This installment of Tasting Notes provides us with a little mid-week beverage break supplied by Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia) and its newly released Front Row Golden Ale.
Debuting this month as Starr Hill’s newest Year-Round offering, Front Row is a light and refreshing Golden Ale that finds “the perfect balance of hop bitterness and a honey-like malt body.” Coming in at a sessionable 4.9% ABV and 20 IBUs, this accessible ale promises to keep you in the front row when “savoring life’s moments in-person and sharing the experience with others.” Front Row Golden Ale is available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution area.
Now that all that background information is out of the way, I do believe it is time to grab a few glasses, find a bottle opener and get into some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Front Row Golden Ale from Starr Hill Brewery
Appearance: Front Row fills the glass with a honey-hued golden colored brew that is topped with a perfect finger of bright white head. The beer is pristine in clarity and displays countless single file lines of carbonation streaming the length of the pour to feed the top cap. As dutiful as that carbonation presence is, the head does dissipate down to a chunky ring that leaves behind sticky sheets of lace whenever the glass is jostled.
Aroma: A clean Pilsner presence greets the nose first with honey-filled, biscuity tones. The malt character picks up some light caramel notes before the hops stealthily balance things out with a lovely floral presence that is laced with a tinge of citrus.
Taste: Pils malt takes the lead again by laying down a firm base that is biscuity and lightly bready. A light layer of caramel and a dollop of honey then work their way in to round off the malt profile. The hops easily glide in to restrain that sweetness with a balancing presence of ruby red grapefruit and floral tones.
Mouthfeel: Although it is light in body with a moderate carbonation level, this beer still establishes itself with a little weight and texture (no doubt thanks to the added oats). The balance is on point, never tipping one way or the other toward sweet or hoppy. This level of balance keeps the experience super refreshing and easy drinking. The ABV is light and it never really efforts to make its presence known. Overall, this beer cleans up nicely and quickly, but there is just a wisp of honey left behind in the aftertaste from time to time.
Final Thoughts: All in all, Front Row achieves exactly what it set out to do: be an accessible, easy-drinking brew that can go anywhere and pair well with any moment. Although it is accessible and balanced, the Cascade hops have just enough presence to give the beer a likable personality and add dimension to that light malt foundation supported by biscuity, caramel and honey notes. It is non-distracting while still remaining memorable . . . it is coy. It is an experience that just works in a seemingly effortless manner, and the aptly named Front Row is here to join you front and center whenever you are out enjoying all that means most in life. Prost!