All hail the pale ale. When you think about it, pale ale is where it all began for today’s current craft brew craze in America. I’m talking about India Pale Ales of course, but if Allsopp, Bass and other brewers hadn’t exported highly hopped pale ales to India (amongst the first India Pale Ales) where would we be? And those early IPAs were all a natural evolution of the pale ale.
Today, so-called “session IPAs” are all the rage. For my taste, they are too thin of malt and tilt too heavily towards the hop. I much prefer a classic pale ale the likes of Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale. It’s hoppy (but not too hoppy) like a good pale ale should be, and has a solid malt backbone to support those hops.
The brewery says this about the beer on the can:
The people of Tampa Bay have fallen prey to Pirate invasion every year for well over 100 years. After more than a century of failing to repel these seafaring raiders in their anachronistic wooden ships, despite access to modern sea, land and air arsenals that ostensibly should make short work of wind powered vessels equipped with naught but cast iron cannons and raging scurvy, it occurred to the folks of Cigar City Brewing that if you can’t beat them start saying Arrrr Matey! And so we have brewed Invasion Pale Ale, a tropical session beer brewed for those long days of marauding, pillaging and pirating. Cheers!
Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale, a year-round brew, has an alcohol content of 5% by volume with 36 IBUs. 5% does not qualify as session strength (that would be 4% and under), but really you can session anything if you want to. It’s all about pacing my friends. Cigar City beers only show up sporadically here in the Atlanta metro area, but it just so happened that an entire pallet of Cigar City Invasion Pale had just been set out at Total Wine, so I snagged a six-pack for $9.99. Mine was canned on march 5th of 2015 so it’s very fresh indeed as I sip and take notes.
Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale pours to a hazy yellow orange color with a very thick head of rocky foam and a rich fruity nose of passion fruit and citrus. Taking a sip, the beer has a light caramel maltiness up front followed by lots of fruit: orange juice citrus, more passion fruit, grapefruit peel. There's a gentle grassy bitterness at the last consistent with a good pale ale as well.
The can exhorts the drinker to “Drink Fresh! Do not age!” I would agree with that. This is a well-balanced beer between malt and hop, and it comes close to a few of my favorite examples of the style Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale and Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale might be a little over the top on the fruitiness for some, but I for one loved it. Don’t miss it my friends.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.