Sunday, August 10, 2008

Otter Creek Pale Ale

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (735) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 28, 2010
UPDATED: SEP 29, 2012 It seems my last few beer reviews have started out with a lead along the lines of, “I like this beer style, but in my experience it’s been hit or miss.” I was about to do the same thing again for this review, but wouldn’t it be redundant? Although I guess pointing out the redundancy is even MORE redundant!

Regardless, I’d like to say that I like the pale ale style of beer, and American brewers seem to get this style right for the most part. This is true of Otter Creek Pale Ale. It has a very hoppy taste without being overwhelming, it’s smooth going down and it doesn’t fill you up.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

This beer pours very smoothly and forms a decent-sized, off-white head. The majority of the head dissipates, but over the course of four different bottles I noticed it never disappeared entirely. It also left a lot of lacing on the glass. Again, I don’t know if this is good or bad, but it’s a sight that always impresses me.

Otter Creek Pale Ale isn’t as pale in complexion as you’d think. It’s actually an orange/copper color and fairly clear with minimal carbonation action. It has a strong aroma of hops and just the slightest hint of a floral scent. Overall, this beer made a good first impression on me.

TASTE

Pale ales are a crapshoot. Oftentimes brewers make them entirely too hoppy, other times they’re tasty but don’t finish clean. Aside from Magic Hat’s #9, I can’t think of an American mid-level brewery that has gotten the pale ale style down pat as Otter Creek has here.

This beer is extremely tasty from the first swig to the last. Naturally, it has a strong amount of hops to its palate but it doesn’t overwhelm you. I’m surprised there isn’t a fruit or citrus flavor to compliment the hops, but as it stands, it’s delectable

FINISH

Being an expert beer drinker I didn’t find this brew to be difficult to drink, although I wouldn’t say it’s the smoothest beer in the world. For a beer with such a strong hop taste the finish is much easier than you’d think. Lightweights might find it to have a bit of a bite, but that’s not necessarily as demerit.

BODY

I’ve encountered pale ales that were flavorful but entirely too weighty to appreciate. Thankfully, Otter Creek Pale Ale is a lot less filling than your average craft beer. It’s definitely not light and if you were to drink several in row you might find yourself feeling bloated. However, I twice drank two bottles back-to-back and was not at all full.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There’s a lot to like about Otter Creek Pale Ale: good taste; clean finish and a medium body. It’s what you might call an “all purpose” beer in that it would compliment a meal quite well or work as a refreshing beverage on its own. It’s not exactly perfect, but it’s very impressive. If only more American niche beers were like this.

Grade: 8/10