David Sapsis's picture

Bone -A-Fide Pale Ale

July, 2017
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
36 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

This beer is being evaluated as a BJCP Category 18B, Pale Ale. I'm informed that tonight's beer is an American Pale Ale. Sweet. When I started brewing back in the bronze age, this was one of the three beer styles I really tried try to hone in on. Back then, options were few and far between, and they were cutting edge, representing the resurgence of artisanal American brewing.

The beer comes to me in a kolsch glass after a sturdy pour and presents a two-inch white creamy top with great texture and foam stand. The color is faintly amber-gold, somewhere around 6 SRM,  and the clarity exibits a noticebale haze. The beer looks the part, but certainly lacks much in the way of caramel malts.

The aroma presents bright citrus fruit elements (lemon, lime) mixed with a strong pineapple note with an undercurrent of mango/tropical sweetness and acidity- assertive but straightforward, showcasing the wheelhouse of new-world hops. A honey-malt tone brings up the rear with noticable breadiness countervailing the big hop front end. Overall, a great, hop-forward nose.

The flavor is sharp and piney in in the front trailing to a firm (possibly a tad too firm) bitterness, with complexing flavors of grapefruit, lemon, and once again – pineapple. The malt resurgence in the later palate brings balance to the trailing finish that is slightly mineral, bitter, sweet, and piney. Pretty much spot on hop forward, with excellent malt backbone for balance and structure. No caramel, no butter, and only relatively subdued ester fruitiness. A hint of sulfate minerality and lingering bitterness impress some astringency, but the residual maltiness and late-hop fruitiness add nice body and moderating mouthfeel. Its a firm and bitter-fruit elixir that is both complex and simple. The flavors are wide and varied, but the drinkability is obvious. Overall the beer really borders on the American IPA style, but if those tend to rub you harsh, come this way. Its not big, or alcoholic, just strong flavored with bitterness that pushed the edge, and certainly a long ways away from the caramel-malt laden version common to the past. Irrespective of any of that, it is delicious. I'd imagine paring this beer with a big, well-executed juicy hamburger fresh off the hot coals would be a very fine experience.