Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saranac Pale Pale Ale

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (744) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 15, 2010
UPDATED: OCT 26, 2012 Certain styles of beers can be off-putting to the average Joe and Jane Six Pack because they’re simply too intense to enjoy casually. Saranac has addressed this mentality with one of their newest summer beers: the Pale Pale Ale. That’s no misnomer, as this is indeed a pale ale at the core, but minus the intense flavor, mouthfeel and body of a standard American beer of the style.


This beer pours very smoothly as it flows out of the bottle like water. It can form a giant or small head depending on the pour method. The head is white, fizzy/foamy and although it dissolves rather quickly it leaves quite a lot of lacing on the glass. The body is an medium shade of amber, crystal clear with only a minimum amount of carbonation noticeable. The aroma is typical of a pale ale with a strong floral scent of hops, but is otherwise dry.


I didn’t know what to expect out of Saranac Pale Pale Ale, since I’m such a fan of regular pale ales (and especially IPAs), what would an even paler version taste like? Well, the answer lies in the question – this is basically a lighter version of an American-style pale ale.

Hops and floral notes are immediately noticeable upon the taste, but their intensity is at a much lower volume here. The beer has a mild, grassy hop taste with just the slightest bit of citrus in the finish. But unlike others of the style, this brew is much more sweet than it is tart and also has a bit of a dry, toasty malt flavor to give it true balance.


Although this beer does indeed have a significant hop character, it doesn’t have quite as strong of a bite as others of the style. Its mouthfeel is very gentle and non-threatening and finishes extremely smooth. In fact, it’s very easy to imagine drinking this beer by the bottle rather than in sips and gulps. And while the taste finishes a bit dry, there is no lingering aftertaste.


At only 4.7% ABV, Saranac Pale Pale Ale is a beer without much density or girth. It would compliment light food extremely well and won’t overwhelm the drinker unless drank in large quantities.


I’m not usually a fan of summer beers because they tend not to have any real character to them, but Saranac Pale Pale Ale is an exception I can not only live with, but would encourage. It’s tasty, smooth and light and is genuinely refreshing. Other connoisseurs might label it gimmicky, but I consider it a solid performer. 
Grade: 7/10

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