In honor of Labor Day, this month’s beer of choice is an award-winning, tasty, low-alcohol compensation that is perfect to enjoy after a hard day of work: Workman’s Compensation, brewed by the Lion Bridge Brewing Company of Cedar Rapids.
Lion Bridge classifies Workman’s Compensation as dark mild—a malty, low-alcohol style that originated in Britain. Lion Bridge brewer and co-owner Quinton McClain says he often describes the style and beer as a “lighter brown ale.” Its ABV may be a little lighter, but the flavor isn’t. It is, in fact, world class. Workman’s Compensation was awarded the gold medal in the English-Style Mild Ale category at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.
Workman’s Compensation is a root-beer-brown color with a ruby tint. A finger of light tan head leaves a skim and a ring around the edge. The head doesn’t last long, but a little foam will reform after swirling the glass. The smell is inviting, with scents of mellow roasted brown malt, chocolate, caramel, toffee, perhaps a little cherry licorice and hints of dark fruit and berries.
The mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and the flavor mostly mirrors the smell. The brown malt couples with the hops and leaves a lasting astringency that lingers on the taste buds. The brown malt also provides a foundation for flavors of toffee, chocolate reminiscent of cacao nibs and hop bitterness, while hints of dark fruit come and go.
Alcohol Content: 4.2 percent ABV.
Food Pairings: McClain says Workman’s Compensation can be paired with traditional English pub fare, like Scotch eggs. It pairs well with roasted meat dishes and dark meat like lamb. He said it is also a good complement for the poutine served at Lion Bridge, and many like to pair the beer with chocolaty desserts.
Where to Buy: Workman’s Compensation is only available on tap. In the Iowa City-Coralville area, it is served at Short’s Burger & Shine, Pullman Bar & Diner, Share Wine Lounge & Small Plate Bistro, The Mill, Stella, Trumpet Blossom Cafe, 30hop and occasionally at FilmScene. Naturally, it is also on tap at Lion Bridge (59 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids).
Price: Around $6 per pint.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 183