Many modern beer drinkers have lost the lust for simply made beers, but Milwaukee Brewing Co.’s Outboard cream ale is a beer capable of restoring the faith. It’s a beer so simply excellent that it barely requires elaboration beyond that. Yet, I will try to break down what makes Outboard one of the most effortless pleasures a beer drinker can enjoy.
From the first pour, you can tell Outboard is a classic. You might call this “straw yellow” on your BJCP scoresheet, but in more emotional terms, it’s an amulet. This is a precious gold. It’s not as clear as you might expect for such a clean ale, but the haziness in the body helps sell the color.
Outboard exhibits the noble Czech Saaz hop proudly. Earthy, hay-like scents spill out of the can. It’s irresistible. The second it gets in your nose, you want to drink it down.
Outboard is a pint of calm in a very tumultuous beer scene.”
The knock against cream ales is that they gleefully employ corn in the mash. Shameful to some, verboten to others, this adjunct grain is actually delightful when properly used, and Outboard uses it just right. The spicy Bravo hops hold the corn’s sweetness at bay, making for a sharper-than-average cream ale that hits the perfect balance between familiar and fun.
How does this beer have a 39 rating on RateBeer? Is it simply that the words “cream ale” are printed on the can? Outboard is a pint of calm in a very tumultuous beer scene. One can will transport you to a moment of simplicity and happiness. Bare feet on a fall dock. A sweater that you can’t bear to donate because of the smell.