Review: 14th Star Brewing Co. | 1493 Pale Ale

Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. [It] often presents itself initially as symptoms of malaise and lethargy, followed by formation of spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from the mucous membranes. Spots are most abundant on the thighs and legs, and a person with the ailment looks pale, feels depressed, and is partially immobilized. As scurvy advances, there can be open, suppurating wounds, loss of teeth, jaundice, fever, neuropathy and death.[1]

DOES THIS SOUND LIKE YOU?
ARE YOU PRONE TO GOING ON LONG TRIPS OUT TO SEA WITH LITTLE TO NO SENSIBLE FOOD RATIONS?

ARE YOU INTO EXPLORING UNCHARTED TERRITORIES?

HAVE YOU HAD NO HUMAN INTERACTION WITHIN THE PAST 6-8 MONTHS?

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FRIDAY NIGHT?

…If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, I’m a little

confused

and strangely

turned on,

but have I a solution:

Drink this beer.

1493 is not only a year popularized by journalist Charles Mann, but is also one of 14th Star Brewing’s original beers. It’s an American Pale Ale brewed with an annoying amount of citrus fruits. It’s got grapefruit; it’s got orange; hell, it’s got lemon. If the title of the beer weren’t cheeky enough, it’s brewed with the uniquely European component, coriander, and wait for it—Columbus hops.

                Oh God,

                Oh God,

                Oh Crap,

                Oh God,

                Is that a hernia?

                Nope, no, no—that’s just a massive eye roll.

                Ok, so it’s got a fun, quirky name, but the brilliant thing about this beer is that its creator, head brewer and army vet Steve Gagner, was literally inspired to make this beer while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory.[2]

What?

 

                I can see it now, underwear, Cheetos, late night beer craving. It’s gold, it’s magical.

                IT’S FUCKING AMERICA.

                Like the peaceable good tidings of the Europeans, this beer boasts promise a rich bouquet of pine, honey and orange zest; its aroma, luxurious. It offers, however, a small pox blanket of awkward dryness that I assume is from the coriander—it has a sort of odd spicy quality to it. Then comes a wave of grapefruit, ending with an ambiguous bitterness.

                Columbian Exchange is a bitch.

Hmm… Well,

maybe it’s not so bad.

                Maybe, like a fine display of cultural diffusion, my tastes have assimilated (?)

to the….

fantastic fantasy… of blahdeeblahdeeblah.

                OK, so, cut the pseudo-intellectual bullshit and get real.

                14th Star is a nascent brew project and this was one of their oldest recipes. Really, it’s quite good. It’s not perfect—it’s got a quirkiness that challenges convention. Their beers are quite distinct—most definitely unlike most I’ve had. There’s a uncanny salinity and subtle bitterness to each sip akin to the taste left in your mouth when one of your attractive friends wonders why you’re single, because “OH, you are such a catch!” Bah!

                So basically, this beer turns you into Duckie from Pretty In Pink, then?

                Nah, nah, fuck that.

I don’t know, the more I drink it, the more I can appreciate it. It has this strange astringency remarkably reminiscent of a good gin. While it’s not something I typically look for in a pale ale, it’s definitely not something that ruins or even defies the style, really. It’s very drinkable. It doesn’t have a sluggish, filling effect that some more carbonated pale ales can have, and I appreciate that.

Hey, it’s from a modest nano-brewery based in Vermont and, as a Vermonter, I salute this endeavor. Does it sway my opinion of the beer?

Probably—

but

I’m willing to admit it could be a tad sweeter in a way that the coriander could balance out the flavor. I’m willing to admit it could even be hoppier. Nevertheless, It is, in fact, a thoroughly enjoyable and original beer that’s audacious enough to keep me interest in what this St. Albans based brewery is going to do next.

*7.8 out of 10*

[1] Wikipedia, a valuable and reputable source for every and all things. Fuck you.

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2 comments

  1. Steve Gagner

    And we thought 1493 was cheeky and original…. Then I saw this review. Haha.

    Great review and I appreciate the honesty. If you’ve got any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Thanks for giving us a try and know that we strive to keep improving each and every beer. Cheers.

    • jcp0

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for reading! I’m honored. You guys do fabulous work, and I am always psyched for your new brews. I look forward to drinking more of and writing more about your beers. As a homebrewer myself, I too always appreciate comments and criticisms. Keep up the good work, and cheers!

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