Summit's Horizon Red Ale: hoppy, fruity, smooth


Summit Founder Mark Stutrud discusses the finer points of the brewery's new Horizon Red Ale.

"A 9 a.m. beer tasting? Can that be right?," I wondered. And 9 a.m. it was. Breakfast followed by beer isn't all that bad, actually, especially if it's a subtle, smooth brew. Enter Summit's new Horizon Red Ale.

It's the first beer the St. Paul brewery has released since 2006's ESB, and it's gonna be a hit. It even has a pleasant aftertaste, fer chrissakes. Tamer than the brewery's IPA, yet still assertive enough to puff up its chest a little bit, it's the type of beer you could hang on to all night: dangerous.

You can taste Horizon's hops (it is made with four) right away, but the other flavors quickly assert themselves and spread out. It's complex -- sweet and bitter at the same time -- yet also mild enough to be permanently palatable.

It seemed a little less carbonated than most beers, and therefore, even with all the hops, has a bit less bite than other hoppy beers. Summit Founder Mark Stutrud says the brewery developed Horizon -- an amber/IPA hybrid -- in response to consumers' evolving palates and the desire for something more more hoppy and aggressive. The "red" in the name derives from the beer's coloring.

"[It's] a piece that's a little bit missing, Stutrud says.

The beer started rolling down the brewery's production line just this morning -- a swift conversion of naked brown bottles to tidily shrinkwrapped cases on pallets. It goes on sale April 20, a few days earlier at select bars (check here for a listing). It will be available year-round.