Saturday, September 27, 2014

Brooklyn ½ (Half) Ale

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1185) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 27, 2014
American breweries have been trying to outdo each other with so-called session beers, though their definition of “session” tends to be rather loosely defined. At only 3.4% ABV, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Brooklyn ½ Ale meets the criteria for a session beer. Though what really sets it apart is that it’s not just another hopped-up pale ale, but a to-spec saison that has a feel of completeness and authenticity.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. A six-pack was $9.69 ($1.57 per bottle or $0.13 per ounce). It had a best before date of 2/20/15.

Appearance: Pale yellow hue over a hazy body. Some carbonation bubbles are visible after pouring, though they disappear eventually. Forms a large, white, soapy head which mostly dissipates, but does leave decent lacing on the glass.

Smell: Huge spicy hop aroma (most likely Sorachi Ace). Hints of lemon, peppercorn and various spices.

Taste: The palette starts off rather calm with a general light malty flavor, and then from out of nowhere a huge spicy hop sensation takes over. The hops and the saison yeast character complement each other perfectly. It’s a delectable combination of black pepper, lemon pith and a coriander-like spice. The beer is brewed with orange peel, which probably accounts for the citrus character (and perhaps the witbier-like spices, too). There’s almost a wet hop-like hop oily sensation as well (and I mean that as a compliment). How a beer so light in weight has such a well-rounded palette without tasting like beer-flavored water is beyond me. I hope more breweries will take this approach and make small brews with genuine flavor.

Drinkability: It probably could go without saying that at 3.4% ABV, Brooklyn ½ Ale is absolutely quaffable and sessionable. But it’s also genuinely refreshing and has actual body to it. The mouthfeel doesn’t feel paper-thin, though the carbonation is a tad low. This should be available in cans as it’d be perfect for the summer months and its related activities. I’d highly recommend pairing this with seafood or salad. 
Grade: 8/10

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