Tasting Notes: Sho’nuff from Against the Grain Brewery

AtGShoNuff1000This week we look to find out who’s the baddest mofo low down around this town by going toe to toe, glow to glow with Sho’nuff from Against the Grain Brewery (Louisville, Kentucky).

If you have not figured it out by now, Sho’nuff – and this entire post for that matter – has been inspired by the flawless, classic 80’s film known simply as The Last Dragon.  Not only did the brewers at Against the Grain craft Sho’nuff to be “a low down Golden Ale”, but they also wanted this offering to pull double duty as a Belgian Table Bier.  Basically the inspiration behind what we now call Session Beers, the low ABV Table Beer is an easy-drinking but full-flavored brew that “is meant to be consumed with food but also [stand] well on its own.”

At 4.9% ABV, Sho’nuff is “the beer for bad mo-fo’s” that can mercilessly handle anything you throw at it.  Need a beer that can stand up to just about any food coming at you?  Sho’nuff has got you covered.  Need a brew to crush after a long day in the heat?  No problem.  Looking to make a few mistakes and wish to shotgun the Shogun?  Just follow the “Puncture Here” instructions clearly marked on the can and do some work.  Sure, you may have to deal with some attitude and kiss some Converse from time to time, but Sho’nuff is here for you on draft and in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans.  Look for this brew to be available at craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and throughout the rest of Against the Grain’s distribution area.

Alright, no more games.  Let’s face the Shogun and get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Sho’nuff from Against the Grain Brewery

Appearance:  Sho’nuff presents itself as a shimmering bronze-colored brew wearing a finger of bubbly, slightly off-white foam.  When held to the light, the beer gains vibrancy and glows with deep gold and orange hues.  The body is clear and displays a dutiful carbonation presence streaming within.  Head retention is decent, but the foam eventually recedes to a chunky ring that lays down gobs of lace from time to time.  Sho’nuff asks, “Am I the prettiest?”  And we emphatically answer, “Sho’nuff.”

Aroma: With all the bready notes kickin’ around in here, you’d think you just walked into Daddy Green’s Pizza.  This beer is just billowing with fresh-baked, crusty bread goodness.  It has a nice crackery quality to it, but tones of heartier grains push through at times. An underlying spicy rye character closes out the nose by adding a bit of complexity.

Taste:  Those bready aromas translate beautifully into the flavor.  Mostly biscuity, a lovely but restrained rye note surfaces to add just enough depth with added grain character and a touch of spice.  Only here for balance, the hops are light and lend further support to the rye’s spicy character.  The yeast plays a much bigger role here by reinforcing the bready notes and also adding some fruity notes of apple and pear.

Mouthfeel:  Sho’nuff is on the medium side of light in body with a moderate carbonation level.  This allows this brew to come across as much more substantial than it is.  At an easy-drinking 4.9% ABV, the beer hits the palate with a beautiful balance that tips ever so slightly toward the sweet side.  Aftertaste is minimal, but a little biscuity malt lingers.

Final Thoughts: A wise man once said that “those who are bound by desire see only that which can be held in their hands”, and that’s kind of a perfect way of looking at the Table Beer’s place in craft beer these days.  In a world where over-the-top ABVs, dank hoppiness, and extreme flavors reign supreme, the Table Beer has no desire to be more that what it is.  Subtly confident, this low-ABV style is here to supply beer lovers with an easy-drinking experience meant to be enjoyed with food or on its own.  Its seemingly-simplistic and complementary character is meant to bring out the beauty that exists in the meal/world surrounding it.  In doing so, it transcends trends and shows its own beauty by proving that complexity can exist in simplicity.  Having learned this lesson, Sho’Nuff does just that but with a Shogun of Harlem level of personality.  If you get this beer to the designated place at the designated time, it will gladly designate your ass with a proper Table Beer experience.  Playtime is over, kids.  Step up, open your mind, and learn for yourself who’s the master of the Table Beer.  Prost!

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