An Official Declaration
A Review of Santa Fe Pale Ale by Santa Fe Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/23/2014 by Chops
                   
Great
Endless variety can be a double-edged sword. This is especially true in the craft beer world where ingredient lists can reach Santa Clause levels. We have grown accustomed to beers with exotic ingredients sentence-long names. They can be fun to drink and are great at expanding palates.

However, wacky additives can mask one very important aspect of a beer: the actual beer. This is why when I find a big bold beer that I really like, I refuse to form an opinion on the brewery before I've tried their baseline offerings. After all, how you do one thing is how you do everything. A brewery might make a tasty Triple Chocolate Banana Jerky Imperial Stout, but if their baseline pale ale sucks, then we can assume that luck was a big factor.

I recently moved to New Mexico and have been happily exploring the state's surprisingly vibrant craft beer culture. Several breweries have stood out to me, one of which being the Santa Fe Brewing Company. I have greatly enjoyed many of their bold offerings, including their Imperial Java Stout and Chicken Killer Barley Wine. But before becoming an official fan, I knew I had to try their core line. So, I picked up a six pack of their popular Santa Fe Pale Ale.

In the glass, this beer had a lovely golden honey coloration. It came with a big frothy white head that had great retention. On the nose, I found a nice mix of malty caramel, earthy hops, and a hint of fruit. As American Pale Ales go, this was a straight forward introduction. Core notes were on the money with no unnecessary flare.

The first sip confirmed what I had suspected: just a damn solid pale ale. The beer had a medium body and felt decently smooth on the palate. As with the aroma, I found a very good balance of sweet malts and earthy hops. The hop profile itself had great presence without being aggressive or overpowering. Flavor wise, I found notes of caramel, grass, grainy bread, plus hints of banana and dark fruit. The finish was clean and exited with a long grassy weedy aftertaste.

Overall, I found the Santa Fe Pale Ale to be a satisfying no-nonsense brew. I really enjoyed the simple combination of German yeast with Cascade and Willamette (a personal favorite) hops. It created a flavorful, reliable, and accessible nectar. As a result, I can recommend the Santa Fe Pale Ale to any and all beer fans. This is a beer that is perfectly fit for social activities that don't require a lot of thought about beer.

When it comes to American Pale Ales and other simpler styles, brewers are often tempted to stamp a signature on them. But more often times than not, just crafting a solid version is more than enough to garner attention. It's obvious to me that Santa Fe understands this principle and I cite their tasty pale ale as sufficient evidence. And now that my curiosity is sated, I can officially declare myself as a fan of the Sante Fe Brewing Company.

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Santa Fe Pale Ale by Santa Fe Brewing Co.
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