Third Shift and Redd’s Apple Ale
By: Sean Creevey
New to the national beer scene are two brews that will leave your palate feeling excited about the future. Launched early this year, Third Shift Amber Lager and Redd’s Apple Ale both capitalize on current industry trends; Third shift following the trend toward decidedly quaffable yet flavorful beers, and Redd’s being a fruit-flavored option with somewhat sweeter flavors. Both are unique, yet approachable additions to the ever-evolving MillerCoors portfolio.
When you have a passion for something, working for it is pleasurable. I’m talking about not working for a paycheck, not working to make someone else happy, I’m talking about coming home from your 9-5 and starting your labor of love, your third shift. That is what Third shift is all about, that’s what it came from, that’s what it’s for, getting your hands dirty and loving every minute of it.
Originally starting as a side project by some of the most respected brewers throughout MillerCoors they were just having some fun, working their third shift. They would get home from brewing all day at the brewery and then work on their own recipe. Eventually they would enter their baby into some competitions and people actually liked it, which coming from professional brewers really shouldn’t be that surprising. Nonetheless, they entered it into a couple other competitions with even more success. Next thing you know the brew was launched nationally and it’s still booming.
The goal of Third Shift is to have a beer that acts as a gateway into the craft beer world. This is a great function to those who aren’t beer nerds and never heard of a nitro stout or gets scared by the word saison. Third Shift is an approachable craft beer. It’s not something crazy, not a one-off, but it’s vaguely familiar and different enough to conjure up some curiosity as to what else is out there.
Third Shift is technically a marzen or Oktoberfest (they’re essentially the same) that pours an amber color with a nice frothy white head. Thus, in layman’s terms, it’s an amber lager, but don’t be fooled: this is not the amber lager you’ve grown up with (no adjuncts here). Some have even gone as far as to call it a Vienna lager; however, with my privileged information, I can assure this is not the case. A Vienna lager technically needs to be made with Vienna malt, and Third Shift does not have that. What it does have is two-row Pale and Munich malts as well as Taurus and Spalt Select hops which yields a brew at 5.3% ABV and 21 IBUs.
Referred to as a gateway brew, you might think a lager is an interesting choice for such a function. Lagers aren’t exactly known for their fancy flavors, and most craft beers are ales. Luckily the brewers that brought you Third Shift have something in the works for 2014. So keep your eyes and ears open for the next Third Shift.
Redd’s Apple Ale:
Blurring the lines between a cider and a beer is Redd’s apple ale. Released only this past January it has been a hit with everyone. It should be made perfectly clear, however, that this is beer, definitively, and not cider. This means that, unlike cider, Redd’s is not gluten free, so don’t mistake it for apple cider. Cider is essentially fermented apple juice, whereas Redd’s is actually an ale with apple flavoring added to it. Due to alcoholic classification and taxation laws there is zero fermentable sugars coming from the forbidden fruit; that would necessitate a cider classification. However, there is still plenty of apple flavor going on in this brew. Don’t let this intimidate you if you usually shy away from fruity beverages. Redd’s is not your average alcoholic apple beverage: it smells like an apple, tastes like an apple, but feels like an ale.
Redd’s is a brew that transcends typical types of beer drinkers since it has such a range of characteristics. There are elements of beer, malt beverages and ciders alike that effectively open up the brew to a much larger audience. Redd’s is certainly sweeter than most beers, but it’s well balanced with the tartness by use of a Pale malt base and Galena hops. Weighing in at 5% ABV you can stand to have a couple of these, and the refreshing crispness of the apple flavor just makes this sweet brew slide down. With Redd’s you won’t have to worry about pleasing all of your guests; it works for every taste for every occasion.
Keeping with the fruit theme, Redd’s will also be releasing a new brew in the fall. This time it’ll be strawberries that are added to the mix; a Redd’s ale with a bit of strawberry. Stay tuned for more details to come. If it’s anything like the original Redd’s you won’t want to miss it!