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Blue Heron Pale Ale

Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
34 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Harking from a city familiar with top shelf breweries, BridgePort Brewing of Portland has produced some of the Oregon’s best-selling beers for almost three decades. In production for almost 25 years, Blue Heron Pale Ale is unquestionably BridgePort’s flagship ale. Flush with earthy, floral hop notes and underpinned with a solid caramel component, Blue Heron’s aroma unabashedly straddles the line between American-style and British-style ale. The distinctive caramelized malt character immediately caught Tim’s attention, but he managed to work past it to find appealing dark fruit notes of ripe plum and blackberries. He felt the aroma would have benefitted from a touch more floral hop character. Tom noticed a solid earthy hop aroma up front and deemed it “more British than American,” and thought the malt balanced the hops but came across as too toasty. Pouring a rich, burnished copper, Blue Heron is crystal clear, its profusion of fine bubbles sustaining a thick, mousse-like head. The caramel from the aroma follows into the flavor and plays a starring role in the overall profile. Though the caramel was up front, Rick found the overall flavor to be somewhat dry and minerally, and felt it lacked the hop flavors and fruity esters usually found in the style. He appreciated the quenching dry finish. Lee liked the straightforward, sweet malt profile up front, but felt the flavor lacked “punch” due to rather low bittering, all leading to a “malt-saturated” sweetness that lacked overall complexity. Ubiquitous throughout Portland, Blue Heron has legions of dedicated adherents.