By Dave Faries

Drinks: Empyrean Chaco Canyon Ale


Chaco Canyon is perhaps the least intriguing of Empyrean’s lineup. It’s the light hitting shortstop or the tame top 40 song turned out by an edgy band.

Of course, mainstream beers often reach a broader market, especially when they approach with a bright, crisp aroma laced with familiar grain—as well as a juicy whiff of lemony citrus, which exists more as a presence than a distinct layer.

The Nebraska blonde ale would not offend the state’s mass-produced American lager fans, those who point habitually toward the Bud Light tap in a sea of craft names. Yet there’s a brisk, dry character that sets it far apart from the big brand crowd.

Light malt, straw and a touch of earth and honey greet the palate and quickly disperse, leaving a ring of bitter pine on the finish, the residue from domestic hops.

That’s about it when served cold—a plain, predictable, but neatly balanced ale. Warmth brings out a spicier tone and a tad more depth, which helps add even greater distance between this and most simple ales.

Chaco Canyon is the lightest, most common line produced by the Lincoln brewery. It’s a casual brew that will play a secondary role in any table conversation. It’s just a decent beer, in other words. So save it up for a warm afternoon when the bright, crisp character will fit nicely.


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