This brew provides a great education in the timing of hop additions. I know you were sitting there day after day wonder when I was going to mention the importance of the timing of hop additions. Well, this is the day because this brew provides a great education in the timing of hop additions.
Usually, pale ale brewing asks for three differing moments for adding hops: at the outset of the boil, at roughly the 3/4 point of the boil and at the end of the boil. These additions add bittering taste, hop flavour and aroma respectively so by balancing the relative quantity of each addition you set the hop profile of a beer - lots of bitter but low aroma or lots of green flavour and aroma but little bitter at the start. As we have recently learned the Dogfish Head brewery of Delaware has a line of ales with non-stop hop addition though the boil but that is not the norm, thought it is lovely. If you consider the 86 varieties of hop and hop packaging available through this homebrew supplier, you can see that there are about one bazillion ways that a beer's hop profile can play out. Just about. Yup.
This is our interpretation of a classic pale ale. Our "XP" (exceptional pale) has a golden color, and is very light bodied with a noticeable hop aroma and bittering element that just teases the hopheads but satisfies the newest of microbrewed ale drinkers. This beer is brewed with American Two Row, English wheat, Belgian, and Dextrin malts. Mix this with just the right amounts of Cascade and Centennial hops and you've got a winner!! 2003 Real Ale Festival, Chicago, Bronze Medal Winner; 2001 North American Brewers' Awards, Gold Medal Winner; 2000 California State Fair, Bronze Medal Winner; 1997 Beerfest Invitational, Bronze Medal Winner - og 1.052, ABV 5.4%, IBU 55.See that little bit of info at the end? That means 55 International Bitterness Units. I have known people who rated on the IBU scale but that is entirely another matter.
The beer pours a nice orange cream head over a very orangey amber brew. As the brewer notes the body is light for a real ale but frankly nothing like what most would call a real ale. But unlike, say, a big hoppy bomb like Stone's Ruination IPA the first sip is inviting rather than intimidating. Also unlike a lot of pale ales, other flavours of green and twiggy bitter start only jumping in mid-mouth ending with a further nice bit of spice in the swallow. It is a sort of back-ended ale and that is all due to the focus on adding hops later in the boil. Certainly there are some of the early bittering hops as these are needed to cut out the cloy of maltiness. The malt in this case is very fruity with a lean towards pear and even orange rather than the appley notes you often get with pale malt. In the malt there is a good measure of English wheat giving a nod to what would be called a Yorkshire style of pale ale. The wheat is not grassy as you get with many European styles of wheat beer. It is sort of fresh cut sweet hardwoody there in the middle. Lots of yeast in the glass at the end. Yeast good.
As you can see, there is a lot to take from this beer and if there are others by the brewer next time I am down at Galeville, I may try and grab some. $4.39 for a 22 oz bomb so not cheap but worth it...and the advocates agree.