Archive for the ‘American Craft Beer Revolution’ Tag

Full Sail Pale Ale Review

Full Sail Pale Ale

Full Sail Pale Ale

Brewery: Full Sail Brewing Company (Hood River, Oregon)

ABV: 5.4%

IBU: 37

Hops: Two “top secret” Northwest hop varieties, according to the company’s website

Malts: Pale and Crystal

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

I read Patrick O’Brian’s novel, Master and Commander, last week. It is the first installment of a twenty volume series that chronicles life in British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. As you might imagine, the book is chock full of nautical terms like larboard, flying jib and mizzen topgallant staysail. I have to admit that when I visited my local beer victualler I had sails and sailing on the brain so Full Sail’s nautical motif and the word “Independent,” which was emblazoned on the packaging, persuaded me to pick up a six-pack of their pale ale to review.

Given the company’s name, we were surprised to discover that Full Sail Brewing wasn’t nestled in some rugged and rocky Oregon coast town. Hood River, the company’s home, is inland about forty-five miles east of Portland. And the sails in the their name don’t refer to O’Brian’s menagerie of brigs, frigates and “ships of the line” but instead refer to the sails of windsurfing fanatics that crowd Hood River because of the winds that blaze down the Columbia River Gorge.

Full Sail is yet another fine example of the American Craft Beer Revolution. It started as a micro-brew pub in 1987. They started bottling their concoctions the next year and the rest, as they say, is history. Today Full Sail offers three “Core Brews”: an Amber Ale, an India Pale Ale, and a Pale Ale.  They augment these core ales with four season specialties and an aged reserve beer. The Pale Ale is the first Full Sail brew we’ve had.

So how was it?

Appearance: It poured clear amber with lots of small bubbles. There was a small (one finger) white head that disappeared quickly and left minimal lacing.

Smell: Sweet, malty, yeasty, honey and citrus with a hint of pine or lemon.

Taste: The attack is sweet, bready and malts with some honey, floral and candy notes, but it yields quickly to citrusy hops. And the hoppy finish lingers.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, medium-bodied with slight carbonation. Smooth and balanced.

Drinkability: Full Sail Pale Ale has quickly become a Spring time favorite in our house. The juxtaposition between the malty attack and the hoppy finish is fascinating. Full Sail Pale Ale is a tasty and balanced daily drinker.

Food pairings: Pizza Margherita, roasted beet salad with a light vinaigrette dressing or chicken with South Carolina mustard-based barbeque sauce.

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New Belgium Mighty Arrow Pale Ale Review

Mighty Arrow Pale Ale

New Belgium Mighty Arrow Pale Ale

Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Company

ABV: 6%

IBU: 34

Hops: Target, Goldings, Cascade, Amarillo

Malts: Pale, Honey, Caramel

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

As y’all know, we named our humble blog after our two dogs, a pair of crazy border collie mixes named Rowdy and Indy. The ale we are reviewing today – New Belgium’s Mighty Arrow Pale Ale – was also named for border collie mix, Arrow, who spent a great deal of time roaming around the grounds of New Belgium.

You’ve heard of New Belgium, right? The Fort Collins, Colorado-based brewery is one of the great success stories of the American Craft Beer Revolution. It was started by Jeff Lebesch in a cramped basement in 1991 after a mountain bike ride through Belgium, and it is now the third largest craft beer maker in the country.  Being we are also mountain bikers, it was easy to get behind a brewer who also supports cycling with its “Bike-in-Theater” and the “Tour de Fat” that allows folks to trade their cars in for fancy New Belgium designed bikes. Also supportive of the environment and sustainability, New Belgium has joined the group “1% for the Planet,” whose members give 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide .

Now on to the really good stuff – the beer!  They offer eight tasty beers year round, including their famous Fat Tire Ale, Mothership Wit (an organically-produced beer) and Ranger IPA, as well as a variety of seasonal brews like their (American) Pale Ale.

“Wait a minute,” you protest, “Why are you reviewing a Pale Ale, a warm weather brew, in the beginning of March?” Well, after a long and cold winter, Spring has sprung down here in the South. Daffodils are up already, tulip trees (a.k.a. saucer magnolias) have bloomed, and the peach trees are blossoming. So it’s the perfect time to break out a Spring cerveza.

So how was Mighty Arrow Pale Ale?

Appearance: The ale poured into the glass alive and bubbly. It glowed golden and clear under a thick, sea foam-like head. The head lingered for a long time and painted our pint glasses with intricate lacing.

Smell: Citrus, yeast, bread, copper, pine and lemon.

Taste: Grapefruit and apricot are the dominant – almost overwhelming – flavors. We also detected the more subtle flavors of Thai basil and lime, though. There is a slightly metallic bitterness at the back of the tongue. Very dry.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp on the palate. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Would we have another one?  Yes. The Mighty Arrow Pale Ale went down easily. We opened another one after we finished our “review” beer. It wasn’t sticky; the ale’s crispness cleared the palate quickly.

Food pairings: Mighty Arrow Pale Ale would go well with hummus with a bit of good olive oil and goat cheese trickled across the top with pita chips. You could also enjoy it with fish (or shrimp) tacos or a dish of pasta tossed with fresh halved cherry tomatoes, a dash of kosher salt, fresh chiffonade of basil, olive oil and garlic. The ale’s citrus flavors would also compliment grilled fruit skewers – apricots, nectarines, cherries, plums simply skewered and grilled – or something along the lines of this recipe for Grilled Plum and Strawberry Skewers with Sweet Mint Pesto: http://www.recipe.com/grilled-plum-and-strawberry-skewers-with-sweet-mint-pesto/