Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale

Continuing with the Samuel Smith's beers I got (correction: EARNED) from Mahar's, we come to their "Old Brewery Pale Ale." Now, up until recently just thinking about a British pale ale would put me to sleep from boredom, but having seen just how tasty the style can be as demonstrated by Fuller's London Pride, and knowing Samuel Smith's can make a good beer of any style (including lager), I was definitely eager to try this one.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (644) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 25, 2011
I poured a 12oz bottle into an English nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Quite dark for a pale ale with a clear shade of dark copper/brown proper. Little carbonation visible, but it forms a nice-looking head that’s white and frothy and laces and retains well enough.

Smell: What I imagine a British pub smells like: light fruity aroma of apple and black cherry, with minute notes of bread and hints of flowers, too.

Taste: Samuel Smith’s has long been one of my favorite breweries of traditional British styles of ale, but it’s rare they ever play second fiddle to anyone. While their Old Brewery Pale Ale does indeed play the role of the classic English pub-style pale extremely well, it’s still a runner-up to Fuller’s London Pride.

That’s not to say a second fiddle can’t play the same notes. It’s a very tasty, satisfying, delectable combination of red apple, black cherry and caramel candy - all throughout the first half. In fact, the first moment is an almost cider-like taste of sweet, tart apple flavor with perhaps a hint of cinnamon. The second half induces a quick shot of biscuity dryness and hop bitter spice. It returns to its roots with light fruit basket-like flavors and minor tartness. Tasty to be sure, but nothing amazing. And that’s okay because it is, after all, just meant to be a sessionable pale ale.

Mouthfeel: A very water-like texture and sensation with a flat, wet, cold, tepid texture. Thicker than lager, but light for an ale.

Drinkability: I’ve never been to the U.K. but I imagine there are patrons at pubs everywhere that order pint after pint of Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale because it has genuine flavor that doesn’t overwhelm, a comfortable mouthfeel, and a smooth clean finish. At only 5% ABV it’s the kind of brew you could drink serving after serving without becoming bored. Those looking for something more akin to pairing with a meal, or just flavorful in general, might want to opt for something stronger.

Grade: 7/10

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