Brewer: Moat Mountain Craft: Iron Mike ABV: 5.6%
Can I tell you I so enjoy receiving gifts? Yes? Ok. I so enjoy receiving gifts. And frankly, who doesn’t? Well, I’m an only child, so I’ve been slightly spoiled in my life and I like getting things. Especially when those things are craft beer!
I’m guessing you’re guessing that I was given this craft. I in fact was and am ever thankful to Uncle David for thinking of me. People who know me know I have a thing for craft beer. So every once in a while I’ll get a present from someone who is traveling somewhere and thinks “Hey, I’m in a place that Ed might not have been. Let’s get him some beer.” And how awesome is that!
This pale ale from Moat Mountain is a great introduction to craft beer from New Hampshire. A solid malt backbone gives this craft a full body, and a warmth and subtle sweetness as well. The bitterness I would expect in a pale ale is present throughout and balances the malts. I even pick up on some very subtle floral and dried fruit notes.
With a name like Iron Mike, I kind of expected a knockout punch of a beer. But instead I got a softly sweet and hoppy balanced, almost creamy drinkable jab to the gut. I could pound a few of these jabs to my gut and be a happy man. You can be sure, if I’m ever in NH, I’m making my way up to Moat Mountain. See what I did there? Can? And it’s a pounder!
Rating: Road trip your way up there and enjoy!
Brewer: Victory Craft: Headwaters Pale Ale ABV: 5.1%
Today I decided to drink a couple pale ales and figured I should compare them. Because, you know, why not? So first up is the Headwaters crafted by Victory. The picture on the label on the bottle shows hops and barley. Well that about says it all right there! The barley provides a malty, bready character to the beer and the hops provide the bitter balance to the sweetness from the malts. I see why my friend Brian loves this craft so much. It’s easy to drink. It’s well balanced. It’s has flavor that, to me, is interesting for a pale ale. It almost borders on creamy. Good stuff.
Brewer: Yards Craft: Philadelphia Pale Ale ABV: 4.6%
This. This is what, in my opinion, a pale ale should taste like. Yards gets it right here. The barley provides a biscuity, cracker-like character to the beer. There is very little sweetness, which I prefer in a pale ale. The hops provide a solid bitterness from start to finish. Again, this falls in line with what I feel a pale ale should be. That being said, I think it’s still easy to drink. But it’s pretty straight-forward and simple. Nothing too complex here. I think though that there’s something to be said for doing something simple, but doing it completely on point and standard-setting.
If you can’t tell, I prefer the Philly Pale Ale. The Headwaters is a quality craft and I would drink it again in a heartbeat. But if we’re talking about pale ales here, which I am, (where have you been?), then Yards takes the win over Victory. Is that like irony or something?
Rating: I’d buy a case of either of these crafts any day of the week.
Brewer: Lagunitas Craft: A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale ABV: 7.5%
This craft is so easy to drink. It’s just what I was looking for tonight. Nothing too fancy or over the top. Sumpin’ is definitely a “unique style”, as they say, which makes it even more interesting to me.
Sumpin’ starts off with floral and citrusy notes for me. It adds in a sweetness next, which I’m guessing is from the wheat. And the hop presence is steady throughout and solid in the finish. This really is a craft unlike any others I’ve had. If I had to change anything about it, it would be the ABV. I’d make this more of a session ale and keep it at like 5%. But that’s just my opinion.
So in the end, this craft is something – or rather Sumpin’ – I could get used to drinking all the time. Check out their website if you haven’t yet – https://lagunitas.com/
Rating: Get at least one or two six-packs
Brewer: Oskar Blues Craft: Dale’s Pale Ale ABV: 6.5%
There are many varieties of pale ale. I have found that they seem to be differentiated by what season you’re drinking in. Well, since it is still winter, this pale ale is an excellent choice.
Pale ales always seem to have a crisp, bitter edge to them. This craft is no different. It has a solid hop bitterness that I get throughout the taste. But what sets this craft in season is the solid malt backbone the accompanies the bitterness. The two play well together. And the malty character gives this pale ale a nice amber color, as opposed to some others that are more golden or yellow.
This feels like the perfect beer for drinking around a campfire with some friends. And since winter is over in a couple days, (yes, I know it isn’t really, but I believe winter goes from the day after Thanksgiving until February 28), it is the perfect time to start thinking about what crafts you’re going to bring with you on your next trip. I’d advise you add this one to the list.
Rating: buy a case
Brewer: 21st Amendment Craft: Bitter American ABV: 4.4%
Couple thoughts to start this one off…
First – thanks to my friend Tim for the glass.
Second – I in no way, shape, or form support the Texans. I’m an Eagles fan. Just so you know.
Third – I may be a bitter American if the Eagles don’t win this game today.
Chest cleared. Thanks.
So onto some beer! This craft is a session ale, meaning that you can drink a good number of them in one drinking session. They are typically 4-6% ABV.
This definitely fits into the session category. Bitter American has a citrus and hoppy aroma to start. And that doesn’t change once you start drinking. Solid notes of orange and lemon hit your palate first and let you know that this is not your typical pale ale. The beer finishes with a bitterness that is not too much – it’s just enough to remind you that it’s a pale ale.
To be honest with you, this craft borders on too sweet for being a pale ale, and for the name it’s given. But if you’re looking for a gateway pale ale, this might be the one. I could certainly go through a few of these in a drinking session. Cheers!