Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Prism ParTea Pale Ale

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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (780) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 1, 2013
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 earthy.

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.
 Grade: 4/10

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