Sunday, February 27, 2011

Smuttynose: Shoals Pale Ale - not "just" a Pale Ale

The latest from Mark included a Smuttynose, Shoals Pale Ale. This is their British style pale ale. Mark has given me a couple of New England beers this time around which pulls at my heart strings. I'm originally from New England and can almost never get some of the great small brews from there (and some of the larger ones). Thanks Mark for sending me a little reminder of home.

Now on to the beer!

The Shoals Pale Ale has a nice copper color with a small head of fine bubbles. The head lingers and helps create a creaminess on your lips as you drink it. It has only a little haze and you can see the carbonation rise up from the bottom of the glass like champagne.

You definitely pick up fresh hop aromas as you open the bottle and pour it. The first thing that hits your pallet is the creaminess of this beer. The head isn't very large but it really settles on your tongue. It gives it a little body but dulls the malt flavors a bit. The hops bite immediately at the back of your tongue and then as you swallow settle in pleasantly on the sides. The fresh tartness has hints of lemon and pine you can taste the signature Cascade citrus and Chinook pine flavors. It's a nice beer for a cold rainy day that you're likely to get from March to June in Portsmouth New Hampshire (or in Seattle).

The malts are there but hiding under the creamy texture and the hops. It's a nice fresh hoppy beer and a strong Pale ale.  I am still amazed at the creaminess of this beer! I'm 2/3's through and it is still there. Almost like a nitro stout. It's a nice pleasant surprise. If it weren't for the creamy texture this beer would be a bit unremarkable. It's staying power and ability to balance the hops is impressive and really pleasing. Nice work to Smuttynose on taking on the army of pale ales out there and making something that stands out.

3.5 Stars on the Mark o'meter

Pros: Amazing smooth creamy mouthfeel and fresh well defined hops flavor help this stand out in the crowd.

Cons: Creaminess covers the malt flavors so you don't get the full British pale ale experience.

Verdict: A great session beer on a cold blustery day.

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