Friday, January 11, 2013

Saranac Belgian Pale Ale

Saranac is a brand that’s known for the accessibility and if they can introduce more pedestrian beer drinkers to more niche styles via good beer I’m all for it. I was pleasantly surprised by their new Belgian Pale Ale - which is essentially an American Pale Ale with Belgian yeast, but a good beer nevertheless.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (786) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 11, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Saranac shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Bright amber color; crystal clear with plenty of visible carbonation. Forms an average sized, eggshell hued, foamy head which retains and laces quite well.

Smell: Strong banana scent akin to a German hefeweizen, but with more lemony notes and no spice.

Taste: While I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly authentically "Belgian" to Saranac Belgian Pale Ale, I will say it’s a nice departure from the brewery’s usual safe bets. Their flagship beer is an English-style pale ale, so they know the general genre pretty well I’d say. Plenty of hop character in this one with a strong lemony character. It’s reminiscent of a witbier but without the spices of orangepeel or coriander. Instead, the Belgian yeast imparts a distinct banana aroma and gentle sweetness to make the palate on the lighter, more refreshing side.

Plenty of lighter malts throughout the body with subtle honey notes. A quick, but mild, hop bite through the middle and on the end that imparts a bit of dryness and crispiness. It’s also remarkably refreshing making this an ideal summer brew (why it’s in their winter mix pack I haven’t the foggiest).

Drinkability: With a thinner, crisper mouthfeel and drinker-friendly palate, Saranac Belgian Pale Ale is a great introductory craft beer. The Belgian yeast makes itself known as the carbonation is fine and continually effervescent, but the body is light enough to lend to easy drinking. The aftertaste is almost completely clean and there’s a definite sense of refreshment here. At 5.4% ABV it’s dangerously drinkable and I could see myself killing an entire six pack on a hot summer’s day.
 Grade: 7/10