Some beers were just made for sipping, and Founders Pale Ale is one of them. This is a beer that you could easily sip on all afternoon and never get tired of; I know I wouldn’t. These days, beer geeks are kind of spoiled, I think. We sometimes give a beer demerits if it hasn’t been DoubleImperialUber-ed up. In all honesty, though, you just can’t judge a soft pale ale made for gentle pulls or even hearty sips against such behemoths. A pale ale has to be judged against other pale ales, or what’s the point?
Hence, I give you Founders Pale Ale. This beer isn’t overpowering, but it is loaded with fresh hop flavor and a delicate malt palate. Founders Pale Ale isn’t just boiled with hops, it’s dry-hopped with them, too, in the fermenter and conditioning tanks. Founders references Cascades as the variety, and they do come out nicely in the finished brew. The beer is average in alcohol at 5.4% by volume and has 35 IBUs of bitterness.
I’ve enjoyed this treat in the bottle, but I have to admit that on draft Founders Pale Ale is legendary. A mug from a freshly tapped keg at Taco Mac arrived before me, and amazingly crisp malt aromas accented with a subtle hop aroma wafted to my nose even before the mug hit the bar.
The beer is a light yellow amber color with a medium-sized soft creamy head floating atop. I couldn’t resist a sip: the same crisp malty flavor the nose promised appeared in the palate, and I found myself thinking this was much like chewing on a handful of biscuit pale malt. Fruity soft apple and pear are readily apparent, and the beer has a gentle drying herbal hop finish. It’s quite aromatic, and a gentle bitterness lingers on the tongue after sipping.
Important safety note: to best appreciate all the delicate flavors going on in a beer like Founders Pale Ale, you must not drink it overly chilled. It’s best cool, not cold, as this will allow the flavor to really come out.
The keyword when talking about Founders Pale Ale is balance. All the elements are well presented but none cancels the other out, and the hop bitterness and aroma, soft biscuity malt, and yeast fruitiness all work hand in hand to deliver one amazing exbeerience. In many ways, Founders Pale Ale reminds me of Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale and Deschutes Mirror Pond Ale as some of the most balanced, easiest drinking beers on the planet. Yet they’re all packed with flavor, too. If you know higher praise for a beer than that, let me know, and I’ll use it.
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.