Real Ale Brewing Co.
Rio Blanco Pale Ale
Except for Fireman’s 4, I’ve avoided Real Ale because of the brewery name – ‘real ale’ being what Brits call cask-conditioned beer and the movement toward beer stewardship. A bad reason, I know. Nonetheless, Real Ale comes highly recommended by Texans, so who am I to discriminate. Anyway, I really like the green of the label.
A frothy, off-white head rushes up to about an inch before descending rapidly, though the large mug I’m using may have attributed to the dispersal.
The nose is maltier than you might expect at first, but the hops come through, and they are interesting, for sure. Citrus notes are evident – grapefruit and orange – but a grassy, lagery aroma seems to propel itself forward. The bottle advertises that the beer is “accented with Czech Saaz hops”, those most noble of Noble hops used in pilsner, so everything makes sense.
The mouthfeel is excellent. More carbonation than you’d expect after glancing at the few pearl strands around the glass, and a sweet, buttery texture. The first flavor is certainly grain – barley cereal or toasted oatmeal – but this sets the stage for a sort of honey-crisp snap that rides a wave of slightly citric hops into a stellar tangy finish.
At 5.3%, it’s a great, almost-session brew that has a great body and a lot of complexity. Sort of like all those artist/lingerie model types you always meet.