What a burden research is. I considered the state of the English pale ale just a couple of weeks ago and now find myself again facing four pale ales armed with nothing but time and an opener. Interesting to note the two examples from Massachusetts - Endurance and Fisherman's Brew - and the Scrimshaw from California all have nautical themes. Dang-nabbit!!! Scrimshaw's a pilsner. Too late. I like the picture, my Bay of Fundy Weir Fisherman from John Neville. And as for Dale...well...maybe Dale like boats but he is stuck in Colorado and compensates by running a blues bar. That's got to be it. Too late now anyway. I like that photo too much.
- Dale's Pale Ale: Sibling to Old Chub, that lovely and well hidden 8% brown ale from Oskar Blues Brewery of Lyons Colorado. I ran a good short interview with Marty of the brewery when I reviewed Old Chub in March so when I got the six of Dale's and droped Marty a line. He wrote back:
Alan, That's killer!Isn't that the sort of brewer you want to support? Well, as long as they make good beer. The good news is they do. Dale's pour a clear orange-amber under a tan rocky head giving off a orange peel and spiced malt aroma. Smooth and round at the front of the mouth, it opens to textured graininess then some heat and then, very late, a great bitter twiggy hoppiness. At 6.5% this is not a session beer so much as a sofa and rec room session beer. Was it built for BBQ? That cutting hop at the end would do wonders up against glazed smokey ribs. Six percent of BAers are apparently people I do not want to meet. The other 94% approve of Dale's Pale Ale.
I'm having a Dale's right now, too! Just been out on a walk around downtown D-town with my beloved and dogs. Met a cat named Albert, pushing a shopping cart half full with aluminum cans (hmmm) and a Bible. Me, pointing to the Bible: "That's the most valuable thing in your cart." Albert: "Well, I have some recyclables, too."
Cheers to good beers and the various riches the world has to offer...
- Endurance Pale Ale: It looks like a contract operation as the bottle says:
Brewed and Bottled for Endurance Brewing Company by Mercury Brewing and Distribution Company Inc., Ipswitch, MAA perfect moment to open up my excellent but yet-to-be-reviewed review copy of The Good Beer Guide to New England by Andy Crouch. Hmm...no reference to Endurance that I am seeing and apparently Mercury, maker of a bazillion brews, is the only brewery in New England that would not respond to Crouch's inquiries. No never mind. Mercury and Endurance have snazzy websites, the latter with (imagine) a flash intro page. Endurance's "brewery tour" web page does say "coming soon" which makes one think that Crouch may not be the only one having a hard time getting a decent view of the wort.
But, as I said, no never mind. This is about the beer and the beer pours deep straw with white foam and rim. The ale is a little less than clear with a suspension of particulate of the sort that makes me think of the word yum. Sip: a stocky note, just a tad musty like the Moosehead ales of my youth and in the nature of Northumberland Ale by Church-Key. Drying astringent hop and pale malt graininess with some fall apple fruit underneath. This is quite fine and if I didn't know anything (which I do not) I would think this is actually modelled after an old style Maritime Canadian pale. Not unlikely as Ipswich is on Cape Ann, home of a massive fishing industry which works, on that unseen line through the fishing banks, along with the Nova Scotian fleet and over which line, according to tales I have heard, more than a few bottles are tossed. Your great uncle's dream of a beer. Quality but, like your great uncle, not immediately embraceable. Almost a fifth of BAers ask questions.
- Fisherman's Brew: from Cape Ann Brewing Company in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The beer pours deep orange with a tan rim and foam. Lively carbonation but not a great deal of aroma. In the mouth there is a really well balanced combination of light dry fruit, green hop, bread crust graininess and a bit of heat even at only 5.5%. A good lingering rich finish. The effect is very moreish though there is a notch more than the usual body you might expect from a beer of this strength and for $7.99 a six. This is a brew I will certainly hunt out when I am in New England again. Oh, hell. Andy Crouch points out this is a lager as well, though if you put it next to a Shipyard Export or, more to the point, a Mendocino Eye of the Hawk you would be hard pressed to tell the styles apart let alone the yeast strains. Whatever. Regardless. It is very fine.