Cisco Grey Lady Ale Review: A Beacon In The Fog

Cisco is the name of the USA’s largest, most widely-networked food purveyor to restaurants. So naturally the existence of a Cisco Brewing Company gave me pause. But, as luck would have it, the brewery has nothing to do with the purveyors but the name in common. Here is how Cisco Brewing of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts describe themselves:

Triple Eight, a sister company of Cisco Brewers, began in 1981 when Dean and Melissa Long founded the Nantucket Vineyard. During this time, Dean and Melissa tried to grow grapes for their soon to be wine, however they could not get them to grow. Their solution, to import grapes from the finest growers in California, Washington, and New York. Because they didn’t have to worry about growing their own grapes, they were able to focus on the production of their wine.Cisco Brewers was founded by Randy and Wendy Hudson. Wendy began to brew her own alcohol in California but in 1992 she met Randy. Wendy later bought Randy a home brewery kit. Randy, having a knowledgeable background in yeast and grain, had much success in his experiments with recipes. Randy and Wendy met up with Dean and Melissa and they ended up living with each other and working with each other.

Cisco Grey Lady Ale (4.5% ABV) is described by Cisco as “named for the often foggy island where it is brewed. This wheat beer is fermented with Belgian yeast and brewed with fresh fruit and spices. A unique ale that emits a complex, earthy nose and a soft, mid-palate maltiness with hints of tropical fruit. Dry and spicy.”

I am a pretty big fan of wheat beer, so this sounds promising. My one complaint is that the company does not specify this fresh fruit and spices with which this ale is brewed. That is pretty important information for craft beer aficionados. Let’s take a look (drink) at how the ale measures up to this tantalizing description.

Everything On Tap Review: Cisco Grey Lady Ale:

Bottle: The bottle is curvacious and thick, made of medium-dark brown glass. The label is, not surprisingly, grey, upon which is the image of a mermaid resting on the waves with a bottle of the beer in her hand. The lettering is black. It is also apparently available in a can.

Pour: The color is a pale, hazy gold. The head is very thin, less than one finger, and more of a foamy mousse than a thick, viscous head. It dissipates quickly.

Aroma: The attack is spicy and floral. The main elements of the bouquet are wheat, black and white peppercorn, coriander seed, citrus peel, lemon, flowers, and a lovely lush grassiness.

Flavor: The predominant flavor is a lovely bitter wheat. This is underpinned by flowers; green grass; black, green, and white peppercorns; coriander seeds; and citrus peel. The finish is tart, spicy, floral, citric, and coriandric (is that a word?).

Mouthfeel: The body is medium-light and a bit astringent. The carbonation is heavy, especially for a wheat ale, but I personally like that. However, I can understand why some wheat ale fans might find it too carbonated.

Structure: It would be nice to know more about the brewing process for this ale, whether it is filtered, and which fruit it is brewed with, in order to make a judgement on the structure. Without that information, I would say that it is relatively structurally stable and broad. The aromatic, gustatory, and tactile palates are all firm and pleasing. Even so, it is not an overwhelmingly-powerful, structured beer compared to other wheat ales I have had.

Food Pairing: This would go well with a fresh vegetable salad with a tart vinaigrette. It would work well with light, non-oily fish, or with bright, tart, hard cheeses.

Overall Rating Out Of 5 Possible Beer Mugs:

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