Thursday, April 9, 2009

Saranac Pale Ale (2009)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (744) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 15, 2010
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.


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.


The 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. 
Grade: 7/10

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