Arch Amber Ale

Hartford Better Beer Co. Arch Amber Ale
1 12 oz bottle, $3.75, ?% ABV

Purchased at The Spigot, Hartford

Back in my, ahem, overarching review of HHBC’s Arch IPA I highlighted my review with the noun definitions of the word “arch.” It’s not as boring as that sounds. In fact, it was so exciting that I’m going to do it again with the Arch Amber Ale; albeit with the word’s verb definitions.

And that sort of makes sense since I found the amber to be a much better beer than the watery and boring IPA. You should know that I love IPAs and am ambivalent towards the milder ambers. In HHBC world, however, the amber has more flavor and body than the IPA. Go figure.

Also in my IPA review (and the HHBC main page) I lambasted the company’s website, which I won’t do again here. I think the owner lives in West Hartford with me… I hope he’s nice.

Arch (ärch) verb, transitive

1. To provide with an arch: arch a passageway.

I used up a LOT of arch imagery in the IPA review. So continuing this silly “definitions” tact is proving a bit difficult… But I’m me, and I can stretch a literary idea as far as anyone. Don’t despair.

I’ve read a lot of beer reviews that mention how a particular beer provides a bridge, or an archway for craft beer neophytes, to better and bolder beers. I think this is often a nice way of saying, “This beer lacks strong character and flavor, so give it to your wife who may find it a bit better than her Corona Light.”

(Whereas I happened to use that descriptor for the New England Brewing Company’s 668 which is neither weak nor mediocre. It’s fantastic… further proof you shouldn’t take my beer reviews too seriously.)

While this beer is contract brewed by Shipyard Brewing up in Maine, I guess you’d still tentatively call it a craft brewed beer. I wouldn’t, but you may. And as such, it does provide a decent bridge or archway to better more distinct beers.

The amber has flavor and its upfront sweetness isn’t cloying or annoying. I actually liked it.

2. To cause to form an arch or similar curve.

I’ve got nothing here. Sorry.

3. To bend backward: The dancers alternately arched and hunched their backs.

I find that move in ballet so weird and unattractive. You know, the one where they do exactly what the definition says while scurrying around on the points of their toes? I’m sure it’s supposed to be some sort of animalistic visualization or something, but it freaks me out.

I drank my Arch Amber during another pathetic Philadelphia Eagles game at the Spigot, in Hartford’s West End. With each successive Mike Vick fumble and interception, I probably alternately arched and hunched my whole body.

4. To span: “the rude bridge that arched the flood” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

I sort of already talked about “arch” as “to span” but I failed to bring up ol’ Emerson. Silly me. Because as everyone knows, Emerson once wrote, “God made yeast, as well as dough, and loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation.” Would he have loved the Arch Amber? Probably, since beer back in the day was probably pretty awful.

Hartford Better Beer Company says:

They say a lot, actually. Including, “ Terrific balanced beer designed for versatility and every-day application. Mild and clean to perform on its own, with just enough body and backbone to accompany and stand up to spicy foods, meats and seafood. Tastes great as an icy “beer-sicle” straight from the bottle or in a chilled glass – even
better when acclimated to 45 to 50F cellar temperature where the malt flavors, hop balance and creamy head really stand out.”

Emerson would never have used the term “beer-sicle” though; of that I’m sure. My Amber was probably around 40 degrees and like I’ve said, it was prett good. Now I’m not sure if that’s because I’m comparing it to the other HBBC beer I’ve had or if it’s a fair review.

But I’ll move on.

Overall Rating: C+
Rating vs. Similar style:C-

Beer Advocate’s Reviews of the Arch Amber Ale
Hartford Better Beer Company
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