Normally when I a do blind taste test; it is concealed under a mystery box, there are cameras in front of me with elaborate lights settings, and two other sweaty reviewers sitting next to me.
This was different. While visiting the soon-to-be opened Metropole Brewing Company, brewer and founder Mike Katrivanos poured me what will become one of Metropole's flagship beers. Mike hand me the beer and asked me to guess what it was. All he told me was that it was called 1821 Ale and contained a secret ingredient.
The color and clarity of the beer was very nice with good head retention as seen in the images.
It was a highly aromatic beer. Among the three beers Mike let me try, all three were quite aromatic and pleasant in their own rite. 1821 had a slight floral and some biscuit aromas on the nose; with a hint of clove (very mild). My initial suspicions were that it may be a belgian pale ale.
Upon my first sips, my taste buds alerted me to think that this beer was a belgian pale ale, however, it wasn't as clove heavy as they can be, and I noticed some subtle nuances with the beer that strayed me away from it; such as an ever so slight tinge of farmhouse ale characters. Mike wanted me to guess the secret ingredient he put in the beer, and I missed on all of my guesses. I thought for sure there was lemon verbena or zest in it. Nope. It was Greek Mountain Tea, or according to my shrewd wikipedia search, Sidertis; that has health benefits for suppressing a cold, digestion and strengthens the immune system.
All that aside, I am a fan of the beer. It is crisp, refreshing, yet is full bodied and never had a watered down taste to it like some lighter beers will become. Also of note, there was a faint candied orange flavor the came about has the beer warmed up.
I will not give a BBA rating to the beer since it wasn't entirely a blind taste test, but I will say this: I would buy this local beer to share with out-of-town visitors or keep a six pack in my fridge. I think this beer will pair well with mild to medium robust cheeses and even some herb fused cheese. Arrowwine carries an herb and olive oil soaked feta cheese for only $5 that I think would pair perfectly with this.