Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1434) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 19, 2015
You don’t see too many beers with “Midwestern” in the name, since it’s the two coasts that are known for certain niche styles. Judging by the packaging, Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale wants to be associated with the Midwestern grain belt and farms, which would explain why there’s a rather earthy/spicy character to this beer typically found in farmhouse ales (though it’s definitely a pale ale). Tasty and easy to drink; I like it.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 5/16/15 and cost $2.65 ($0.22 per ounce).

Appearance: A very hazy shade of brownish orange. No visible carbonation, but it does pour to a larger-than-average off-white foamy head which laces and retains quite well.

Smell: Quite malty, almost like that of raw grain. A slight citrusy component, but otherwise a mild nose.

Taste: The pale ale is an overlooked style these days, so I really appreciate the brews that can make it work. This palette is rather unique in that it’s not a citrus bomb, but actually well-balanced with light malts and some spicy hop character. Light bready notes at first with a tingling bitterness in the background. There’s a bit of a hop bite at the apex followed by a spicy sensation of rye, peppercorn and orangepeel (though none of those ingredients are in this brew). I detect a touch of orange marmalade in the aftertaste, reminds me of a British ESB or similar style. I hope Bell’s has pioneered a sub-genre with this as I’d like to see more beers that aren’t so conforming to East or West coast styles.

Drinkability: What’s impressive about Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale is that it’s only 5.2% ABV. That’s fairly light for a craft beer these days; but it has the stronger body of a heavier brew. The mouthfeel is crisp from beginning to end with no spastic carbonation. A tad refreshing while crossing the tongue, it leaves a fairly clean finish (the hops do linger a bit). It’d be tempting to session this in the summer, though it’s also strong enough to stand up to a meal.

RATING: 8/10

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