I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. It came as part of a mix pack for $15.99 ($1.33 per bottle or $0.11 per ounce).
Appearance: Surprisingly dark brown with a honey glow. Hazy with
carbonation initially present. Pours to a small, white, foamy head which
retains and laces well.
Smell: Slightly fruity scent, but distinctly malty. A hint of hops.
Taste: Not too many American breweries do an English-style pale ale, and
those that do don’t tend to do them too well. While Smuttynose Shoals
Pale Ale may not be an exact authentic replica of a British brew, it’s
most definitely not American, either. The malts are actually the star of
the show, here, though there’s still plenty of hop character you expect
in a pale ale.
Up front I notice a sweet malt flavor with notes of toast, muffins and
orange marmalade. The hops are present as well, but don’t reveal
themselves until the finish. The beer has a consistent slightly dry
bitterness throughout, which really complements the darker malt flavor.
Perhaps a hint of citrus from the hops can be detected, which is nice. A
mild bitter bite as it goes down keeps the palette well-balanced and
interesting. It’s not Fuller’s, but it’ll do.
Drinkability: The pale ale is supposed to be overtly drinkable,
especially compared to the IPA, and Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale
definitely succeeds in this aspect. The mouthfeel is perfectly medium
all around. Robust enough flavor to keep it interesting, but still crisp
and smooth to make it easy to quaff down. This beer weighs in at 5.6%
ABV, which seems just about right (maybe a tad high). A little too big
to session, but strong enough to enjoy as a standalone serving.