Nick Carr on May 2, 2016 1 Comment Quick Characteristics Brewery: Odell Brewing Company Location: Fort Collins, CO Style: American Pale Ale ABV: 6.5% IBU: 46 Appearance: Hazy straw color with orange highlights; Small white head forms on top; Good carbonation; Impressive head retention; Nice lacing. Aroma: Hoppy, bright & juicy; Notes of citrus, floral & piney dankness; Slight pale malty background. Flavor: Hop-heavy; Sweet floral transitions to citrus and piney hoppiness; Balanced with malty caramel; Not too bitter; Dry finish with dank aftertaste. Shelf Life: 9-12 months Suggested Glass: Nonic Pint or Mug Serving Temp: 46°F – 48°F Availability: May – September Pairs With: Red Enchilada, Spiced brats, Brick Cheese, Bananas Foster American pale ales are a staple of the craft brew scene. Every microbrewery and backroom brewpub labors to make their own distinct American pale. And why not? With the amazing variety of American hops it isn’t too difficult to make a pale with its own subtle voice. Before we get into the review I’d like to address the differences between an American pale ale (APA), English pale ale (also called Extra Special Bitter or ESB), and India pale ale (both American and English). First, without getting into too much detail we can say the difference of region is mostly one of ingredients. Want to brew an American Pale Ale or American IPA use American ingredients, bingo for an ESB or English IPA. The IPA’s are more bitter then the pales, with the pales showing more balance then their IPA counter parts, but the American Pale Ale is less balanced (more bitter) then an ESB. Generally the English versions (pale and IPA) show more malt/hop balance then their American brothers, which are usually hop heavy. Pretty convoluted, I know. Really all this is relative, with style guidelines ebbing and flowing across one another. The above is a gross generalization, just to give some ideas of the subtlety of difference between these beers. I go into more depth in the American pale style profile, but a couple quick notes. American pale ales, while bitter, tend to showcase the flavor and aroma of their hop profile more than bitterness. They are always pale to light amber due to the malt used. Drinkable, often sessionable versions are frequently a small brewpubs best seller and go-to beer. Odell’s pale ale, St. Lupulin, is their summer seasonal. I find this rather refreshing. Not a common seasonal, it’s a dark horse in the plethora of lagers, blondes, and other lighter fare that make up this season’s beer releases. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the lighter side of the season too, but it’s nice to have a limited release, hoppier, summer beer to look forward to also. And, all cards on the table, this is not a new beer for me. As always I love Odell’s labels with their woodcut, stamp art feel. This one show’s good ol’ St. Lupulin (not a real saint) strolling through hop bines, helped along by his Shepard’s crook. Odell approaches this fabled figure this way: “A mystical legend echoes in our brewhouse – that of St. Lupulin (loop-you-lin) the archetypal hophead. He devoted endless summers to endless rows of hops, tending to the flowers and the beloved resin within – lupulin.” THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Odell’s St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale. If you tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: St. Lupulin pours a pale, hazy, straw color with a slight orange cast, like a low sun watched through dry-standing wheat. A small white head envelopes the surface, fed by good carbonation, its retention is impressive, dropping only slowly and leaving nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is beautifully hoppy; bright and juicy. Grapefruit and orange mix with floral and pine all being pulled by a shadowed dankness. Only very slight tunes of the pale malt backbone coming though as caramel-soft whispers. Mouthfeel and Taste: It is light-bodied with the hoppy juiciness adding some phantom weight to the slick-honey feel. Medium carbonation stimulates the palate, illustrating the hops nicely. Flavor is hop heavy; big and juicy. Floral with slight sweetness at the front, before transitioning into the realm of grapefruit rind, pine, and a brushing balance of malty caramel. Assertive, but not overly bitter at the back end. It’s drying in the finish with an aftertaste of dank pine, and slight cannabis. Finishing the Impression St. Lupulin is big enough to impress the most assertively pompous hophead with an alcohol volume more attune to the hot days of summer and a quitter, more balanced bitterness. I like it; especially the dank undertones. It gives it a feel of wildness, of bright summer but in a glen of cool shadow. Just above the high water mark for the style in both ABV and IBUs, it is a great bridge between the less assertive pale ales and overly expressive IPA’s. Call it hop forward with kindness. Cheers!