This spring the Redhook Ale Brewery is rolling out Slim Chance Light Ale, billed as "the only craft light ale available nationally." Understand all those qualifiers?
Give Redhook credit for seeing a niche: The beer market probably has room for a light ale (most light brews are lagers). Oddly enough Slim Chance, which is "brewed in the blonde-style," is extremely lager-like: golden and crisp with only fleeting glimpses of the sweet or fruity characteristics one would expect from a brew flaunting its ale-itude. Undertones of fruits such as apple give way to butter, breadiness and a finish reminiscent of a number of macro-brewery light lagers.
With a name like Slim Chance, Redhook clearly isn't targeting the savviest of suds sippers and instead is skewing -- or, given the design, "surfing" -- straight towards the middle of the market. Though nothing is wrong with this beer it's not a standout, making it feel more like a ploy than an earnest attempt at crafting a better light beer. Plus at 125 calories Slim Chance is at the upper end of the low-calorie spectrum, so diehard dieters will probably head elsewhere.
Light craft beers are tough to tackle. Redhook's latest offering is no exception. But what's most disappointing is the brewery's inability to deliver anything interesting. Mostly, Slim Chance tastes like missed opportunity.