I’m trying to sample every true “Pale Ale” we find on our tour and keep a running ranking. I think a good pale ale is the hardest style to make and the best style to compare from brewery to brewery. My hometown Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the beer I use to calibrate all of my beer instruments, so in some ways I’m always comparing to that. But I’m not looking for a clone or what comes closest to matching its flavor. Instead, I’m searching for a pale ale that can match some of its qualities. I think a good pale should have a cleanness, good body, a balance of malt and hops, a great finish, no off flavors, no exotic hops, or odd yeast or anything that slows it down or makes it weird.
Be aware that 1) I’m not sure I can even do this. Even with notes I’m not sure how long I can remember all these in comparison in my head; B) I’m not like trained or anything. I just really like Pale Ales; 3) This is just, like, my opinion, man.
- Rusty Salvage Pale Ale: Devil’s Kettle Brewing in Athens, OH – Rich complex malt without being too Malty and just the right Centennial and Cascade hops mixture for me. Super pale ale.
- Bruce Banner Pale Ale: Lost Cabin Beer Co. in Rapid City, SD – Great body, clean floral hops, highly drinkable.
- Striped Bass Pale Ale: Devil’s Backbone Brewing in Lexington, VA – Smooth and balanced. Nothing wrong with this one.
- Rockslide Pale Ale: Rockslide Brewery in Grand Junction, CO – Good malt body and very hoppy. A little bitter and IPA like.
- American Point Pale Ale: Voyageur Brewing, Grand Marais, MN – Maybe a little thin and just a little bitter on the finish, but pretty solid.
- (NE)braska Hazy Pale: Flyover Brewing Company, Scottsbluff, NE – Not too hazy, but juicy and a little tropical with a clean finish. Refreshing.
- Hank & Dab’s Pale Ale: Canal Park Brewing, Duluth, MN – A little sweet and malty, but full and easy drinking.
- River Runners Pale Ale: Eddyline Brewery in Buena Vista, CO – Not my favorite Hop varieties, but a solid pale.
- Moab Pale Ale: Moab Brewery in Moab, UT – Pretty good pale. Not as smooth as some and a little bitter, but a full strength beer in Utah is a plus.
- Hop Anatomy Pale Ale: Revision Brewing Co in Reno, NV – I get that this is an experimental hops combo, but it didn’t work for me.
- Standing Wave Pale Ale: Kannah Creek Brewing Co in Grand Junction, CO – Thin and grainy. Tasted off tbh.
- more to come…