May 6, 2015

Three Notch’d Brewing Hydraulion Red

The Irish Red or red-style ale is not my favorite genre of beer, but given that this particular brew comes from a fairly local (Charlottesville, VA) brewery, I had to try it out. Three Notch’d Brewing’s Hydraulion Red is named for the former (and sole) fire engine first employed by the University of Virginia back in 1828. I may not prefer this style, but I can get behind the history of the moniker.

Weighing in at 5.3% ABV and 22 IBU, Hydraulion Red is actually a pretty solid beer. Despite my every effort to not enjoy it, I did, a little. The beer is brewed with Warrior and Goldings hop varieties, as well as 2-Row, Caramalts and Crystal in the malt bill. The combination results in a beer that has that tell-tale red flavor and readiness accompanied by a welcome hint of citrusy fruits.


A frothy, rocky head of beige foam caps the rusty copper brew.

Three Notch'd Brewing Hydraulion Red photo


Overall, the aroma is pretty subtle with hints of bready malt, caramel and a touch of citrus.


Hydraulion Red is definitely a red ale, but it doesn’t carry as much pettiness as some examples (which I am cool with). The bready malt backbone has good caramel and a medium sweetness that lingers through the clean, satisfying finish. There’s just a trace of a tingle on the tongue from the hop blend. The medium bodied brew goes down smoothly.


Three Notch’d Hydraulion Red isn’t a beer that I personally would seek out, but if handed one, I certainly wouldn’t turn it down. There’s nothing at all wrong with the brew — hell, it won a bronze medal at last year’s GABF. I’m just not a huge fan of the style. That said, I would heartedly recommend this to friends that do enjoy their Irish Reds.

Rating: 3.5/5

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