SweetWater Brewing Co.
420 Extra Pale Ale
This is a gorgeous beer – a golden orange, late summer sunset over a hayfield, with a slight haze from the lack of pasteurization adding to the effect. A crackly lemon sorbet head persists at over half an inch. That same foam catches at the edges of the glass and the ultra-fine carbonation is frenetic and constant.
The nose is sticky sweet like an orange Creamsicle. Some subtle pine needles emerge as slow and as sap, and with the malt coming through just as sweet with mild sourdough pungency. This is shaping up to be an elegant English pale.
The mouthfeel is good, though the start of the first sip is a bit thin. It kicks it up a bit though after a couple of sips and the warmth of my hand around the glass. There is no hop uppercut – everything here is subtle. The wash of hops is very green with lettuce and cucumber being the most distinctive tastes. The malt provides some breadth to the sip and expands out from the middle of the tongue with touches of honey and caramel malt.
Certainly a good session beer (though at a shade over 5%, I’m not sure if it technically qualifies) and if you don’t necessarily want a full-on assault on the palate, this beer is like the perfect blind date: beautiful, smells nice, and has a lot more character than you initially thought. There’s a funny simile about lace in there somewhere, too, but I’ll let it go.