Sunday, February 17, 2013

Single Hop Pale Ale

I think it's safe to say that I often find pale ales a bit boring. Part of it is probably that I tend to crave bolder, stronger, more intense styles of beer. Also a factor is that there are few locally available pale ales I find that interesting (Driftwood Ale can be delicious, but sometime it gets a bit catty, not a flavour I enjoy). However I think the biggest factor in my boredom over the style is that so few examples manage to stand out from the pack. Like many stouts, the pale ale seems to just be... and rarely seems to be great. I encountered one notable example on my travels south of the border, while in Santa Rosa, California, home to Russian River Brewing. Russian River is, in my opinion, one of the finest breweries in the world, and their pale ale does not disappoint. Named Row 2, Hill 56 for the location of the first vine of Simcoe hops ever grown. (according to my dodgy internet sources) This beer is predictably hopped only with Simcoe, and when I had this on tap at RR I was blown away how smooth and easy drinking it was despite having a huge amount of hop flavour and aroma.