Kamloops Brewing: Earl’s Rhino Pale Ale (Canada: American Pale Ale: 5% ABV)
Visual: Clear amber to gold. Thin ambered head, but not much carbonation in the main body.
Nose: Peach. Crushed biscuits. Cream. Dried apricot.
Body: Peach. Light hop tingle. Custard cream biscuits. Vanilla. Slightly muggy hops.
Finish: Light popcorn feel hops. Light lemon air and a very light earthy touch. Light greenery. Toffee.
Conclusion: Ok, time to run straight up against the expectations of style descriptions. This is described as a pale ale, and for a lot of the elements I can see that, but it has a fuller, thicker body than I would expect from an APA – without that dry attenuation. Is this then a rare example of an EPA? Well it doesn’t feel like that either, with a bigger hop character than an EPA. It doesn’t push into IPA territory either, despite the bigger base, the fruitiness is there, yes, but the actual hop kick is pretty low.
Odd, but I guess best just look at what we actually have then – it really isn’t very complex, but it does go down very easily. The flow of the beer is just bright peach fruit and in that it is akin to American IPAs – so that part is generally good. The hops however, possibly due to the thicker base, actually feel quite muggy – which hurts a beer that could do with a fresher feel. The crushed digestive sweetness buffets it a bit, and protects the beer from the worst excesses by rounding the flavour off, so it doesn’t hurt it as much as it otherwise would.
Where this flaw shows most is in the finish, as there it is quite dry, with less compensating sweetness so you end up with a real muggy character over time, hurting the easy drinking character which is its primary characteristic.
However, while it isn’t a great beer I’m not going to be too down on it, possibly because I’m on holiday, but also because it does balance a nice mouthfeel with the peach hop flavours – while not complex it is a solid enough mix, for all its flaws.
A fair robust beer then, nowhere near top of the hop, but enjoyable enough for what it is.
Background: I’d seen Earl’s Kitchen and Bar turn up a few times around Canada, so when I found out they had their own beer line I decided to go out on a limb and do some research. According to ratebeer this is made by Kamloops brewing, though they list it as an amber ale. Despite my noted being unsure with exactly where the beer style lies I will go with their description and say APA as it seems in the right ballpark to me, despite the oddities. When in doubt I tend to go with brewers description and rate it as that. This was drunk while in Banff and hiding from the sun in the Earl’s Kitchen and Bar. It was hot. Very hot.