Tag Archives: pale ale

Revolution Brewing A Little Crazy Ale

What is an American Pale Ale? Better yet, what is a Belgian American Pale Ale? When will this insanity stop? We should just start calling beers with crazy varietal names by something completely arbitrary so that it no one is any more confused by sign posts like pale ale or porter or stout or pumpkin peach ale.

Revolution Brewing brews a so-called Belgian American Pale Ale called A Little Crazy Ale:

A Little Crazy Ale

This beer will surprise you at a somewhat boozy 6.8% ABV. Even more surprising is that it drinks a lot more balanced than its middling 35 IBU would lead you to believe. Dry hopped with Citra and Cascade hops there is the presence of hop resins and aromas that do not contribute to the bitterness and help in balancing out the beer’s alcohol.

A Little Crazy is definitely “malt forward,” which accounts for the Belgian in its name. The brewery says that it is golden in color, but I would aim for a little darker hue like copper or amber when describing this particular brew. It is also carbonated a little lighter than more common American Pale Ales, which again I think contributes to its Belgian character. There is definitely some old world influence on this hybrid.

Be careful with this beer because it can sneak up on you. After a few you realize that this is not a session ale and you will find yourself wishing you had ordered a water that last round to clear your head a little bit. Grab a six pack and enjoy on a cool summer evening by the fire:

Purchase 3 Mug Rating

See what others are saying about Revolution Brewing A Little Crazy at Beeradvocate.

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Indeed Brewing Company Day Tripper Pale Ale

One of the best things about my brother coming down to visit about every two months is that contained within his family’s minivan is a box or two with lots of Minneapolis beers unavailable to us in the great state of Iowa.

Indeed Brewing Company is a Minneapolis based brewery located in a hot spot of the fermentation arts with Dangerous Man Brewing Company being located just to the west and 612Brew a chip shot toward the University of Minnesota’s East Bank campus. Not too far away as well is Surly’s new flagship brewery, taproom, and event center. Founded in 2011, Indeed has a good local following for a series of different beers. Today we are going to talk about their Day Tripper Pale Ale.

Depending upon who you talk to Day Tripper is one of the brewery’s mainstay offerings and accounts for a great portion of the company’s sales. This is understandable since people want beers they can drink with their friends after work or in the fading light of a glorious Minnesota summer evening without getting blotto. Trust me, it’s easy to spend an hour or two on a patio in Minneapolis in July and forget that you have a thrown down three or four beers that would equal a half dozen or more Bud Lights.

At 5.4% ABV and only 45 IBU this is not a beer that is going to bowl over any hop heads or pale ale purists. Day Tripper is representative of two trends: session beers and American pale ales. I am a fan of more drinkable beers that have elements of a pale ale without hewing to the stylistic mannerisms of the IPA crowd.

It pours fairly light and also drinks fairly light. Like some other attempts at session IPAs Day Tripper Pale Ale does not really have a lot of interest in the body of the beer. In this case it reminds me a lot of New Belgium’s Slow Ride IPA. As a matter of fact, the two beers could almost be interchanged with little risk of offending the person being served:

Two Mug Purchase

See what others are saying about Indeed Brewing Company Day Tripper Pale Ale at Beeradvocate.

Note: Sorry for the lack of a picture, but I somehow managed to drink all of the Day Tripper Pale Ale without saving a single photo.  My bad.

Confluence Brewing Company Des Moines IPA

The Iowa beer trail has stopped in Des Moines for an offering from that city’s Confluence Brewing Company.  On tap is the Des Moines IPA:

Des Moines IPA

At a rated ABV of 6.9% and an IBU of 75 you will be instantly hit with how drinkable this beer is given those decently lofty figures. Do you remember when a time when a beer at 75 IBUs would have been considered on the extreme end of things? I do. It was called the 1990s.

The trick with making Des Moines IPA so drinkable is that it has the perfect complement in a strong malty backbone. Unlike a lot of beers that sock you in the palate with a hop blast, this beer allows the body to mellow out the hop profile so that you can enjoy it rather than looking for a snack to cleanse out the bong water aftertaste. Note to brewmasters everywhere: Just as there is more than umami to a dish’s overall flavor excellence there is more than hops to a beers overall flavor excellence. Balance, dig it.

Purchase 3 Mug Rating

See what other people are saying about Des Moines IPA at Beeradvocate.

Confluence has only been in business since 2012 the brewery is putting out three year round beers with a selection of seasonal and limited runs. In addition to the glass growlettes Confluence is putting its beer in cans, which is good for all of us out there who want to enjoy a beer in a place where glass is forbidden and do not like the environmental impact of glass bottles. If Oskar Blues can figure out a way to make a “crowler” then every brewery should be on board with the canning movement.  I totally want a local brewery to get one of these.

If you get a chance when you are in Des Moines—cut the Iowa jokes because this state is a great place to live and Des Moines has a lot of good things going on without a hipster quotient that will make you want to cry—visit the taproom near downtown. The area is pretty sweet with minor league ballpark nearby and some other decent bars—El Bait Shop anyone?—nearby if what is on tap at Confluence does not do it for you.

By the way, I am complete sucker for these little growlettes or apothecary bottles. Seriously, these are like the fuzzy bunny rabbits of packaging. Who does not like these little guys?

Dry Dock Brewing Co. Amber Ale

Amber ale is one of the founding styles of the craft beer movement in America—think about Fat Tire Amber Ale or Samuel Adams Boston Lager which shares a lot of traits with amber ales while being a lager—but it has gotten overshadowed in recent years with the explosion of IPAs and derivative pale ale styles.

Dry Dock cans an Amber Ale:

Dry Dock Amber Ale

The beer may carry the title Amber Ale, but the brewers describe it as an extra special bitter (ESB). This may be a stylistic choice as most consumers see the word bitter in a beer and run the other way. While that is an unfair critique, this beer does have a muddled character.

Overall, the beer lacks life. The malt body comes across flat, the hops are indistinguishable, and there is an unpleasant sour taste. Not tart like a true sour beer. More like something was spoiled. Not pleasant.

I find it fascinating that I really liked the beers I had in Dry Dock’s Aurora taproom, but I have so far found the beers from its production brewery to be lacking or stylistically something I find offensive. Yes, I am looking at you hefeweizens.

Whatever it was Dry Dock’s Amber Ale failed:

Zero Mug Purchase

Upslope Brewing Company Pale Ale

What is a pale ale anymore? Is it an IPA or an ale or something different? What is an American ale? I do not know, but I see the term pale ale get put on a lot of different beers.

Upslope Brewing’s Pale Ale definitely pours like you would expect:

Upslope Pale Ale

Is apple pie a weird vibe to get from a beer’s aroma? The first few whiffs of this particular ale and I was thinking about fall baked goods. I get strange aromas from beer and it definitely puts me in a mood when drinking. Apple pie is not bad, per se, but odd.

The malt body of the beer is really light, so it does not support a ton of hoppiness which is not present. I would contrast this with a Dale’s Pale Ale that was much hoppier, maltier, and darker all while retaining the name pale ale. Interesting.

It makes you think how far craft beer has come in the U.S. in a few short years when a fairly well made pale ale in a can, like Upslope’s example today, is not catching the industry on fire because so many other breweries are putting out well made beers. It also helps that stylistically this ground has been trod pretty well by late-2014.

This was a real solid play on the pale ale field:

Two Mug Purchase

Steel Toe Brewing Size 7 IPA

In my zeal to drink the bounty of brews that I smuggled home from Colorado—many more opinions on beers from the Centennial State are forthcoming—I forgot the handful of bombers from Steel Toe Brewing that I picked up on my trip to Minnesota over the Fourth of July. Beer…hidden in the back of the refrigerator…have I committed a crime?

Steel Toe Brewing was founded in 2011 in St. Lois Park, Minnesota which is a “suburb” of Minneapolis. I do not know what qualifies as a suburb anymore since people in Prior Lake seem to believe that they are part of the Twin Cities metro area. I digress.

The brewery has a lineup that consists of four year round beers: Provider Ale, Rainmaker Double Red Ale, Dissent Dark Ale, and Size 7 IPA. There is a selection of seasonal beers, but I am too lazy to list them out on a Monday morning.

This weekend I grabbed a Size 7 IPA bomber and got to drinking:

Size 7 IPA

Despite the diminutive nature of the name—heck, even I wear a shoe bigger than size 7—this is a big, brassy beer.

Do not pick up a bottle of Size 7 and think you are going to sip it while enjoying some light snacks. This is a beer that requires boldness in all that endeavor to complete a pint. Drink it with a side of bacon or a bowl of habaneros. Do not be subtle because Size 7 does not do subtle.

The brewers at Steel Toe do not want me to say that the beer is balanced. They even go so far as to say: If you ever call Size 7 balanced we’ll kick you where it hurts (in the hop sack). Fair enough, but with the golden correlation of ABV (7.0%) and IBU (77) coming in close to balance there is something to be said for that adjective. I just won’t come out and say it because I like my hop sack the way it is…unkicked.

If this beer has a downfall it is that it is too much. By the bottom of the second glass you are starting to look elsewhere for your liquid refreshment because you need a break:

Purchase 3 Mug Rating

Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale

For every person a vacation is a time to do something deeply personal. For me it means that I can drink beers that are unavailable to me at home and bring back serious quantities of beer to share with my equally thirsty friends in eastern Iowa. Since I was not flying out to Colorado for this vacation it meant that the back end of the Subaru would be free to haul back many cans of the state’s finest craft brews.

If one beer defined my most recent trip it would be Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale:

Dales Pale Ale

Oskar Blues is a brewery known for making hoppy beers. Dale’s Pale Ale would probably be considered in the middle of the range and is the one variety from the brewery that you see on tap all over Steamboat Springs. Trust me; I drank my fair share of pints at various dinner spots.

Clocking in at 6.5% ABV and 65 IBU Dale’s Pale Ale is a very balanced beer. Notice the synergy between ABV and IBU? Yeah, I am beginning to think that is a thing. Even at those numbers a Dale’s was an easy beer to down and crack another while looking at the glory of summer mountains.

In my humble opinion, Dale’s Pale Ale represents the hallmarks of a Colorado craft beer. You can try beers from a dozen other craft breweries in the state and keep coming back to style notes that were hit with near perfection in a can of Dale’s. Even better is that the difference between the beer you get in a can and what comes out of a tap is not that different, which is saying something in a craft beer world where packaged products for off-site consumption often suffer compared to kegged beer.

It comes in cans which means that you can enjoy a Dale’s in many places a bottle, bomber, or growler just can’t go. Like to the hot tub after a day of hiking when your feet are barking because you only brought a pair of Chacos. Whoops.

Some beers just seem to taste like the place that you find yourself drinking them:

Purchase 4 Mug Rating