I’ve often described some American pale ales and IPAs as having a
tea-like flavor to them, but I’ve never had a beer actually brewed with
tea (that I know of) until now. You’d think Prism ParTea Pale Ale would
have the natural tea flavor I mistakenly taste in other beers, but it’s
surprisingly absent. There’s bitterness for sure, but the rest of the
palate is much ado about nothing.
I received a 12oz bottle as a gift from friends (thanks, Marissa & Alex!). I poured it into a tulip glass.
Appearance: Bright but hazy orange hue, looks a glass of mango punch.
Forms a small, white, foamy head which mostly dissipates but does leave
some lacing on the glass.
Smell: A very earthy, rustic smell of seasonings and spices. A hint of pine commonly found in pale ales, but otherwise muted.
Taste: I always try to drink beers that I’m reviewing "as blind as
possible," before making a decision, but in the case of Prism ParTea
Pale Ale I really could use more information. Neither the label nor the
website gives much information on the brewing of this beer other than
the tea used in it. If I were drinking this truly blind I might
accidentally mistake the tea for garlic or onion. It really is that
There’s a sharp bitterness right away and it lasts throughout the entire
swig, which is a bit surprising considering this is "only" a pale ale
after all. There’s a hint of tree bark or pine needles through the
middle as well as a faint orange flavor. The finish is what kills the
beer as a sudden strong burst of off flavors akin to raw garlic and
onion envelope the mouth. They’re tolerable at first, then distracting,
but by the end they’re just too much to bear. These flavors linger,
making this palate a bit annoying. Perhaps this bottle was old and the
flavors had turned (there’s no date on the bottle), but finishing this
is a bit challenging.
Drinkability: If consumed and with spicy food, I could see Prism ParTea
Pale Ale being an easy beer to throw back. After all, the mouthfeel is
fairly thin, crisp and well carbonated goes down smooth. And at only
5.5% ABV it isn’t going to overwhelm most drinkers. But drank on its
own, the off flavors really add up and the aftertaste is rather
off-putting. I appreciate what the brewery was going for with this, but I
think they have a way to go before perfecting this recipe.