Finally, I got my hands on the six-pack of Summit Brewing’s Extra Pale Ale after my last trip to the liquor store ended up with me grabbing a totally different beer. Whoops!
Was it the beer of my memories?
This beer has been made continually since 1986 and there is a reason why: it’s damn delicious. Like I have said about other seminal beers of the craft beer movement in the United States, beers like Extra Pale Ale must have been revelatory to a drinking community raise on straw colored swill. I know that for me this was the case.
It is interesting to note how a beer with 45 IBU and 5.2% ABV is now considered to be a mild beer in relation to the much more high gravity and hop forward beers of the moment. My new favorite beer-in-a-can, Founders All Day IPA, comes in at 42 IBU and 4.7% ABV. Granted, a beer is not just the product of its raw statistics as anyone who is a fan of dry hopping will tell you. A beer can hit you with a blast of hop aroma and flavor, yet carry none of the distinctive bitterness.
Extra Pale Ale almost seems reserved in its use of hops. Horizon, Cascade, and Fuggle hops are not known as being “in your face” hops like the more in vogue hop varieties that are popular with commercial and home brewers alike. Therefore, when the beer is described as having a citrus finish the flavor is much more subtle than what would be left on the palate with a beer utilizing Simcoe, Amarillo, or Citra hops.
The only downside to Extra Pale Ale that sticks with me is that biscuit notes can come out well done or burnt. It might be like banana notes for me in that I cannot stand the slightest amount so I automatically veer toward hating that aspect.
Extra Pale Ale is a great example of the beginnings of the American craft beer movement and n excellent starting point to examine the evolution of our beer:
As an aside, Summit’s head brewer Damian McConn has a hilarious BuzzFeed video where he “reviews” a flight of cheap wine. Oh yeah, there is some Boone’s Farm in the house. Check it out here.