Nick Carr on April 13, 2015 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Alaskan Brewing Co. Location: Juneau, AK Style: American Pale Ale ABV: 5.7% IBU: 45 Original Gravity: 1.050 Appearance: Sunny Copper Color with Off-White Frothy Head Aroma: Hoppiness. Strong Pine with Notes of Peach, Pear & Citrus. Flavor: Explosion of Crisp Hops With Malty Foundation; Clean Fruity Characteristics; Availability: Spring Seasonal Pairs With: Light Fish Dishes, Pizza, Tacos, Mac & Cheese, Colby Cheese, Bread Pudding The new Spring seasonal for Alaskan Brewing, Big Mountain pale ale, caught my eye on a trip to the grocery store. I love there beer, so I jump at the chance to try anything new they to put into the pipeline… and hey, why not throw in a review while I’m at it, right? The first thing I have to say here is that I am very sorry to see their last spring seasonal exit. Their ESB, the last beer to hold this position, was truly magnificent. But I guess I should look on the bright side and realize it gives me something new to try. Stay positive right? That’s what it’s all about. The American pale ale style was an adaption of the English pale ale. What’s the difference then? It will usually have less caramel and other malt flavors going, it may taste cleaner, crisper in some respects because of fewer by-products left over from fermentation. The ingredients also play a large role in Americanizing the style, especially the hops. Just as with IPA’s, American hops will tend to put more citrus fruit and floral and sometime catty characteristics into a beer and not as many herbal, earthy notes. As with all their beers this one has a very nice label and a story to go with it. In this case Big Mountain pale shows a climber scaling a snowy wall with ice axes. The label and beer, as stated on the website, is a tribute to high places and the adventuresome souls who travel those heights to play and challenge the very essence and awe of being alive. The Pour and Aroma Pours a sunny copper color with an off-white froth-like head clambering up, creating an inch high pack of foam. A slight haze shadows its depth, most likely due to the dry-hopping. Head retention is good with little change in the cap for the first twenty minutes or so. Aroma hits first with pine and small cattiness. Then the undertones of peach, pear, pineapple, grapefruit, and lemon pour forth and bolster, creating an overtone of fruity cleanness. I can’t pick out any malt in the aroma. This one is firmly entrenched in the hop world. Mouthfeel and Taste Mouthfeel is thin to medium with enough carbonation to “prickle the bitter” toward the back. Taste is an explosion of hops. In this one the malt is like a foundation, not seen or even thought about, but no doubt there. Very clean and crisp across the palate with a blooming and complex set of tropical fruit characteristics. The understated malt allows the hop profile to take center stage. Resiny pine and some green notes (dry hopping) hit front palate with grapefruit, pineapple, and lemon coming to serenade through the middle, and just as you’re settling into exploring these tropical tones, the bitter rises into an overtone before dropping of the back end into a drying bright swallow. Finishing The Impression I always enjoy a good pale ale, especially when I am looking for something with a nice hop flavor profile without the all-out bitterness of an IPA. As far as hop aroma and flavor goes this one delivers pretty much what would be expected… with a few nice ahhh moments along the way. The grapefruit was very noticeable for me both in the aroma and the taste. Something I haven’t tasted or, at least, wasn’t quite so noted in other pales. It’s a good beer, great for a summer day when you’re looking for something crisp and flavorful with just enough hop bitterness to make you sit up and notice. I’d have to say Big Mountain isn’t my favorite from this brewing company though and I’m not completely pleased with the change over from their ESB as the spring seasonal. But I guess we shouldn’t dwell on the past too much. This is a well put together, competent beer. Cheers!