Saturday, May 19, 2012

027. Roscoe's Hop House Pale Ale

After the success of last week's beer, I decided to return to Roscoe's Hop House for another sip. And once again, I was not disappointed. Roscoe's Pale Ale was a wonderful addition to the list of beers that could easily become part of my "beer fridge."

Even though I really enjoyed last week's beer (Roscoe's Amber Ale), I still approached this six-pack with a sense of wariness. You see, I'm not a huge fan of Pale Ales. I tend to like my brews a bit heartier (and no, Paul, they do not have to be so dark that they actually bend light). It turns out, I think the main reason for this preference is that Pale Ales (and particularly Imperial Pale Ales) tend to be dominated by hops.

As should be clear by now, I'm not a "Hops Whore," which is becoming my term for people who seem obsessed by brews held in bondage by their hops. Don't get me wrong, I like hops. I even enjoy some beers that are heavy on the hops. But i demand balance and other flavor notes be present and accounted for, not being forced to sit on the back row of the class photo behind the tall kids. These other notes can be either yeast or malt, I'm not too picky as long as they are present, but I definitely have a preference for the malt.

 Roscoe's Pale Ale has hops, but they seem to be balanced with the malt. Hardly surprising, since that's what it says right on the label:

 "Sublte Malt Character balanced by complex hops for a smooth crisp finish."

Once more, Roscoe's delivers truth in advertising. This is a pale ale with a nice presence of malt that works with the hops (I'm guessing they're American hops because of the citrus tones). By the way, if you're interested in learning more about the differences between Pale Ales and Imperial Pale Ales, there's a great article o that subject at the Seattle Weekly).

Let's Dive into a Glass
The aroma isn't really worth a lot of words. It's just not very strong, nor is its head. The aroma has a faint hint of citrus hops and a grassy/earthie undercurrent. The key word here is "faint." It's just not a great aroma. I did a standard pour and was rewarded with a thin head or probably a quarter-inch. Even puring in the last 1/8 of the bottle in at an aggressive rate did little to improve on this. Unsurprisingly, the head faded quickly leaving little lace.

The color is very clear and crisp with only a hint of cloudiness caused by the mild carbonation. Colorwise, I'd call it a golden amber or perhaps just pale yellow. Maybe I'll compromise and call it golden yellow.

The taste was a pleasant surprise. As I said, before opening the bottle I was expecting more hops than were delivered. And that's a good thing. This was a nicely balanced pale ale that invited the malt to the party and actually danced a few slow dances with it. I'm not saying the malt was slutty and let the hops drive it home, but a good time was had by all.

In more practical terms, the beer has a light flavor with mild hops balanced with malt and there was a pleasant tingle of tang after each sip that faded quickly. All in all, this beer was pleasant to drink and I would definitely drink it again, particularly in the summer, as I suspect it will pair well with steak or barbeque.

This is a good beer and I liked it a lot.

Thoughts from the bottom of the glass:
Color: Crisp, clean golden yellow
Aroma: Faint citrus and hops
Hops: Very mild
Head: Light
Lace: Almost none
Carbonation: Light
Temperature Sweet Spot: Around 50 degrees
ABV: 5.3%
My Rating: 8 out of 10

Other reviews worth a sip
The guys at didn't love this as much as I did, but I think they tend to prefer hops more than I do:

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