Instant Beer Review: Karben4 Undercover Session Ale

MAY I ASK YOU A QUESTION? You may, indeed.

WHAT IS THE BEER YOU ARE CURRENTLY PUTTING TO YOUR LIPS? Well, that’s funny you should ask. I am drinking the Karben4 Undercover Session Ale.

KARBEN4 IS A LOCAL OPERATION, CORRECT? Right you are. Well, local to Madison, WI at any rate. They have taken over Ale Asylum’s old facility on Madison’s North-East side of town.


HOW’S THAT PLACE? Meh. I’m here to see a show. I don’t make it in here too often.

WHAT’S THE BEER LIKE, YO? It’s a lighter-bodied English style brew that boasts a golden-amber color and a strong malt-forward nose.

‘NOSE?’ That’s what the beer smells like.

OH. Got it?

YUP. HOW DOES IT DRINK? It’s very, very malty without much in the way of any detectable hops to balance things out. To me, the malt profile is too much; I feel as though I’m drinking a loaf of aggressive rye bread.

BUT DRINKING BEER IS LIKE DRINKING LIQUID BREAD! It is, you are right. But I personally don’t care to drink beers that taste like biscuits that’ve been liquified in a blender like some sort of grain smoothy.

SO YOU HATE THE BEER? No, I don’t hate the beer. Hate is a strong word. Let’s not overreact, okay?

OKAY. That being said, I’m not crazy about it, either. Fans of thoroughly karben4malty beer will be very pleased with this selection, much in the way hop-heads go nuts for super hoppy IPAs, but I personally don’t think Karben4’s Undercover gives itself a fair shake at a balanced beer.

FINE THEN. WHAT’S THE ABV? A very sessiony 5.2%.

‘SESSIONY’ IS NOT A WORD. I do what I want. The English language is fucked anyhow.


FINAL THOUGHTS? For me, the Undercover Ale is thoroughly underwhelming, and I am in no rush to revisit this beer. But to each their own. All you people out there who are fans of chewy, malty beer, give this English ale a sip and let me know your thoughts. For my money, if I’m drinking anything from Karben4, I’m going to stick with their well-crafted NightCall Smoked Porter or the always solid SamuRye APA.