The pale ale style of beer is not for everyone. These beers have a very
bitter flavor and are usually best enjoyed by a discriminating palate.
In the case of Saranac Pale Ale I was on the fence trying to decide if I
could appreciate this as a craft beer or if I was just a little
underwhelmed as a beer drinker.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
I like a beer that pours smoothly and Saranac Pale Ale most definitely
delivers on that aspect. Maybe I was just having a good pour night, but
after two bottles in a row with absolutely not air pocket kick-back, I
have to say I was very impressed.
The beer pours to a light
red or dark copper, crystal-clear complexion with some carbonation
action happening. The head is off-white and mostly foamy, but maybe a
little smaller than I was expecting. Fortunately, it does linger for a
while and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.
The aroma is fairly standard for a pale ale which is potent of hops and slightly fruity.
Upon my first taste of this beer I was fairly impressed. It had all the
makings of a typical pale ale: very bitter, but very complex in flavor.
According to the brewery’s website (and the bottle label), a variety of
hops are used in making this beer and it’s clear from the first tasting
because it’s quite overwhelming. Saranac Pale Ale has a strong hop bite
reminiscent of high quality lager.
However, I found flavor
diminished a little. What had started out as an intense flavor with
noticable caramel, finished rather dry and plain. There isn’t much about
the palate that stands out with this brew.
moutfeel is much like the weight - medium. It’s neither soft, nor
coarse. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult to drink, especially for a
seasoned beer drinker, but a little smoother would’ve been nice.
At 5.5% ABV, Saranac Pale Ale is an ideal session beer. It’s the
epitome of a medium-bodied beer with more weight than a light, but
slimmer than your more high-end craft beers. It will definitely make
itself known, but it’s nothing even a lightweight couldn’t handle.
The only caveat about Saranac Pale Ale is that there’s nothing in
particular about it that really stands out to me. It’s flavorful,
drinkable, and proportional but it lacks a hook. Oh well, it’s still an
enjoyable beer and that’s what matters.