Beer Review 0256: Sixpoint Sweet Action Cream Ale

Before we get into today’s review, I’d like to take a moment to salute the Mad Scientists over at Sixpoint — the brewery, located in Brooklyn, New York, was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. As of this writing, production is still stopped and the cleanup continues. We surely hope they get back on their feet very soon. Buy some Sixpoint if you can get it.

Here we are with another beer from Sixpoint Brewery, and unfortunately, it is my last, as they don’t distribute here in North Carolina, and I picked up several of their beers on a recent trip to Virginia.

Sixpoint was founded in 2004, but they say the company was actually born at the dawn of civilization, when grains were first being harvested to make fermented beverages. Sixpoint says beer is culture, and we’re down with that, and have a great appreciation for that mindset.

Sixpoint began in an 800 square foot garage at the hands of college classmates Shane Welch and Andrew Bronstein. Andrew, native to Brooklyn, provided the cash needed to start up the brewery, while Shane, an avid homebrewer, came up with the recipes. The Sixpoint logo is a combination of the brewer’s hexagram and the nautical star.

Relatively new to distribution, Sixpoint once only kegged beer and filled growlers — they started canning (all their beers come in cans) in June 2011. Sweet Action is part of their core (year-round) lineup, and it’s kind of a hybrid beer — a cross between a Pale Ale, a Wheat Ale, and a Cream Ale. Confused? I know I am. But they say it’s all “Sweet Action.”

This beer comes in at 5.2% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 34 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). Since we can only describe it by saying it’s part this or that, the only thing left to do is put this sucker in a glass and try it.

Pouring produced an average size head that was frothy/foamy/fizzy in texture, and lasting. The beer was golden when held to a light, but more creamsicle orange out of brightness, and had a slightly hazy body. It was free of particles and sediment, and left behind some nice lacing with thin, creamy sheets.

The most interesting thing about the aromatics of Sweet Action was that you could detect more scents by placing your nose higher above the glass than directly into the glass. But even with that, the scents are a bit subdued, with a nice ground layer of grapefruit rind and pine hops, blended lightly with bread and grainy notes that verged on the scent of rye. These classic beer aromas were topped off with a musty yeast, which I thought, when coupled with the malt, lent a touch of a medicinal aroma. Overall, quite clean and a bit too subtle — I didn’t dig it, but didn’t completely dislike the nose, either.

On the taste, this is a wild beer. There were light hop flavors initially; specifically grapefruit and lemon, which was followed by a sharp hit of grainy malt. The finish brought on a sweet cream soda flavor that was counterbalanced with a mild bitterness of some dark, slightly resinous pine. Sweet Action was light in body and thin in mouthfeel, with a gritty texture thanks to the average carbonation.

What we have here is a complex beer that is exceptionally drinkable. I feel quite confident in telling you, dear reader, that there is nothing else out there like Sweet Action as of this writing — it is a true hybrid. Now, whether you will like this hybrid depends on how you like your beer. If you like a nice balance between sweet and bitter, and enjoy a creamy twist, then you might want to give a can of this a try, because it’s pretty sweet, indeed.

Sixpoint Sweet Action Cream Ale, 87 points. Price: $2.95 for one sixteen ounce can.

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