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
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
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.