An American Pale Ale brewed with spruce lips, Pennyslvania Tuxedo is a collaboration between Dogfish Head and Woolrich. The nose is bready with plenty of pine from the spruce lips, though they’re just barely beginning to play their part. There’s some orange and caramel in the middle, but the predomint notes are piney in nature. I’m nearly certain that I can taste every part of the tree. The finish is slightly sweet with the orange coming back into play, and a bit of licorice and brown sugar. It’s a wonderful twist on a play ale, and though it’s certainly not the pine of a West Coast IPA, would probably appeal to many of the same fans. A really nice, and really fun beer.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.
The first thing to note about Silent Treatment Pale Ale from the No-Li Brewhouse of Spokane, Washington is that the head is staggering. It’s like beaten egg whites, and lasts for a good 10 minutes after the pour. The nose reminds me of Washington, with strong pine and a bit of grain. The middle has notes of honey, orange, and a grain that I’m pretty certain is wheat. The finish is more of the same, more malty than hoppy, but there’s a slightly bitter undercurrent. The alcohol is a moderate 5.75% ABV. This is a nice pale ale of the sweeter persuasion.
I give it a 4.1 out of 5.
Compass, by New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company, is an Imperial Sparkling American Pale Ale. Oh, and it’s bottle conditioned, and brewed with rose hips. So, it has a lot going on, to say the least. The nose is predominantly citrus with lemon and grapefruit, and it has a floral note that Southern Tier tells me is rose hips, but that I associate with honeysuckle, and a slight undertone of tropical fruit, specifically pineapple. The middle is creamy and buttery, with more tropical fruit and a bit of citrus. Southern Tier promises some bitterness, but I’m not tasting much at all. A tiny hint of citrus rind/pine in the finish, perhaps, which is also where the carbonation makes its presence felt. The body is medium, and the alcohol is a healthy imperial-level 9.0% ABV. I really like Southern Tier, but in honesty this one wasn’t one of my favorites. It’s good, but not great.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
Rosabi is an Imperial Pale Ale from Dogfish Head with, as the name suggests, wasabi as the off-centered ingredient. It starts with a big sticky head that hangs around for a bit. The nose has a bit of pine, grain, and citrus, and wasabi hits your nostrils faintly right at the end as the other scents are fading. The middle is a big chewy Imperial Pale Ale, with citrus and honey, fading to pine and rind in the finish. The coup de grâce, however, right at the tail end, is strong wasabi. It’s not particularly hot, but that unmistakably pungent flavor is in full force and it strengthens as the beer warms. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is 8.0 ABV, so it lives up to the “Imperial” billing quite well. It’s a bit of a oddity, and certainly not an every day beer, but it’s worth a try, especially for those of you who love wasabi as much as I do.
I give it a 3.9 out of 5.
Jam Session is, as its name implies, a session beer. I’ve found it in 16oz cans, which is just about my favorite container these days. It’s a 5.1% ABV American Pale Ale from the NoDa Brewing Company right here in Charlotte, NC. It is deep orange-amber in color, and has a thick, meringue like head that sticks around. The nose has pine and lemon, and is predominantly hoppy. The middle still leans toward hoppiness but isn’t overpowering. It’s grassy with more lemon and a bit of caramel from the malt balancing it. The finish has a touch of orange and toast and the tiniest undercurrent of pine. This is a really nice pale ale and in this lighter session beer format, one I’m going to be happy to drink quite a bit more of this summer.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.
American Beauty is an occasionally brewed Imperial Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. As with virtually all Dogfish Head recipes, this one comes with an off-centered twist, and in this case the ingredient is organic granola in homage to the Grateful Dead. The head is creamy. The nose is yeasty, with some caramel and a slight hint of orange. The middle is mostly balanced, with a bit more malt than hop. The flavors in the middle are caramel and orange, with a bit of rind and honey. There is some alcohol in the finish (and there should be, at 9.0% ABV) and a lingering sugar. The sugar right at the end is all that strikes me from the granola addition. It’s quite a nice beer, but not particularly special.
I give it a 4.0 out of 5.
This is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale from the Huyghe Family Brewery, which the bottle claims has been around since 1654. It’s a beautiful pale orange color in the glass with a head reminiscent of champagne foam, except for the fact that it’s persistent and only dissipates slowly. The nose is more fruity than yeasty, with peach and pear notes and a bit of grass. This middle is fruity and spicy. Strong pears and apples, and pepper and grains of paradise are evident. The finish is very interesting. It’s bitter, and reminds me of collard greens, or spinach, perhaps. Overall this is a wonderfully unique and finely crafted Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Very enjoyable.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.