Spew Brew Review: Pale Ales-Part I

Today we are venturing into a new type of beer; the pale ale.

As you can imagine, the pale ale gets the name from the light hue. This is opposed to the unpale ale; a hue considered by all people with vision as a darker than the previously mentioned hue.

There are many types of pale ales; blondes, English bitter, American pale, even IPAs. But today we are only considering the blondes and American pales. They are very similar to each other and are quite common in your local bars.

There is not too much to say about the pale ale. This style has been around for centuries, the pale hue comes from the type of malt that is used, and most of these brews are very light and ‘refreshing’, if you are into this stuff.

So let us see what five are in store for us today:

1. Fat Heads - Hans Gruber

6.2% ABV no IBU

First off, you have to love the name. Can you imagine Alan Rickman sipping a tall cold one while taunting Bruce Willis? A beer with his own name on it? So badass huh. Ho ho ho. As far as the quality of this offering from the good people from Portland, I liked it. It is pretty hoppy for a pale, so it tasted more like an IPA to me, which is a good thing. If you want a more refreshing and lighter fare, this is not the beer. But if you wanted to try something different than an IPA but in reality you actually wanted an IPA, this is the beer for you.

Rating: 3.5/5

2. Aslan - Dawn Patrol

5.3% ABV 18 IBU

Aslan is a brewery founded by the lion Aslan and was originally stationed in Narnia. Despite the huge popularity of Aslan in his homeland, the distribution opportunities were very limited; they pretty much had to wait for some spoiled asshole English kids to sneak into their world in order to increase their market. So they relocated to Bellingham Washington. The pale is not bad; a more standard brew than the previous. It is light, refreshing, and has a little bit more taste typical pales. However it rather boring. I mean it is still a pale, limited by it’s genetic makeup I guess. So sad.

Rating: 3/5

3. Georgetown - Johnny Utah

5.6% ABV 55 IBU

If you have read my previous beer posts, you have seen this brewery quite often. This is obviously due to the fact they distribute a lot in Seattle, and I really don’t travel that far to test these beers. Johnny Utah is quite commonly found in Seattle, especially during the summer. With 55 IBU’s that is getting dangerously close to IPA range. But it is far less bitter than their IPA, so I’ll grant them the pale ale status they so long for. Again, this is a nice beer, nothing too exciting. It has a hoppier drink than most pales, but it is sort of in no man’s land. Too mild for an IPA, too hoppy for a fan of the pale. It is a good beer if you want already had some punch-in-the-face beers earlier and need to settle down. Or you can just drink water and save money.

Rating: 3/5

4. E9 - Pales in Comparison Nelson

6.5% ABV no IBU

E9 is ‘Engine House 9’, a brewery from Tacoma that is housed in an old fire station. A group of ex-firemen decided to start brewing some beer and sell it to people like me. The place is actually really cool. Their beer is actually really not. They typically make bland and unexciting beer; it tastes like they brew from a ‘Beginner’s Guide to Home Brewing’ cook book. Not revolting but definitely not worth going out of your way. The pale is no different than their other stuff. Go to the place if you can, enjoy the food, but don’t be surprised if you can’t tell the difference between your pale and your water.

Rating: 2/5

5. Double Mountain - Pale Death (Belgian Pale)

9.5% ABV 93 IBU

OK, I lied earlier, I slipped in a different pale than the standard fare. But I was soooo tired of tasting the same thing over and over again. I had to try something more interesting. So welcome this little guy; 9.5% ABV and count’em 93 IBU!!! Yes my friend, this is even hoppier than a hoppy IPA. Double Mountain is an excellent brewery out of Hood River Oregon (Oregon maybe weird and off in many ways, but definitely not when it comes to their beer!) and this beer captures all the boldness that Double Mountain offers. But watch out!! This this will punch you in the gut, urinate on you face, and take your wallet. It is hyper-citrusy and uber-bitter. Oh yeah, and very strong; I think it can bench a mountain, maybe a double mountain……. Anyway, it is pretty good and has tons of flavor; ie: an extremely complex beer filled with pines, hops, hints of orange/pineapple/kiwi/mango rinds. But you really should not drink more than one of these. You night out may literally end in a Pale Death.

Rating: 3.5/5