Great story. Good name. Decent beer.
A Review of Ol’ Red Cease & Desist by Erie Brewing Company
Posted on 4/5/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
                   
Decent
I've stated before that I am sometimes a sucker for a great name, or label, or story behind a beer. I've also stated that this practice can be highly questionable at best. Buying a beer simply based on it's name or label or history is risky, but sometimes that is all we have to go on. No matter how much I wish it were the case, there aren't really any times where we can just see a beer on the shelf, have our interest peaked, and in turn be allowed to crack one open for sampling purposes. Most of the time, all we have is our eyes and what they see and read to help us make our decision. Such was the case when I came across Ol' Red Cease & Desist from Erie Brewing Company.

I'll admit that the name itself is what first caught my eye, but after whipping out my smartphone and pulling up some info on it, I couldn't walk out without having a pack of it in my hand. What had me hooked was the following that was available on the Erie Brewing Company website:

Erie Brewing presents the Beer formally known as Red Ryder BIG BEER - A beer dubiously awarded two cease and desist letters for its name. Ol' Red Cease and Desist brings more to the table than just a big malty flavor and climaxing warming sensation…a legal record! This beer so recognized and loved by many deserves a unique name to match its unique history. What better name than Ol' Red Cease and Desist – a name inspired by the long arm of the law!

How cool is that? There were actually two cease and desist letters issued for this beer specifically. Now tell me, could you have walked away from it after that?

Once I got it home, there was no delay in cracking one open. In the glass it had a clear, but dark reddish brown coloration with little head to speak of. The lack of head was most likely due to the 10.1%AVB that comes along with it. The initial aromas detected were very malty, and somewhat surprisingly fruity. Slightly overdone biscuits, roasted malts, and a caramel and toffee blend were the first things I was able to pick out with relative ease. Once I moved past them, a strange fruity layer greeted me. I don't say strange in a sense that what was there confused me, but more so that it was even there at all. I really don't expect a lot of fruity aromas in a Wee Heavy or Scotch Ale, but this one had some big pops of dark berries, plums and at times apples. At this point I was both confused and intrigued at the same time.

When I went in for the first taste, I was instantly greeted by a thick, malty, and bready flavor. It tasted more like dark crust than anything else in that department, but it was met with a sweetness from a caramel flavor that made for a really nice introduction. Brown sugar came through at times, but again that confusing fruity component kept making itself known. As odd as this may sound, the best way I can describe it is for you to try to imagine a freshly baked cherry pie. Got it? Ok, now think about taking a bite off of the outer most edge where the crust got just a tad toasted. That is what I kept getting in my mind. Tasty, but not what I was expecting by any means. No real hops presence was to be found, and the aftertaste remained malty and fruity with a relatively clean finish.

So when all was said and done, what did I take away from my time with Ol' Red Cease & Desist? Generally speaking, it was a confusing but tasty brew. Was it a good example of a wee heavy or scotch ale? Not really. That fruity component was a bit too distracting at times for it to qualify as a stylistic winner. But at the same time, it was that same fruit factor that made for a somehow overall tasty brew. I can't say that I would actively seek it out again, but I would definitely drink another if it managed to cross my path. And that would be my recommendation to all of you as well. Don't go looking for it, but it it somehow finds you, take it for a spin. The history behind it, along with its entertaining flavor train makes for a justifiable one bottle session at minimum.

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Ol Red Cease & Desist by Erie Brewing Company
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