Friday, September 19, 2008

Smuttynose Brewing Co: Shoals Pale Ale

Smuttynose is a fairly well-known brewery on the East Coast, especially as you move further towards New England. They have a full lineup of different brews, and I grabbed a variety pack, so hopefully I'll be posting on several different ones over the coming weeks. I'll start with their Pale.

The American Pale has diverged quite a bit from its roots in England (where it goes by the name of "Bitter"). Think Sierra Nevada: a bright hoppy flavor accented by a subtle citrus sweet maltiness. Smuttynose pulls back a bit from there, and while I wouldn't call it a traditional English style pale by any means, it definitely bears some similarities to its old-world predecessor. It has a much earthier malt than you usually find in an American brew, and the hops are notably dry. However, there are much more in the way of hops than you'd expect to find in an English brew, and it is also Americanesque in its level of carbonation. All in all, that leaves it with a decisively crisp and dry flavor that lingers on the tongue for quite a while.

While it doesn't qualify as a true English bitter, "bitter" is definitely the best word to describe this brew. So if you don't generally like bitter beers, you best stay away. But if you find yourself in the mood for something on the dry side and you like your hops, then this is definitely one to try.

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