Since they opened their doors in 1988, Odell Brewing has become not only one of the biggest breweries in the state, but also one that has garnered a lot of national attention. But through all the awards and expansion one thing has remained consistent with this brewery and that is their small range of distribution. This allows the brewery to focus on quality, and keep their beers fresh and unfiltered to reach the customer with high standards of quality. In 2014, their distribution added Texas to the list creating 11 states you can find Odell in, and to celebrate a new beer had to brewed for the occasion.
The result is Footprint Ale, a limited release ale that brings together an ingredient from each state Odell is available at into one harmonious beer. The ingredients are complex and include hops and barley from Colorado and Idaho, wheat from Kansas, wild rice from Minnesota, corn from Nebraska, wheat from Wyoming, barley and honey from South Dakota, green chilies from New Mexico, prickly pear juice from Arizona, grapefruit juice from Texas, and the use of oak barrels from Missouri. The end result was a beer worthy of tasting notes after only a sample.
After ordering a pour at the Odell tap room, Footprint was served in a tulip glass, and had a great appearance to it. The beer had a rich golden color with a slightly hazy and unfiltered appearance. This was capped off with a bright white head that faded away quickly leading to a very unique and complex aroma. While this beer had one bold aroma it was full of subtleties from the several unique ingredients that made up this one of a kind ale. The wheat and barley created a light but bold aroma, and the other ingredients contributed as well. There were bright citrus notes from the grapefruit and prickly pear and it was all rounded out with a hint of oak. With an aroma so distinct it raised the question on how it would carry through to the flavor.
After one sip of this beer there were a few things that were immediately evident. The carbonation level was low, this was a full flavored and complex ale, and for a lighter colored ale this had a medium to full body. The lower level of carbonation combined with the ingredients created a creamy mouth feel, and an immediate richness that is not often seen in beers with wheat in them. The use of honey only helped to enhance the body and mouth feel created. The malt flavor was prominent on first sip with a more subtle and hidden hop note, but that was only one of the many flavors in this beer that came out at various times with each sip.
With so many powerful ingredients one would think that this beer would be overpowering, but it is the total opposite. Each ingredient added complexities and depth of flavor to the beer to make it more well rounded. The Arizona prickly pear adds a brightness and hint of tartness that helps to cut through the full body. The Texas grapefruit added a citrus note and a bitterness to balance out the sweetness. Last the New Mexico green chilies added only a hint of spice, but also a pure natural flavor. This was all rounded out with the oak aging from Missouri. While no flavor dominated this beer, each ingredient came through even if for a brief taste. The aftertaste was just as unique as the beer, with a slight lingering taste but not enough to deter the drinker from taking another sip.
Overall this beer was easily 4 out of 5. To combine so many ingredients into a balanced beer only goes to show the high quality and high standards Odell puts into every batch. While it is difficult to categorize it into a single style it fits many. American strong ale, wheat ale, fruit beer, and harvest ale can all be used to label Footprint. No matter how you look at it though it is a great beer full of flavor, balance, and unique ingredients that is a great celebration of the states where Odell is available. While it is only around for a limited time it is worth trying, one that you are sure to enjoy no matter what style of beer you prefer, and one you will definitely want to raise a glass to.
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