Ecliptic Brewing comes from one of the nation’s best beer cities - Portland, Oregon. The brewery, now nicknamed “The Mothership” was opened in 2013 by John Harris, who is an Oregon beer icon and has worked at places like Full Sail and Deschutes. After eight years of success, they opened a second location, The Moon Room, in southeast Portland.
You can find their brews in six states and two countries - Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina as well as in Japan and Canada.
Today I have one of their releases from their Moon Room Series - Altbier Ale.
Ecliptic’s Moon Room Series normally focuses on all things Lager. However, this is an Ale. The Altbier style comes from Düsseldorf, Germany and means “old beer” because it is traditionally brewed using the old ways. It is brewed at a moderate temperature before being matured at cooler temps, which gives this Ale a much more Lager-like flavor profile.
Ecliptic’s Altbier uses multiple malts, including Chocolate and Munich, Space yeast, and a trio of Noble hops - Hersbruck, Northern Brewer, and Tettnang. It has a solid 5.7% ABV and was $6 for a 16-ounce can.
Altbier poured a lovely copper color with about a finger and a half of tannish-white head. The foam fades down into a creamy ring around the edge of the glass, about a third of an inch thick, with very minimal lacing.
The aroma was quite biscuity and sweet. A massive wave of caramel and bread really dominates up front. There are some other, lighter, scents underneath; like that of toffee and some hop spice (mostly black pepper). But, overall, the beer is dominated by the bready and caramel sweetness.
Each tasting starts off with a rather creamier mouthfeel. However, the beer is light and very sessionable. Starting off the flavors are some notes of toffee and that breadiness, which is apparent throughout the entirety of the sip.
Those noble hops are rather hidden initially but do make a small appearance towards the midway and backend. Midway through, you get some of the spice and a slight grassy resin from the hops. But it is nothing too much and not nearly enough to overpower the dominant caramel notes. And then, on the backend, there is a slight twinge of bitterness which is very mild and very easily forgotten.
The brew ends rather cleanly. All that remains is a slight stickiness and some of that caramel sweetness. It’s insanely crushable. This is a damn good Altbier.
I’ll be honest, Altbiers have never been in my wheelhouse but this might have changed my opinion on them. It’s really good. My only complaint would be how sweet it is, as the caramel/toffee characteristics really dominate the flavors. But outside of that, it’s sessionable, tasty, and I couldn’t put it down.