American Pale Ale

AleSmith X

Beer No. 46 – AleSmith X

Is it fair to discount any review of this beer that says it “marks the spot” without any irony or self-awareness? I think so. But let’s do talk about the packaging. Bold, largely utilitarian, but not without a sense of style or dimension. I’m not asking for a facsimile of the beer, but there it is.

STYLE: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5%

LOOK: Pours a golden carrot with a head that’s billowy at first but soon settles to a creamy half-finger. Wee bubbles march purposefully from the bottom to the top, never breaking rank, never slowing, never speeding.

NOSE: Hoppy and lemony, almost IPA. Garden fruits and vegetables, mostly sweet corn husks and strawberries.

MOUTH: Bonfire of riches. Cucumber, celery root, pine, IPA citrus. The real draw is the soft butter and hardworking oils. The butter soothes while the oil coats the mouth, literally sticking around for the next pull, and maybe calling for it. The balance and finish remind me of Victory Hop Wallop, a DIPA for DIPA drinkers. To my surprise, AleSmith has packaged that profile in this typically lighter style.

Beeradvocate Rating: 89

ratebeer Rating: 97

Hayward Abbey Rating: 93

Full Sail Pale Ale

Beer No. 18 – Full Sail Pale Ale

A BA rating of 84 is in the ballpark, thanks to the collective wisdom of 355 reviews. I wouldn’t normally lead with this, except that the Alström brothers seem to have gone overboard with a 94. Maybe it’s unfair for me to impose style limits, but is it not also unfair, or at the very least peculiar, to say this ok-for-a-few-pints brew is near the pinnacle of what beer can be?

STYLE: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5.4%

LOOK: Yellowish gold, lagerish, nicely carbonated. You can see the crispness, and that much doesn’t disappoint.

NOSE: A wee bit flat. I’m a few days past the best-by date, not that I think that’s affecting the nose. There just doesn’t seem to be any, ahem, wind in the sails. Grainy, yeah, and maybe some grapefruit too.

MOUTH: There’s no questioning the drinkability. It’s clean, even crisp. Cereal, mild hops, and a surprising balance that’s clearly hiding the malty goodness and floral essence I was expecting.

Beeradvocate Rating: 84

Hayward Abbey Rating: 81

Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

Beer No. 10 – Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

STYLE: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5.4%

LOOK: Fire hydrant brown, rich copper, hearty. The head dissolves quickly but the lacing lets you know there’s some there there.

NOSE: Untoasted wheat bread, lemongrass, light floral.

MOUTH: Malty, bawdy, lemon, essence of grapefruit with a crispy finish. Almost pucker. Untapped potential.

Beeradvocate Rating: 87

Hayward Abbey Rating: 82