Little Kings Original Cream Ale (Schoenling)

Don’t let Little Kings Cream Ale’s tiny bottles fool you. Even though they’re packed in bottles half the size you’re used to, they pack just as much flavor. Cream Ale is one of the truly original American beer styles. Popular in the northeast part of the country, Cream Ale is basically an ale version of the popular pale lagers (light beers) that dominate retail shelves. And on a side note, Sam Adams actually bottles Little Kings after Hudepohl-Schoenling does the brewing.

Price: 8-pack of 7 oz. bottles, $8.49. I was at first excited by the thought of getting two extra beers in the case. So when I got home and realized the beer was in little midget bottles, I felt a little gypped. However, if you do your beer-math you’ll find that the Little Kings 8-pack doesn’t cost anymore than your typical craft beer 4-pack when all is said and done.

Alcohol Content: 5.5% alcohol by volume

Color/Appearance: Little Kings Cream Ale pours a light golden straw color. It’s probably only a slightly darker hue of gold than your typical light beer. A fizzy white head puffs up fast but dissipates to a thin layer of small bubbles even faster. The remaining bubbles left a respectable amount of lacing down the glass.

Aroma: Little Kings smells of sweet grains and cream corn. There are a little grassy hops. But I can’t quite put my finger on the variety. I also pick up on the slightest of metallic scent. Perhaps a little skunking from being stored in green bottles.

Bitterness: I’d say Little Kings Original Cream Ale is more sweet than bitter. But it packs a much hoppier bitter burst than it’s pale lager light beer counterparts.

Taste & Food Pairing: Little Kings is similar on the tongue as it is on the nose. It has a malty sweet start followed by an even sweeter corn flavor with a slight grassy hop bite. But the sweetness comes back around in a big way at the end. It almost reminds of a cider going down, but not as fruity. I was surprised that the skunkiness wasn’t repeated on the tongue. The bottles do look very well protected in their tall cardboard carton. Overall it is a very light and drinkable beer.

Given the mini size of Little Kings, I felt it was only appropriate to pair it with an appetizer. Little Kings were the perfect companion to tortilla chips and salsa. The maltier and lighter nature of the beer helped to extinguish and wash down any heat from the hot salsa.

Overall: I’m always on the lookout for the perfect beer to convert domestic beer drinkers into craft beer lovers. I think I found a new for the top of the list. Cream Ales are so similar to your typical light beer, yet pack so much more flavor. I found myself wishing the bottles were much larger though. Give it a shot next time you’re looking for something new.

© Kelly Podzemny. All rights reserved.