Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Saranac GPA (Ginger Pale Ale)

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1130) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 16, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle in my Saranac-emblazoned shaker glass. It had a best before date of 10/31/14 and came as part of a summer mix pack for $14.47 ($1.21 per bottle or $0.10 per ounce).

Appearance: Pretty golden hue over a clear body with some bubbles present. Pours to a two-finger, off-white, foamy head which laces and retains fairly well.

Smell: Strong ginger presence, though sweet like a ginger ale soda. A touch of amber malt and a hint of mint.

Taste: Saranac GPA appears to be Saranac’s flagship pale ale with the addition of ginger. They both have the same malts and hops according to the brewery’s website, so it’s a safe bet that’s the case. Interestingly enough, they taste like completely different brews. This one is all about the ginger – the English-style pale ale base is just that. Those looking for the subtleties of a beer of that style won’t find it here. That’s not to say it’s a bad beer, though. There’s a definite candy-like sweetness here from the ginger.

Much like the nose, the taste is reminiscent of ginger ale soda pop. I don’t know of too many sodas that have this persistent hop presence, though. The beer is mildly bitter, but strong enough to notice. What’s odd is there’s a distinct mint flavor as it follows through. A tingly, warming sensation at first from the ginger, and a cold, herbal-like character on the backend. I doubt the beer is brewed with mint, it’s just a flavor I’m picking up. Otherwise, it’s a rather one-dimensional/straightforward palette. For someone like me who’s not a fan of ginger in their beer it’s okay, though I’d imagine true ginger fans enjoying this much more.

Drinkability: With a crisp mouthfeel, medium body and persistent tingling sensation from the ginger, Saranac GPA is actually quite drinkable. It’s only 5.5% ABV, but feels like something a tad lighter, though I wouldn’t consider it all that sessionable. The spice palette would pair well with any kind of ginger-flavored meal, though it’s alright as a standalone beverage if drank cold and quickly. Once it warms up and the carbonation slows, it becomes a bit of a challenge. 
Grade: 6/10

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