Archive for the 'Pale Ale' category
It’s Friday, so on my way home from work I hit up a local better beer store and picked up some goodies. One of those goodies is by an unknown brewery to me, Maine Beer Company. Seems the brewery, read from the beer’s label, was started by two homebrewing brothers and seems quite environmentally conscious (wind power usage, used grain donations, 1% all sales to environmental non-profits, etc). Lets see how their Peeper Ale is.
A nice one inch stark white head sits atop the beer’s hazy amber body with pine needles, pear, and mint greeting my nose. It’s an interesting aromatic combination that is surprisingly enticing. Medium body, shuffling ever so close to the “creamy” side of things, on the tongue with a big hit of mint that turns musty on my first gulp. As the head recedes to a thin covering, a pale malt aroma makes an appearance. Along with the mint, which gets kicked down a bit on subsequent sips, I’m noticing a nice water cracker malt note and a finishing of yeast. I am also getting some orange citrus notes as the beer warms. The beer is only slightly bitter, with tastes mixing very well together. As the beer comes to an end intricate lacing is left running down my glass.
Overall a very good first beer for Maine Beer Company. I was a little worried with the original aroma combination, but the beer worked well. A well crafted, enjoyable (it went way to quick) American Pale Ale. I look forward to their future creations.
Harpoon recently added a Pale Ale to their UFO line of beers. The past couple of new Harpoon beers have missed their mark with me, so lets see if this UFO Pale Ale serves as redemption.
The beer poured a hazy golden-orange in my pint glass. On close inspection I could see the haze producing small debris just hanging in the beer’s body. The white head stayed around a couple minutes, but went very thin afterwards. There were only sparsely spaced columns of bubbles along the glass walls. The nose was a pleasant mix of hop with grass, lemon, and citrus emanating from the beer. In the mouth the beer was light on the tongue, but not in the taste. On the tip of the tongue the beer began with a taste of lemon grass. Progressing mid-tongue the beer displayed a pale malt flavoring. The pale malt provided a good counter balance to the beer’s bitter-lemon finish. Though strong in lemon, the lemon never seemed artificial, like with the Crystal Wheat, and was an enjoyable hoppy-lemon flavor. This lemon also provided the beer’s aftertaste, which was lemon and slightly grassy in flavor.
Overall I found the beer pretty good. It was light and crisp, but provided a fare amount of flavor. I found the lemon a bit much towards the end of the session, but that is my only knock against the beer.
2nd up this month from the Beer of the Month Club is another odd brewery. This one is the Florida Beer Company – not that odd, per se, but I’ve never heard of ‘em. Regardless, we got our hands on their pale ale, so we’ll see how they do with it.
This beer pours a medium clear golden color with lots of carbonation and a fairly persistent white head. The aroma is super malty, but with a light malt that is crisp and stark on the nose. In the mouth, this is a pretty typical pale ale. There is some light sweetness on the tip of the tongue, followed by some grainy straw-like flavors through the middle of the mouth, finally ending with a brief biscuity blast at the aftertaste that sticks around for some time. There is a light hop profile here, but the big contributor is the malt, and it evolves considerably through the mouth. In fact, this is a pretty decent pale ale. I could do with a bit more hop for my personal taste, but the fact that the malt is so flexible and takes on so many forms in this beer makes it a rather interesting beer. Definitely worth a try if you find this available…
I’m a pretty big fan of hybrid style beers. I mean, there’s a plethora of beer styles out there, and they’re different enough that it’s hard for them to become stale. However, it’s always fun to see hybrid styles out there, and in this case to see a different region’s take on a particular style. This particular beer is a Belgian take on a pale ale which is (I know people are going to disagree with this) a style that America has made mainstream. Belgian takes on any beer usually turn out interesting, and Weyerbacher generally makes great beers, so I’m psyched.
This beer pours a deep golden with some rosy tints to it. It’s quite clear, looking very lovely sitting under the light. The head here is dense and white, but generally very thin. In the nose, there is a ton of yeast here. Yeast, candi sugar, light malt – generally a good smelling beer, but nearly on par with a Belgian tripel style ale. In the mouth, this certainly is a Belgian. The yeast is predominant, tasting sweet and lively on the tongue. In addition, there is a light and lightly-sweet malt flavor, very little (but noticeable) hop, and some alcohol-y sweetness. And, let’s not forget some decent spice and fruit notes laying around in the back. Frankly, this is just barely a pale ale to me. It tastes more like a hybrid pale/tripel ale. That being said, I liked it. It’s tasty and refreshing, though it is a wee bit syrupy for a summer brew – but, hey, that just means the flavor sticks with you. In my opinion, Weyerbacher has nailed it again – tasty, tasty beer…
Beer of the Month Club is at it again! This month they sent a lot of beer to be excited about – all good genres and breweries that we’ve never seen before here at SevenPack central. Time permitting, I’ll hope to review all 4 of this month’s offerings over the next few days.
The first this month is a pale ale that isn’t into the whole brevity thing – the Joseph James Brewing Company “Tahoe Blue” Nevada Pale Ale. This ale is brewed out of, you guessed it, Nevada. It pours an exceptionally dark and stormy dark golden that is borderline brown, full of dense debris and stirring up a fairly dense cream-colored head. In the nose, there is a definite sweetness to this that has a yeasty tone to it. It is fairly pungent, shows a decent malt profile, but doesn’t actually demonstrate much hop bite at all, which is a bit odd for a pale ale that looks this ballsy. In the mouth, this beer is musty and malty. The mouthfeel here is thick, owing to the dense appearance of the beer. There is a fairly light malt flavor that coats the tongue and, surprisingly, a good blast of hop that hits around the middle of the tongue and doesn’t stop until well into the aftertaste. The hop isn’t extremely floral, but doesn’t stick to the more metallic english hop flavor, either. Rather, it seems to be a decent hybrid of the two – fresh, but with a musty bitterness that plays well with the big mouthfeel of this beer. Overall, it’s a decent pale ale. Frankly, it doesn’t look that pretty, and I think I liked it a bit more before I ever saw it. But, be that as it is, it’s pretty tasty – an ugly stepchild with a surprisingly good personality, if you will…
Next up from our latest shipment from the Beer of the Month Club is a ‘South American Pale Ale’ from Eisenbahn. Now, I’m not really sure what makes a pale ale ‘South American’ other than the fact that it is brewed in South America, but I’m anxious to drink it regardless.
This beer pours a mildly cloudy deep golden color that is a pleasure to look at. The head is rocky and white, and dissipates slowly over the course of a few minutes. In the nose, this is a nice combination of sweet malt and mildly bitter hop, with a bit more of the latter. In the mouth, this is a fairly typical pale ale, but very appetizing. The malt is rich but just a bit tangy, and creates a backbone that travels with the beer all the way through the mouth. However, around the middle of the mouth, some metallic hop rears it’s head, giving an interesting bittersweet taste that quickly morphs into a slightly more floral sweet taste around the back of the mouth. The aftertaste retains much of the tangy sweetness of the malt with some lingering bitterness that mostly resides at the roof of the back of the mouth. All in all, I like this a lot. It is a bit more flavorful than an average pale ale, mostly due to some increased hoppiness and the interesting twinge I’m getting from the malt. So, whatever makes this South American, I like. It’s tasty, refreshing, and I’d have no trouble making this a serious session beer. I’m looking forward to tasting the other Eisenbahn beer that Matty reviewed yesterday…
Next on our roster from the Beer of the Month Club is something from Uinta Brewery. I’ve had a generally good experience with these guys, despite the fact that I’ve only had a couple of their beers. This one is a pale ale – a fairly straightforward genre with much potential for success – so I’m hoping for a good showing!
The Anglers Pale pours a deep ruby-golden color with a thin but very persistent off-white head that sticks heavily to the sides of the glass. The aroma here is fabulous – it’s robust and sticky and full of fresh floral hops. The hop presence here is exceptional for a pale ale, and more akin to something I’d expect to find in an IPA. In the mouth, I’m instantly sold on this beer. It isn’t a typical pale ale in that hops are present here in much higher quantities, and they’re great floral and fresh hops – delicious. It also isn’t an IPA, as there are more pronounced deeper malt flavors, almost akin to a light amber. Finally, even though there is a lot of flavor here, the beer is rather light and doesn’t weigh heavily on the palate or belly. These characteristics work together to make a beer that is extraordinarily flavorful but washes away clean and refreshing. Apparently this was made to appeal to the outdoorsy sportsman crowd, and I think it has accomplished this goal – nothing sounds much nicer than a cooler full of this stuff and a nice day of fly fishing out on the river. However, if you’re more inclined to sit on the couch, I think you’ll still love this beer. I really wish I could buy this here in NC – I certainly would.
This beer, along with a Corsendonk glass, was a Christmas gift from this past year. We sampled the beer a while back, but I never got around to posting my thoughts about it. Before I get to the beer however, let me say the glass itself is quite cool. What makes this glass stick out is the Corsendonk emblem on the glass’s stem. None of my other glasses have this feature, and it really adds a nice touch. Though glassware is important, what is more important is the beer that goes in it. Lets see how this one turns out.
Poured a big, pillowy head that stayed around for minutes. The head was kept aloft by a column of bubbles emanating from the dead bottom-center of the glass. Peering at this column through the beer’s hazy-golden-copper body proved to be quite captivating.
The aromas were typical for a Belgian pale ale. Yeast, lemon and cracked white pepper all made their presence known. Nothing demanding about the beer’s nose, but still inviting. These aromas provided a nice backing for the beer’s tastes. Though the lemon aroma seemed to get lost in the shuffle, two new tastes stepped up to take its place. There was a slight buttery-ness in the middle of the mouth, and a banana taste made a showing in the beer’s finish. Couple these with yeast, and light peppery spice, and you have an enjoyable and slightly complex beer. One thing that threw me for a slight loop was the beer’s thickness. By no means did the beer qualify as “syrupy” or anything close, but it was definitely thicker then I thought it would be. This made the beer quite smooth, and allowed the tastes to stick around for a little bit, instead of washing completely clean at the beer’s end.
Overall a refreshing, enjoyable brew, with a great piece of glassware.
Sometimes you have a party, and you wake up the next day to find out that all of your good beer is gone and all you have left are 4 cases of Busch Light, Natural Light, Bud Select, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. It’s a lukewarm reception, indeed, and only truly welcome if it’s a heavy sporting season. Lucky for us, March Madness is right around the corner, so I think cheap domestic beers will find a happy home here in our corner of Durham.
However, I do happen to have a few bombers of good beer that I’ve been meaning to drink and review, so I reckon I’ll dig into those coffers tonight and save the PBR for a later date. Today, I’m trying out the Bear Republic XP Pale Ale. I’ve never been a huge fan of Bear Republic, if only because I can’t often get my hands on their stuff. However, I recently found myself a couple of nights in the Flying Saucer where the Red Rocket Old Ale found great favor with me. So, it is with that good taste in my mouth that I’m anxiously trying out the XP.
This brew pours a deep golden color with some evident debris and quite a lot of carbonation. This carbonation contributes to a thick white head that eventually subsides into a paper thin coating over the surface of the beer. The aroma here is super malty, full of sweet biscuit flavors that are quite appealing. And, that’s about it for the aroma – there are very light bits of hop apparent here, but it’s mostly just bread. In the mouth, the carbonation initially stings the tongue a bit, but not in a bad way. Subsequently, the huge malt profile of this beer shines through, providing lots of tasty sweetbread flavors and coating the tongue front to back. Down the throat, the beer continues to tingle a bit as it leaves a decent coating all over the mouth – a rather big mouthfeel, indeed, and an aftertaste that is especially resilient. And, really, that’s about it – it’s a big pale ale with huge malt flavors that nearly eliminate the hop content. That being said, it’s really quite good. If you like pale ales and you’re a fan of malt, then you’re sure to like this beer. I can find nothing here not to like…
Somehow, this brew has managed to elude review here on SevenPack, despite the fact that I like to drink it often. Fortunately, I recognized this discrepancy today whilst enjoying said brew and watching some football playoffs (now sans-Panthers. Good job, guys. Seriously).
The Stone Pale pours a deep golden hue with substantial cloudiness and a fairly thick white head. The aroma here is fairly full of malt. It is rich and bready, and combines with an underlying floral malt to provide a fabulous scent that is very well-rounded. In the mouth, this beer tastes about like it smells. The predominant sensation is a big and sticky mouthfeel full of rich sweetbread flavors. As the beer slides down the tongue, the hop begins to present itself in a pretty big way. Most of the hop is that fresh floral variety that is hallmark of Stone beers. However, there is a decent amount of bitterness here, as well – it helps to balance the beer, but doesn’t really compete with the maltiness. In the aftertaste, a more metallic hop bitterness seeps up into the nasal cavity, while the malty coating of the beer remains all around the tongue and walls of the mouth, allowing the flavors to stick around for quite some time. This beer, along with the standard Stone IPA, makes for some of the best general drinking you can find in these categories. And, while the cost is a BIT high, it’s not what I’d call prohibitive, so go on out and pick up a couple six-packs for the big day of sports today…
Now here’s one I bet most of you clowns haven’t seen around too much – The Liquor Mart 40th Anniversary brew from Avery Brewing Company. In case you don’t know (and I wouldn’t expect you to), Liquor Mart is one of the better beer stores in the Boulder, Colorado region where Avery is located. I’m wagering that these folks know each other, and so Avery decided to hook ‘em up with a nice anniversary brew. I personally picked up this bomber at the Avery Brewery tasting room for a steal of $3. I intend to do a nice write-up of Avery as well as the myriad other breweries I visited during the last weekend – it was truly a beer-tasting weekend of epic proportions.
This brew pours a deep golden color with definite hints of ruby. The beer seems especially effervescent and has one of the ‘pillowy-est’ heads I’ve seen on a brew in a while. It fluffs right up in the glass, whether you like it or not, and it stays thick and fluffy for minutes after the pour. In the nose, there are tons of malt and yeast on this beer, which isn’t a big surprise for the Belgian pale category. The yeast is pungent and reminiscent of what you might get in a big Belgian witbier. The malt is light but fairly rich, giving this a rather big nose for a pale ale, altogether. In the mouth, this is certainly a bigger and higher quality beer than you’d expect from a bottle with a “Liquor Mart” logo on the front. For me, the predominant flavor, front to back, is of yeast. I like this yeasty goodness, although some may not be wild about it – it’s sweet and a bit wild, and still reminiscent of a strong Belgian wit. However, this beer gains some richness and a fuller mouthfeel from the malt contribution. It is full and even a little sticky moving through the mouth, giving the tongue and walls of the mouth a nice coating. In addition to these two BIG flavor contributions, there are some interesting hints of orange zest and a decent hop profile that hits about the middle of the tongue and squats there even through the aftertaste. Overall, this is a really good beer – positively exceptional for a $3 bomber. Actually, this beer is pretty unique, too, for something in the pale ale category. The combination of that Belgian yeast and the rich malt, along with the orange zest, give this a big, refreshing and unique flavor. In short, it’s a pity that this won’t find its way out of Colorado. It’s a great beer, and quite a pat on the back for Avery to make something so tasty for a local liquor store…
It’s my 3rd date with Odell’s – this time they’re treating me (okay, well, I picked up the tab, but hopefully the beer will be a treat) to their flagship pale ale.
The 5 Barrel pours about as beautiful as any pale ale I’ve seen. It’s a medium and almost luminescent golden color that is just slightly hazy and has a lovely ruby in the hue that only comes out deep in the center of the beer, giving just a light redness to the golden that seems to emanate from the heart of the beer. On top of this is a fluffy, thick white head that, while starting thick, slowly fizzles down, leaving it’s mark all down the sides of the glass as it dissipates. The scent of this beer is fairly sweet for a pale ale, being full of light malt. There isn’t a lot of hoppiness to the aroma, but there are definite floral hints that most obviously come from the hop oils, and it adds to the balance. In the mouth, there is an initial carbonation burn on the tongue that shocks the tastebuds a bit and seems to overtake any flavor complement. However, as soon as this burn subsides, we’re immediately hit with a light hoppy bitterness. This is joined by a malt complement that is richer than I would’ve expected, given the aroma. The malt is rich and full and, when combined with what is a rather full mouthfeel, gives this beer a great richness. The malt never loses its pizzazz, and the hops seem to dance around it through the mouth, starting bitter and becoming more floral and fresh towards the back of the mouth, eventually ending with an aftertaste that is lightly bitter with hints of caramel. Again, the full mouthfeel sticks around, making this a bit syrupy around the tongue and walls of the mouth. This certainly isn’t my favorite of my Odell’s offerings so far, but it’s very good. It is much bigger and richer than a Sierra Nevada, and in some respects it almost becomes a hoppy amber ale. However, Odell’s also makes an amber ale all it’s own. So, perhaps I’d better try it out before trying to rename Odell’s brews. Again, a quality beer from this new (to me) brewery – can’t wait to try some more…
You know what’s tasty? Alaskan Pale Ale. This is going to be an abridged review because, frankly, there isn’t a whole lot to write about this beer that hasn’t already been said about great pale ales. It pours a light and effervescent pale golden color with a medium white head. It smells of light malt with some hints of that floral Northwest hop that I love so much. In the mouth, the beer isn’t that flavorful – it certainly won’t make the ‘extreme beer’ category. But, honestly, that’s the great thing about it. The flavor is subtle and refined and just plain tasty. The malt lends a mildly sweet canvas that coats the tongue. Mild amounts of fresh hop ride that sweet slide all the way to the back of the mouth, balancing the brew and giving it just enough punch to let you know that you’re drinking a real beer. The aftertaste is floral but subtle, the beer washing quite clean and leaving a crisp and refreshed sensation. Basically, a simple and tasty beer. I’d say this is a bit more laid back than even a Sierra Nevada, but a bit more pleasant and palatable. A far cry from the smoky intensity of the Smoked Porter that Alaskan is known for, and I’m impressed by the breadth that this offering displays…
Leading off this month’s BOMC selections is the Moerlein OTR. There are a few seasonal (in this case holiday) beers in the pack but this seems to be one of those beers that can be enjoyed all the year round. It’s a pale ale brewed to German Purity Law standards in Cincinnati, OH. I don’t typically include websites in my reviews but this one is to be pretty cool. It’s very interactive and very easy to navigate. Give it a look-see when you have a moment at www.christianmoerlein.com
This beer looks kinda syrupy as this copper liquid falls into the glass. There is little head retention but a small amount of foam remains at the top. This beer has a heavy hop aroma with little malt presence. The hops cross over into the taste as piney flavors attack the palate. There are toasted, ashy flavors that finish the earthy notes but they aren’t players in the personality of the overall taste. The hops take center stage and the aforementioned flavors merely carry it through the back of the mouth. This beer has a full bodied mouthfeel at the front, then cleans at the back of the throat leaving a simple metallic tinge. Suffice to say this is a well-balanced pale ale and one I am grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy.
Moving from Nova Scotia to Mount Desert Island Maine, I continue my travel beer reviews. Mount Desert Island is an amazing place. Not only is Acadia National Park located there, with its fantastic trail network, but it also has two breweries (Bar Harbor Brewing Company and Atlantic Brewing Company), a brew pub (Jack Russel’s Brew Pub), and a winery (Bar Harbor Cellars Winery). Not bad for the “6th largest island in the continental United States“. I was able to pick-up quite a haul of beers from both breweries, so picking one to start off with was a bit tough. However we already have a few Atlantic Brewing Company beers reviewed, so lets start with a Bar Harbor Brewing beer.
Labeled brew #16, the Bar Harbor Pale Ale seemed to morph through its tasting session. The session was done with a twenty-two ounce bottle (I poured one glass, finished it, and then poured the remains into a second glass), so when first poured the beer had a slightly hazy, though easy to see through, body. On its second pour, the beer’s body was very hazy and opaque. I am not sure if I was supposed to decant this beer or not, so the different pouring results could have been my mistake.
With both pours, the white head provided a full, thin coverage with minimal stickage and aromas of dough and berry fruits permeating the air. The first pour had a light bread and caramel sweetness taste, while the second pour had a fruity note which then progressed to a light bread and caramel sweetness. Both pours were smooth and pleasant however, easily progressed through their associated tastes, and finished with a light bitterness.
Wish I had another bottle to try pouring this beer more consistently, but unfortunately I do not. Though not a stand-out, a respectable beer none-the-less.