
Beer number one was a 7.25% ABV IPA called the Mor-Buck. Right away, I picked up on the flavor profile. With its robust smell of cat pee (but weirdly not in a bad way) and appropriate light golden color, it was easy to see that the hops were strong with this one. Comparable to Le Cumbre's Elevated IPA, the Mor-Buck is a full-flavored beverage that starts off bitter with a whisper of bright citrus tones and finishes clean, without that strong hoppy aftertaste.
After a palette cleanser, it was on to beer number two: a 6% ABV red ale called the Crimson Lass. Where the Mor-Buck was loud and clearly defined, this one was quiet and unassuming. It smells like nothing, which can be confusing to the tastes since the olfactory element is missing. And while the carbonation in most reds can vary, this beer felt almost flat to me. The easiest way to describe the Crimson Lass is that it's beer. Nothing too special here, though I feel like it did have potential. If you like really good red ales that someone watered down, this is the drink for you. I do have to say, that as it warmed to room temperature more of the flavors came to the foreground, and I was able to taste the slightly sweet and malty flavors that were tucked in there.
Beer number three definitely redeemed things for me. The Rye't Side of Dublin, a 6.5% ABV rye ale, was similar to their Mor-Buck IPA but with an earthy spice to it rather than a citrus highlight. Paired with some delicious spicy nachos, it was easy to pick up the clean malt characteristics and savor the almost peppery taste that defines a lot of rye beers.
Despite my love for strong pale ales and rich stouts, beer number four, the 5% ABV Knotted Blonde, was my clear favorite of the day. It was bright and clean, like drinking sunshine, and the wheat flavors weren't too overwhelming. It was a slightly sweet, easy-to-drink glass of goodness that I definitely wished I had more than a small sample of.
The strong Mor-Buck IPA and the happy, smooth Knotted Blonde give me high hopes for Quarter Celtic and more than made up for the slightly disappointing Crimson Lass. I would definitely spend another gray Sunday sitting at their bar—and I still have to try their porter!