Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale

My first-ever Hawaiian beer review! Well, not really. Kona, Widmer, Redhook and Goose Island are all part of the "Craft Brewers Alliance" which means they're all essentially the same company and they all contract brew each other's beers. Here on the east coast all Kona beers are brewed by Redhook in New Hampshire. I actually had this beer when I was in Key West, FL last year and it was pretty appropriate for the setting I'd say. This beer was requested by

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (643) - Albany, USA - SEP 20, 2011
I poured a 12oz bottle into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Surprisingly dark copper/orange hue. Mostly clear with slight haziness and plenty of carbonation bubbles. Forms a small, yellow, sudsy head which leaves minor lacing.

Smell: A very interesting mix of light floral and citrus notes from the hops, but a distinct toasted malt scent as well. I can’t recall smelling these two aromas together -it’s unique and interesting.

Taste: Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale has something for everyone - light confectionary sweetness and citrusy hoppiness in perfect balance. The beginning is a lovely mix of caramel and toasted malts - akin to a strong British ESB, but the second half is a noticeably bitter, yet controlled level of flowery hops and a swift, but light, flick of hops. Both flavor schemes work well in and of themselves and the transition between the two is very interesting. It’s not the most robust or complex palate, though. I wish the hops had been a little stronger and the finish a little less clean. Still, it’s tasty palate and that’s good enough for me.

Mouthfeel: Perfectly medium-bodied with a comfortable texture with just a slight carbonation sensation. The CO2 does not get stuck in the throat, thankfully.

Drinkability: Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale is an ideal restaurant beer. The genuine, but not overwhelming palate is enough to satisfy beer geeks and noobs alike and the taste would make it quite refreshing with typical American fare. The body is a little lighter than its 5.9% ABV would lead you to believe. Definitely a beer you could drink several of before being worn out.

Overall, this was a pleasant surprise and I’m glad I tried it. It’s nothing world class, but I don’t think it’s meant to be. For what should be "just another pale ale" it’s quite memorable.

Grade: 7/10

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