San Diego’s craft beer scene is one of the best in the country, so standing out is no easy task, but Alesmith has managed to do just that for over 20 years.
They made a name for themselves in late 1990’s and have been awarded Small Brewing Company of the Year, Brewer of the Year as well as #1 Best Brewery in the World by RateBeer.com. In recent years they’ve moved to a new state of the art facility, boasting the largest tasting room in San Diego.
SD Pale Ale .394 is a golden pale with American hop flavor, brewed to commemorate Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and his career high batting average of .394.
ABV: 6.0% IBU’s: 13
Pour: Hazy with a slight golden color, plenty of carbonation in the bottom of the glass.
Head: Thick off and off white, really frothy.
Nose: Floral with hints of hops and little bit of wheat.
Palate: Light bodied and slightly creamy with a malt background. Little bit of hops without being bitter. Finish is clean with almost no bitterness.
Overall: It’s been a while since I had a Pale Ale that really stood out. The creaminess mixed with the subtle hop aromas really plays off each other and the finish was quick and to the point, almost like a malty session IPA. A great pairing with a classic cheeseburger or some pumpkin pie.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
Tucked away on a side street in Emmaus, PA is a dedicated brewer Kyle Funk, who’s hard at work putting out award-winning IPAs, lagers and other assorted varieties. The Funk Brewing Company has been producing beer in this Sixth Street building since February 2014, though his title of brewer began over 12 years ago. 80 miles to the north, a second taproom has been opened by Kyle’s brother-in-law, John Norman, with a focus on locally sourced menu, wines, and ciders.
Pour: A really nice hazy golden color, cloudy enough where you can’t see carbonation in the glass.
Head: A thin head quickly forms and disappears, sticking to the edge of the glass.
Nose: Hoppy. Almost what you would expect from an IPA, but with more of malty background. Lots of fruit, citrus and notes of a tropical fruits, followed by some pine.
Palate: Medium bodied, juicy at first then malts surface showing its weight. Some lighter citrus notes but not as much of tropical fruit as expected from the nose. Slightly acidic but finishes quickly without leaving much behind.
Overall: A pretty solid Pale Ale. At first seemed more like an IPA but came around after warming a bit. Not my first choice when it’s warmer out, the fruit notes here make this a little more approachable in the summer months. Plus it’s sold exclusively in cans making it easy to take along on your next outdoor adventure. Pairs well with burgers, cheddar cheeses or a classic bread pudding.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
In 1979, Ken Grossman began a small brewery in the town of Chico, California. His goal, to brew exceptional ales and lagers. Today, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is considered to be one of the premier craft breweries in the United States. While their flagship Pale Ale is often the standard other are measured by, the brewery offers over 16 different beers throughout the year. Dedicated to being “green,” powered by solar energy and using bio-diesel for their delivery trucks, Sierra Nevada was the Green Business of the Year in 2010.
Sidecar Orange Pale is a new addition to the Sierra Nevada year round collection. A hoppy pale brewed with a range of hops and fresh orange peels being added to the kettle and fermenter.
This beers a slightly hazy amber color with mild carbonation. A small one finger head forms leaving some lacing behind.
Aromas of hops with some light fruit notes, mostly orange and tangerine. Some maltiness in the background with some earthy pine notes to round it out.
Sidecar has a medium body with rounded balance of hops and malts. Some orange notes up front but fades to more of hoppiness pretty quick. The finish has a fruity sweetness to it before ending with a smooth acidity.
A nice change of pace from the standard Pale Ale, as the orange peels impact a nice flavor without being the main event. Enjoyable year round with a solid malt backbone for the chillier months with a citrus punch to enjoy when the weather warms up. This would pair well with a bacon cheeseburger, grilled fish or sharp and specialty cheeses.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Pints out of 5
Lagunitas is one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in the United States. Founded in 1993 by Tony Magee, the brewery is known for iconoclastic interpretations of traditional beer styles, and irreverent descriptive text and stories on its packaging. 12th of Never Ale is part of their un-limited release series, a hop-forward American Pale Ale expressed in a moderate voice.
This beer pours a clear yellow/golden color with a medium white head and high carbonation. The head dissipates pretty quickly leaving no lacing behind.
On the nose, hops of course take center stage followed by a tropical fruitiness. Citrus notes and papaya seem to show the most. There is a malty characteristic but isn’t very dominate.
A light bodied ale that brings some structure, 12th of Never is not as light as a session ale but still has crush-ability. A solid blend of hops gives off a smooth bitterness and citrus note, but doesn’t linger around. A good amount of oranges, lemons and spice build to give this beer a clean and refreshing profile. Some malts on the finish bring this together for an ale that can be enjoyed in all seasons.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Pints
The Bronx Brewery is a small, craft brewery in the Port Morris section of the South Bronx. It was launched in 2011 by a small team with two things in common: a maniacal focus on creating high-quality beer and a passion for the Bronx and New York City. Its traditionally-crafted pales ales use only premium and minimally-processed materials to create fresh, bold beer from a borough known for its own uniquely bold character. One of their newest offerings is their Summer Pale Ale.
The beer pours a clear golden straw color. The lofty white head dissipates quickly and leaves behind minimal lacing.
Aromas of citrus, dominated by notes of lemon zest, leap from the glass. Notes of crisp pale malts mingle perfectly with citrus, grassy and floral hop notes. The bouquet is rather simple, yet is well balanced.
The bouquet is realized on the palate. Refreshingly delicious notes of lemon zest make an appearance right away. Crisp pale malts provide a solid backbone. Grassy and citrus hop notes add balance and provide a slight bittering on the finish.
Bronx Brewery hit the nail on the head creating a crisp, refreshing and easy drinking beer for the summer months. Try pairing this one with Munster, grilled Salmon with citrus aioli or lemon poppy Bundt cake.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3 Out of 5 Pints
Lagunitas is one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in the United States. Founded in 1993 by Tony Magee, the brewery is known for iconoclastic interpretations of traditional beer styles, and irreverent descriptive text and stories on its packaging. CitruSinensis, an American Pale Ale brewed with blood oranges, is the newest addition to the One Hitter Series.
The beer pours a deep orange amber with copper hues. The thin white head dissipates quickly and leaves behind a light soapy lacing. The carbonation is notable with a steady stream of little bubbles rising to the top of the glass.
Aromas of citrus fruits dominate the nose. Notes of grapefruit pith, orange juice and lemon zest all shine through. Sweet tropical fruit aromas of pineapple and mango are also discernible. Piney, grassy and earthy hop notes round out the bouquet.
On the palate, sweet and juicy orange notes pack a punch. The lemon and grapefruit from the bouquet revisit along with sweet tropical fruit notes. A resinous pine note adds a bitter balance to the sweetness of the fruits. A hint of pale malt adds complexity and further balance.
A great refreshing and balanced beer from Lagunitas. Watch yourself with this one – the 7.9% alcohol is very well hidden! Try it with aged cheddar, Scallops L’Orange or cranberry orange tartlets.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Pints
The Left Hand Brewery in Longmont, Colorado opened for business on January 22, 1994. Started by college buddies Dick Doore and Eric Wallace, the idea first came to light when Dick received a home brewing kit from his brother in the early 1990’s. Their first attempt was Sawtooth Ale, which has since become Left Hand’s most popular brew. Today, Doore and Wallace make over 2 dozen beers, distributed in 29 states. One of their latest creations is an Imperial Ginger Pale Ale named Great JuJu.
The beer pours a rich clear gold color with copper hues. The rather thin beige head shows great retention. Once the head dissipates, a light lacing remains.
On the nose, a strong fresh ginger root aroma is met with aromas of lemongrass. Pine, herbal, and floral hop notes are also easy to detect. A sweet malty note cuts the spiciness of the ginger and mellows the bouquet.
The palate offers a plethora of fresh ginger root. In addition to ginger, fresh citrus notes dominated by lemon are present. The hops add notes of pine, grass and white flowers. A caramel malt note adds a strong backbone and balances the beer beautifully. While the ginger is front and center, JuJus is balanced with the malt and hops.
A Great JuJu indeed. This is a very refreshing beer that feels like spring. The alcohol is very well hidden. Try pairing this one with Manchego, spicy Schezuan chicken or lemon bars.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out of 5 Pints