Sunday, December 2, 2012

Saranac Pale Ale (2012)

It’s quite possible Saranac Pale Ale may be the most accessible craft beer in America, in more ways than one. This brewery is available in many states and this style of beer is often enjoyed by outsiders and newbies, but still appreciated by connoisseur-types. It’s meant to be just a solid beer and that’s what it is.

NOTE: Read (and watch) my 2009 review here:

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (763) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 2, 2012
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Saranac shaker pint.

Appearance: Pure copper color, perfectly clear with some carbonation visible. Initially forms a large, off-white, foaming head which never completely evaporates and leaves minor lacing on the glass.

Smell: Mild malty scent, especially biscuit-like with a hint of caramel. Subtle piney hops as well.

Taste: To be fair, Saranac Pale Ale is an English-style pale ale which means its meant to be balanced and lighter on the hops than the American-style pale ale. And in that aspect this beer works really well. It’s sweeter than most with a hint of caramel or honey flavors combined with a slightly rustic or spicy maltiness (rye?). There’s a burst of citrus and floral flavor at the apex of the palate, but it fades away as quickly as it appears, leaving a mostly clean, but slightly dry aftertaste.

While I wouldn’t nominate this beer for any awards, I do think it’s one of the most underrated and underappreciated beers on the mainstream craft market. It’s genuinely flavorful, well-balanced, and a great representation of a style often ignored stateside. I probably rate it a bit higher than most people because I appreciate its subtlety.

Drinkability: If there’s one thing drinkers of Saranac Pale Ale can agree on it should be the fact the beer is almost ridiculously drinkable. The body is only medium all-around with a mouthfeel that’s not thin, but still crisp. It’s refreshing while it’s in the mouth, but it’s not a summer cooler. At 5.5% ABV it’s actually where it should be in terms of weight: lighter than most craft beers but with enough flavor for the body.
 Grade: 8/10

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