Style: Red Ale
Serving Type: 22-ounce bottle
ABV: 5.2 percent
Malty? Hoppy? Malty
Reviewed: February 2014
Golden City Brewery owners Charlie and Janine Sturdavant started selling its flagship brew—the Legendary Red Ale—out their front door in 1993. Since then, their garage has been converted into a tasting room and their backyard into GCB’s patio. But more than 20 years later, this German ale hasn’t changed one bit. It’s actually a traditional Altbier (translation: “old beer”), a German-style red made famous by the Dusseldorf region. The Sturdavants have its malts, hops, and yeast imported from Germany, and even salt the water it’s brewed with to mimic the Dusseldorf’s water.
Its red ale labeling could be confusing for those looking for a traditional American amber ale. The Legendary is malt-forward with a pilsner grain base, and has far less complexities than the red or amber-style ales our American palette is accustomed to. Though Legendary is indeed an ale, and pours dark copper, it drinks more like a lager—a characteristic of Altbiers—with a controlled and subtle profile. It’s hint of bitterness balances and counteracts its malt flavor to make it a truly sessionable ale. The Legendary brings us back to basics, which is exactly why we like it.
Would we buy it again? We like to sip the Legendary Red Ale while relaxing on GCB's patio on a warm spring day.
Follow digital assistant editor Jerilyn Forsythe on Twitter at @jlforsyt.