‘Keystone’ is good, but its no ‘Wise’

Keystone Ice

Coors Brewing Co. Golden, CO

5.9% ABV

Ah, Keystone – most of you who recognize the name do so out of a familiarity with the most publicized of the Keystone family, Keystone Light. And if I am going to personify the Keystone brand as a family (complete with three offspring, Keystone Light, Keystone and Keystone Ice) then Keystone Ice would inevitably land itself in the role of the brooding eldest. In truth, there is perhaps not much separating Ice from its two siblings aside from name, packaging, alcohol content and the fact that it touts itself as an ale (Light is, of course, a little lighter on the calories), but in the realm of cheap beer, and that is exactly where all three Keystone strains claim residence, Ice’s characteristics may be just enough to give it that little bit of novelty to raise it above the rest, at least in the instance of a moderately inquisitive evening.

The Wise ESB

Elysian Brewing Co. Inc. Seattle, WA

5.9% ALC, 39 IBU

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Well, to start, The Wise certainly lives up to its ESB (Extra Special Bitter) categorization. Even before the first swallow of this slightly cloudy, reddish ale, you can smell the hops, and if you’re experienced enough, you know what you’re in for. The Wise is definitely best enjoyed slowly. (I’m sure there’s a metaphor there.) The buildup of hops is so immediate that anything more than moderate mouthfuls may prompt one to simply put the beer down and walk away. But, at the right pace, this is a beer that will keep you coming back. The term “hurts so good” comes to mind, only think duller, more latent. This might be a beer to reserve for a full stomach. It is in no way a palette cleanser. Although, pairing The Wise, or any ESB, with something spicy could make for a pleasing combination (metaphor.).