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Extra Pale Ale

Judges Rating: 
19 / 24
6 / 6
30 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
14 / 20

The fourth and final entrant from the Class of 1996 in this issue, Flying Fish has grown from humble beginnings to become the “largest craft brewery in New Jersey.” The brewery produces a number of quality ales and has a dedicated following in eastern Pennsylvania, as well as in their own home state. Extra Pale Ale’s nose screams malt, malt and more malt. There is a light, somewhat indistinct hoppiness to the aroma, but the malt takes center stage. The judges all commented on the absence of hops in a style whose aroma traditionally throws them around with abandon. Tim picked up some buttery notes under the malt and commented that a “tea-like aroma” emerges as the beer opens up. Rick also keyed on the butteriness, but he thought it was more prominent than did Tim, and he also felt the malt presented itself as “grainy, husky and slightly astringent.” Throwing a small, rapidly collapsing head of loose white foam, this beer fills the glass with a warm burnished golden glow. Shades of bread dough and light, sweet caramel rule the overall flavor, while hops make their presence known as a subtle bitterness. Tom liked the “cookie dough-like” malt flavor but found the lack of hop flavor left the beer lopsided. The malt hit Pete as more caramel-like, with a trace of butter floating underneath, yet he too found the beer “bereft of hop character.” Though notably shy when it comes to hops, this is certainly an accessible beer and would be just the thing for a hot day at the ballpark.