What was the last shockingly great pale ale you sipped?
There’s a bit of chatter among beer bloggers today that the once flagship style’s lost its juice in recent years; basically demoted to the flagship beer of “meh.”
“What is the one beer style [that] usually makes up the first position in the sample flight, but yet is usually the one that we never get really excited about? The pale ale,” writes Carla Companion on her Beer Babe blog, host of this month’s Session.
Sure, compared to the next imperial sour pale chocolate stout, the pale ale seems square, but that doesn’t mean the style’s a stagnant bore. Take the session IPA, one of my favorite trends in the industry.
When executed correctly, like Shorts Prolonged Enjoyment, the result is really something special, and a complete reimagination of the pale ale’s potential. In short, the beer has the ABV of pales, but a hop flavor and aroma (not bitterness) akin to a mild IPA.
Here’s what Short’s Brewing founder Joe Short relayed:
“The aromas pouring off of this beer simulate handfuls of fresh green hops being held up to ones nose. Huge earthy hop fragrances of green grass, pine and citrus fruit intoxicate the senses. The slightest sweet malty flavors are met quickly by zesty citrus American hop characteristics paving the way for the extraordinary bitterness packed into this light bodied India pale ale.”
And that’s not marketing filler: The beer does hit the nose with a vibrant bouquet and cascades over the tongue with bright tangerine and dank pine notes—bigger than most pale ales out there—but doesn’t assault the tongue like an IPA. The best part? The clever brew clocks in at 3.5% ABV. Huge hop flavor with a smooth, light mouthfeel. That, to me, is the future of pale ales.
So, what was the last shockingly great pale ale you sipped?