Harlem Sugar Hill Golden Ale

September 30, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Harlem Brewing Co., Country: America, Grade: C-, Style: Blonde Ale.

4% ABV from a sixer

Who knew Harlem had a brewery?  I sure didn’t, and I live only 70 blocks from it.  Though it’s hardly a brewery as this is the lone beer they make.  Seems more like a homebrewer just had the gumption to get some slick labels printed up at Mail Boxes Etc. and then secured some minor local distribution.  And though the beer’s name is cool, and the labels are indeed cool, the beer is unfortunately marginal.

Harlem’s aforementioned brewmaster is Celeste Beatty, an African-American woman.  And being that I only know of one other black brewmaster (Brooklyn’s Garrett Oliver) and zero female brewmasters, I’m assuming Ms. Beatty is the only black female brewmaster in America.

I wanted to have some homtown pride, I wanted to support the little gal, and I’m notorious–like most white folks–for overrating Harlem stuff as Cotton Club, Apollo Theatre, Malcolm X-type cool, but unfortunately Sugar Hill has some problems.

It smells fine.  Mild hints of malt and grain.  I thought it might actually be good.  The taste is fine too, a decent little sweetness.  The problem is that it’s just so damn thin.  Amp these exact flavors up and produce a 6% beer and now we’d be talking, but as it stands now this is just beer-flavored water.  Why would a brewery make their one beer so meager?  I finished an entire six-pack in about 45 minutes and wasn’t anywhere close to drunk.  Though, I was already hungover.  Figure that one out.

Suggested motto:  “Harlem Brewing Company:  Beers that skip the most cherished step in drinking — getting drunk!”


2 Responses to “Harlem Sugar Hill Golden Ale”

  1. celeste says:

    Hey! Happy Holidays!

    Just want to thank you for trying Sugar Hill, we’ve come a long way since the days of homebrewing (I still do on occasion) to bottling our recipe. We still have a lot more to learn. We appreciate your feedback.


  2. Thanks for writing, Celeste. I look forward to trying some more of your stuff. And the best of luck in the future!

    Happy Holidays!

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