FlacoAlto (3450) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - DEC 14, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
A steady pour into my New Belgium Globe glass produces a two-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head that has a somewhat creamy consistency; this leaves some nice, sticky lacing on the sides of my glass as I take each sip. The beer is a bright, copper-gold color that shows a brilliantly clear, beautiful, almost metallic, yellow-gold hue when held up to the light. My first take at the nose smells like a mix of cracker and bread like pale malt, ample citrus, floral tropical fruit notes and a touch of herbal spiciness. Specific hop aromas of lychee, floral tangelo zest, touches of kumquat zest, and just a bright citrus oil character are the most prevalent notes here, but there is a touch of woody herbal notes (brought out by the pale malt character), and perhaps a hint of smooth, peppery spiciness.
Dry up front, with a prickly carbonation and a bitter hop bite to it, the latter is tempered by a chewy, cracker like malt character that is found in the beginning and middle but succumbs to the bitter, slightly astringent, hop character in the long finish. The bright citrus character from the nose is muted significantly in the flavor due to the beer being so dry, but the hop fruit character still plays a significant role here. Ample herbal hop flavors, a touch of grassiness, a sort of menthol / mint note, and perhaps a touch of something like sage / basil (though this last is more a non-descript herbal note), in addition to a peppery, bitter hop character that ends quite clean. Specific fruit notes of citrus oil, tangelo zest, Meyer lemon, and something like a floral tropical fruit like notes are all fairly noticeable. Light and eminently quaffable, but it still has some viscosity to it that provides a light structure to the malt and hop flavors. As the beer warms up an essential oil of citrus like flavor starts to become more prominent and tends to linger on the palate from the beginning to long finish of each sip.
I wish this had more of the juicy, hop fruit character in the flavor that it does in the nose; having said that, this would require more residual sugar, and a less quaffable brew, so it is a bit of a trade-off. This is a typical complaint for a Pale Ale though, and is a bit unfair, as a good Pale Ale should be dry, and I should really be looking for an IPA for more supporting sweetness. Spot on for the new breed of vibrantly hoppy, super tasty Pale Ales. I really like the supporting malt character here it is nicely noticeable, and somehow complex compared to your typical Pale Ale (especially given how pale in color this is). Interestingly enough this one seems to fade a bit after the first pint, the juicy fruit, hop character becomes more muted, though it still isn’t anything less than pronounced.