What do you on a gloomy Sunday afternoon when your Tigers are winning and you’ve just had three days of mountain biking a one day of trail work? That’s right. You drink beer.
Rewinding back to my birthday, I went to Steve and Danielle’s for dinner, cake, and hoppy goodness with my friends. At the end of the evening, Kristi gave me two beers to take home—two that I’ve never tried. Yesterday, I decided to try those beers and do a little brew review including some of my favorites that are currently in my fridge. Incidentally, these beers are all from Colorado or Michigan.
Dale’s Pale Ale, Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, Colorado
Dale’s Pale Ale is described as “a huge, voluminously hopped mutha of a pale ale” on the vessel that houses this big brew. I immediately smelled the hoppy aroma of this 6.5% beast of a beer when I popped open the can. It smelled goooooood, which is what I want from a beer. If it doesn’t have a nice aroma, it’s going to lose some brownie points.
I poured the fragrant beverage into a pint glass. It had an inviting orange color with no head. The first sip surprised me. The forward bitterness was a turn off at first, probably because I wasn’t expecting it, but subsequent sips brought about a noticeable maltiness that balanced the ale. It contains exactly what I hope to encounter from any pale ale: moderately bitter flavor combined with a citrusy aroma. I could see myself easily imbibing many cans of this stuff, especially after a challenging mountain bike ride on a sunny day.
Stranger American Pale Ale, Left Hand Brewing Company, Longmont, Colorado
I was interested in trying Lefthand’s Stranger American Pale Ale because I’ve had my share of their milk stout and really enjoyed it. According to Lefthand Brewing Company’s website, “Initial impressions are not always reality, so you must delve deeper.” Unfortunately, my initial impression of this brew was pretty accurate. I tried sip after sip hoping that this ale would open up to something delightful. Not that this pale ale isn’t good—it is—but I don’t think it’s great. It’s not as bitter as I would expect, but I do get a mild citrus flavor.
This isn’t a beer I would buy, mostly because there are better options, but it’s not a beer I would turn down…at least, not on most days. It doesn’t have any strong flavors, so it’s not offensive making it easy to drink, but it doesn’t have a flavor that wows me either. There is some spiciness to it—something I appreciate in wine, but not something I like in beer.
Dry Hopped Pale Ale, Founders, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale is one of my favorite beers. In fact, this is my gateway beer into the world of hoppiness. Founders proudly sponsors mountain biking on the west side of the state, and it poured freely at both of the Midwest Mountain Bike Summits that I attended in Grand Rapids. After the second year, I didn’t just find this beer tolerable; I craved it. It took a while, but Founders turned me into a fan.
This pale ale is a golden-orange color testifying to the bright happiness that you will encounter in a pint glass. Unfortunately, after two other pale ales and an empty stomach, I can’t really taste much from this, but I can tell you from plenty of experience that Founder’s Pale Ale offers a nice maltiness balanced with hoppy goodness…and it smells GREAT.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this increasingly intoxicating brew review of pale ales from Colorado and Michigan. I know I have!
By the way, the Tigers beat the White Sox 5-2.