Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saranac Summer Ale


3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (744) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 15, 2010
 It seems like every beer I’ve tried with the name “summer ale” is surprisingly boring. When consumers think of a summer beer they want something flavorful, smooth and light-bodied, yet most summer-themed beers only meet one or two of these requirements.

Saranac Summer Ale is mostly an obligatory inclusion to the Saranac “Beers of Summer” mix pack. Sure, it compliments the theme of the sampler, but it’s nothing to write home about.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

I knew this beer wasn’t going to knock my socks off just by the way it poured. It forms a miniscule head which quickly evaporates and leaves no lacing whatsoever. There’s also extremely little carbonation action happening. The beer is light copper in color so it could easily be mistaken for a tepid glass of apple juice.

The scent is virtually non-existent. There is a trace of citrus aroma which is certainly better than the run-of-the-mill beer smell. However, half of our sense of taste stems from our sense of smell. If I can’t smell the beer, then it’s unlikely the taste is going to impress me.

TASTE AND FINISH

The good thing about bland beers is that they’re definitely drinkable. Saranac Summer Ale is pretty average in taste, but at least it doesn’t taste bad at all. You could easily go through quite a few bottles of this brew on the basis of the fact it’s bland and smooth.

To the discerning palate traces of citrus are evident, but they are not very flavorful as is the case with Saranac’s Belgian White and Hefeweizen beers. I’m surprised the brewery would skimp on taste with the summer ale, but be so generous with the beers with the niche-sounding names.

At least Saranac Summer Ale drinks very smoothly. As I mentioned, this beer is tepid with almost no carbonation so its finish is clean.

BODY

Beers medium in body are difficult to criticize. A beer with strong taste should be at least medium in body, but one with a weaker flavor should be lighter. So take your pick: is Saranac Summer Ale a good beer because it’s easy to drink and less filling, or is it bad because it’s weak in flavor and not especially satisfying?

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is one of those beers that connoisseurs will find uneventful while the average Joe Six Pack might think of it as a nice change of pace. Truly, this is a beer whose quality is in the eye of its beholder. 
Grade: 6/10