Tattered Flag (Middleton, PA.) El Rey Dorado
Date: Sept. 27 , 2018
The Story–Tattered Flag is in an unlikely brewery town – Middleton is a small Pennsylvania town, but unlike most of the towns that cradle small craft breweries, there’s not much of a historic district and no evident place to stay after you’ve drunk the Flag dry.
Drinking the Flag dry is a challenge, too, because they have a still that produces spirits that our friends tell us rival their beers. We wouldn’t know. We have one liver each and we’ve dedicated each to beer and ale.
Tattered Flag is worth a visit, though, even if you pass on the spirits. The brewery is below ground but a big viewing area lets you know you’re drinking in the brewery. It can get crowded, but a large space upstairs takes the overflow at busy times — you’ll find a seat.
We think of the the El Dorado Hop featured in today’s beer as a newbie, but it’s been around for almost a decade. It’s well-suited for a single hop beer in that brewers use it for both bittering and flavor. It has enough breadth of flavors so it doesn’t have to be matched with other hops to create good complexity. When it is used in conjunction with other hops it tend to accentuate tropical flavors, but we thought that Tattered Flag’s version showed lots more of interest.
The Beer–A nice El Dorado showcase in a skillful IPA – Tropical, yes, but so much more: earth and pine, some spice, and lots of ripe citrus. This one finishes with yeast and hop bitter. The balance invites a return and happily, the 5.7% ABV allows it.
Value — Very good. American brewers understand IPAs and even though single hopped beers are a bit chancy, Tattered Flag wins the lottery on this one.
COMING UP – For the next few days, we’ll feature more great American beers. Later, we’ll return to HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE 2018– Surprisingly good beer in “bad beer cities.” The best we’ve found in researching our next book – a guide to great beer in European tourist cities. (Planned publication 2019.)
About these posts: We taste and evaluate over a thousand beers every year. The beers posted here rank in the top quarter of those tastings. Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.