(Originally appeared on the Tipsy Techie website in February of 2014. The beer was released again in February of 2015).
I scanned the shelves of the store, trying to decide where my tastes lay that evening, when the image of a human heart oozing blood and pierced by an arrow was thrust in front of my face. I jerked back and saw that the gruesome scene was painted on a bomber bottle. “My Bloody Valentine Ale” it said. I followed the arm that held the bottle and saw my wife grinning down at me. A mad gleam shone in her eyes.
“Isn’t it cool?!” she said.
How could I resist?
My Bloody Valentine Ale is a seasonal brew made by AleSmith Brewing Company out of San Diego. It is advertised as American red ale with an ABV of 6.66%. From my experience, red ales can be a bit of mixed bag, as the category is quite broad. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to experience when I cracked the bottle open.
As I poured the beer into a standard pint glass, the nose jumped up and declared, “Hi! I’m hoppy!” The floral aroma became even more pronounced as a nice beige head formed at the top of my glass. The color of the beer was a deep, ruby red.
“Nice!” I thought.
Enticed, I took a drink. The first impression was caramel sweet. The body was on the higher end of medium. Right when I thought the sweetness was going to tip the scales, in came the hops. The bitterness was strong and lingered into the aftertaste. When the citrus taste of the hops receded, a very slight sweetness remained on my tongue. There were zero traces of alcohol in the beer’s flavor. Given that 6.66% is just north of session beer range, I didn’t expect there to be and I wasn’t disappointed.
AleSmith wrote on the label that the beer should feature toast and chocolate notes in addition to the caramel. As I drank more of the pint, the bittersweet of chocolate began to appear. It was subtle, but noticeable. However I never detected any toasted flavors. From start to finish, the hops were the most prominent taste.
As more of the bottle was poured into my glass, and the beer in the glass neared the bottom, I felt a bit of sadness. If it wasn’t seasonal, My Bloody Valentine would definitely be a regular beer for me. However, being a lover of hops and caramel malts, the ale falls squarely within my wheelhouse. If you aren’t a hop fan, then this is a beer that you will want to avoid. The bitterness is on the high end of the American pale ale scale. But if you do love hops, My Bloody Valentine is quite drinkable, and I hope you’re able to try some. After all, I wouldn’t want this beer to pass you by and leave you broken hearted.