So now, it appears, we’re getting Breckenridge beers in
Georgia. That’s a good thing, of course, because I have enjoyed the examples
of Colorado’s Breckenridge beer I’ve had in the past, especially the Oatmeal
Stout. Ah, that oatmeal stout. But tonight, I’m not drinking an oatmeal sout,
I’m trying a bottle of the brewery’s Trademark pale Ale, a beer I’ve
not yet sampled before.
I’m not sure that the brewery is quite sure what to make of their own beer,
and I know for a fact that I am not myself. On their website, Breckenridge
calls this an American pale ale by style. American pales are sort of an
in-between style, straddling the standard pale ale we all know and love and
IPAs. They are hoppier than the former, but less so than the latter.
On the bottle, though, Breckenridge calls this a classic English pale ale,
an appellation I don’t agree with based on my samples. The alcohol (5.7% by
volume) and 40 IBUs of bitterness are closer to an APA, and it certainly
tastes hoppy enough. Hop varieties used are Perle, Wilamette, Bramling,
Fuggle, Czech Saaz per the company’s web site. But enough talk, let’s get
right down to a glass, shall we?
I pop the cap off of my bottle of Breckenridge Trademark Pale Ale and
immediately put my nose to the mouth of the bottle. That doesn’t really tell
me what the beer will be like as well as the aromas I get when I pour the
beer into a glass and allow it to breathe a little, but I do get a wonderful
rush from the concentrated resiny hop aromas that rush to my nostrils. Some
people sniff flowers, I sniff beer bottles. Sue me.
Anyway, on pouring into a glass I get a ruby tinted amber liquid with a
thick creamy head and a slightly fruity, resiny hop nose. A fine layer of
Brussels lace clings to the sides of the glass as the liquid descends, too.
I take a sip, and I immediately get faint notes of caramel malt, enough to
make its presence known briefly, if only briefly.
That’s because the hops quickly take over and wash over my tongue with a
slightly piney-resiny aroma. It's at this point, too, that you realize that
the body is thinner than it needs to be to stand up to all those hops. They
really dominate the brew from that point on, too, becoming very bitter in
the finish, harshly so, and almost astringent. There is a floral aroma, some
tea-like herbal character, and a decided bitterness in the finish. Dare I
say too bitter?
Did I just say too bitter?
Not that I have anything against bitter, mind you. I love bitter. But I
appreciate balance, too, and I’m not getting that here. This beer is way out
of balance and needs more malt to it. Sure, an APA is supposed to be more
bitter than a pale ale, but I should still get enough malt to know that it’s
there, at least longer than I did here.
It’s not really a bad beer, mind you, but not one I would go out of my way
to try again. I’d take a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale over this one anytime.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.