The Brewery: Huss Brewing Company
The Stats: 4.7% ABV; 16 IBU
Huss Brewing Company is the brainchild of Jeff Huss and his wife, Leah, both local beer industry veterans. Jeff was formerly head brewer for BJ's Brewery of Chandler and is a Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology graduate. Leah Huss graduated from Scottsdale Culinary Institute with a degree in culinary arts and has been the managing partner at Papago Brewing Co. in Scottsdale since 2001. Together, they have more than 25 years experience in the craft beer industry.
Scottsdale Blonde, a Kolsch-style ale, is a very popular year-round offering and perhaps Huss Brewing's most accessible beer. It's a simply constructed brew that drinks easy and refreshing, giving it appeal to those just stepping into the craft-beer world. The fact that it holds true to the traditional Germanic kolsch style of brewing also gives it some cred with beer aficionados.
Kolsch-style beers originated in Cologne, Germany, and are considered to be "hybrid" beers. A hybrid beer has characteristics of both an ale and lager, which gives most kolsch beers some complexity. Kolsches are fermented at ale temperatures, then lagered (stored cold) to give them time to build character and brilliant clarity. Kolsch beers are made predominantly of light base malt, usually pilsner malt, and typically just enough hops to balance. The grainy pilsner malt provides flavors of white-bread crust without having a lot of residual sweetness left over in the finish. Scottsdale Blonde is brewed to 16 IBU, so its bitterness is on the light side, giving the malt sweetness a little more prominence while still allowing the beer to finish clean.
Gold in color, very clear, Scottsdale Blonde provides moderate noble hop flavor that tastes spicy and somewhat floral — though hops are more noticeable in the flavor than in the bitterness. Some light pleasant alcohol is perceptible, though not distracting. For comparison's sake, the beer is less hoppy than a pilsner and drinks similar to a Helles lager, except with a hint of pleasant mineral character likely provided by the kolsch yeast.
Kolsches are best enjoyed in a stange glass, a tall thin cylindrical glass that showcases the beer's beautiful appearance and lasting head.
If you're going camping, boating, or tubing this summer, Scottsdale Blonde is an excellent choice for any of these activities, especially because it is packaged in cans. This beer is available at most fine beer stores and many grocery stores such as Fry's and Sprouts. This one was purchased at Total Wine Gilbert, where it is available in both single cans and six packs.
Check out the Huss Brewing Company website for more information.