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.