“Amber ale” is often synonymous with “safe to give to your brew-newbie friend.” It’s not that they’re necessarily dull or bland so much as they’re stocked with familiar, unimposing flavor profiles. The Aztec Brewing Amber does an excellent job of walking that line but knows exactly how far to deviate from it.
The Aztec Amber Ale is a bit of a sleeper hit, winning gold and silver for their breweries in the previous International Beer Festivals. I can’t remember hearing much about it prior, but rest assured, I’ll be remembering it this time.
The brew has mild aromas of celery, flowers and bread. The first sip is sticky and full, with notes of cherry, red pepper, bread, flowers, grass and a notable hint of awesome. It has just enough of a hop bite that I don’t feel the style has been redefined or betrayed but definitely sets it apart from most other ambers.
The finish is surprisingly dank. It really lingers with far more horsepower than most ambers do, but it never punishes. It’s easy to see why this one has won awards year over year.