I’m very thankful to my friend Steve in Colorado who generously shipped me a few 6 packs of different beers from Colorado just in time for Christmas. I had my eye on Odell’s Isolation Ale ever since I first visited their website. One of the first things that stands out to me about this brewery is their artwork, both on the bottles and their website. Its enjoyable to look at. Every single label is pleasing to the eye. Artistic drawings and text make me want to drink their beers. Designers and marketing people take note, labels and artwork sell. A fine craft brew and a finely tuned artistic label = sales. I hate to judge a beer by the label, but the truth is most of America’s consumers do it, so if you can’t beat them, join them.

Isolation Ale is Odell’s winter offering. Available October through December. Its amber/copper in color and clear. A nice foamy head, and perfect carbonation to this ale. The initial taste is malty, and the mouthfeel is smooth. No bitter hop bite, but the website says this beer packs in 29 IBU’s. Thats just enough to make the hops known, but not to overtake the beer. I would say this beer is more malty than it is hoppy. But as beer drinkers often say, its well balanced. In my mind that is beer geek talk for GOOD. Perfect carbonation for this type of beer and some nice lacing down the glass as I happily drink this in the afternoon after a bout with the snow shovel and the 6+ inches of fluffy white snow the Chicago area has just received. I knew I would like this beer. Its easy enough to be able to drink it like an ale, but at 6.1% ABV I feel like I’ve just drank a beer, which for me, was the point. The only thing that would make it any better is if I could run to the store to grab some more. Unfotunately, this brewery does not distribute to my region so I will have to continue to rely on good friends and my fedex account to keep up with supply.

Isolation Ale makes me feel like all is well in my world on this cold and blustery winter day, and can’t wait to try the other selection, Odell’s 90 Shilling -their flagship beer. Do yourself a favor and check out their website www.odellbrewing.com and of course, their beers.

ABV: 6.0%

Grade: B+