Tag Archive: Pale Ale


Turning Point: Milk Foley (England: Flavoured Pale Ale: 6.3% ABV)

Visual: Slightly cloudy apricot skin coloured body, that has some red hues from certain angles. Very large white, mounded head. Moderate amount of small bubbled carbonation to the body.

Nose: Strawberry. Light peppermint. Flour on white baps. Vanilla yogurt. Orange skin. Slight hop prickle but low bitterness. Light menthol.

Body: Strawberries. Cream. Crushed dry hops. Prickly. Slight charring. Nettles. Slightly dry. Gunpowder tea.

Finish: Dry bitterness. Slight charring to black pepper. Greenery. Gunpowder tea.

Conclusion: Have I done notes on a milkshake IPA before? Surely I must have? These things were huge and popular for a whole minute or so a while back, so I must have done notes on at least one, as much as I generally avoid them. Ok this is technically described as a pale ale rather than an IPA, but with the abv and the ingredients, it is the same darn thing.

So, if I am not a fan, why am I doing these notes? Well I am a huge Mick Foley fan so was dragged in by a bunch of references to him here, and so we have this aaaaand … eh, milkshake IPAs are still fairly shit.

The aroma is pleasant. Strawberry there in an artificial creamy way, slight menthol, and a touch of hops, but for the most part just that strawberry. Ok, it is doing the job so far.

When you start drinking the beer you get that slightly artificial strawberry again, but now against a kind of acrid basic bitterness and a charred hop character. It feels like dried crushed hops were dropped into it just before you started sipping, so you get a rough feel even though there is no sediment visible. Maybe this is what people come to milkshake pales for, but for me it just feels unfortunate artificial meets ill expressed hops.

The hops really don’t add anything useful here, just kind of greenery notes along with the acrid touch and bitterness. It doesn’t feel like it is adding anything positive you would see in a pale ale – either by itself or as a compliment for the artificial tasting strawberry and lactose

Maybe milkshake IPAs/pales are just not for me, so I may not be the best to judge this but the strawberry notes are basic, but ok – the hops feel harsh and don’t enhance the experience. No subtle hop flavours rounding it out, just bitter harsh notes with no class.

Definitely not for me.

Background: Confession time, I got this mainly because it is laden in Mick Foley references, and as a huge fan of that Hardcore Legend I was tempted to give it a try. From the pun name, to the fact the can is coloured like the flannel jacket he used to wear, to a reference to “All Mankind” in the text (one of his wrestling personas being Mankind), and the name of Cactus Jack, another persona of his, written on the base of the can, they wanted to make sure you got that it was not an accident – this is a Mick Foley homage beer. I’d tried this a while back and wasn’t too impressed due to the intrusive more harsh bitter notes, but saw it on sale in Sainsbury‘s for a large discount so thought I would give it another go. This was canned end March, so I thought maybe that would have given it some time to mellow. It is listed as a strawberry and cream pale ale and is made with lactose, oats, wheat, strawberry and vanilla. Apparently this was first brewed in collaboration with BrewYork but they aren’t mentioned on the can so I presume this is now solo brewed. After my listening to Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes more recent albums to match recent beers I went back to their first album “Blossom” for this one. Such a massive relentless album. I still love it.

Big Drop: Citra Four Hop Special Edition Pale Ale (England: Low alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow to grain. Thin off white bubbled head.

Nose: Peach. Fresh cut apple. Cake sponge. Lime. Lemon sorbet. Very fresh. Light raspberry pavlova.

Body: Soft lime. Grapes. Slight chalk. Low to moderate hop character and bitterness. Slight peach. Tannins.

Finish: Chalk touch. Good hop bitterness and character. Soft lime. Cake sponge. Lemon cake. Apple. Dried banana. Tannins.

Conclusion: First up, the aroma on this is great. Lots of soft, fruity hop action. It is gentle, but lively in flavour. Here the beer is significantly different from the original Big Drop Pale Ale and all the better for it.

The body is more similar to its parent brew, still showing cake sponge, still a good use of hop character and soft lime notes. If you have been looking at the notes above you would probably expect me to say there is more difference than there actually is. The thing is there definitely are a range of different notes, it is just that they are not consistent, just occasional , pleasant, hiccups of flavour that pop in and out throughout the beer.

Now, the base, standard Big Drop Pale ale is one of my favourite ever low alcohol beers – this has a far better aroma, and a just slightly better body. So, of course, I love it. Again it feels like a very good beer, not just a good low alcohol beer – only some light tannin notes give away the low abv character.

So, yeah, if you get a chance to grab it this is an awesome low abv beer of character. If you can’t find it, the standard Big Drop Pale Ale is still flipping great and this isn’t so big a difference that you must hunt it out for this.

Still a nice twist on a a still awesome beer.

Background: I adore Big Drop’s Pale Ale. It is still possibly my favourite low alcohol beer, which has been getting to be an actual hard fought category over the past year, which I admit is something I never thought I would say. This is a limited version of the beer which I spotted at Beercraft. I don’t use them that much as they can be a tad expensive, but their low alcohol selection at the moment is fantastic. I put on Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues while drinking- still an utterly fantastic album.

Thornbridge: Big Easy (England: Low Alcohol Pale Ale: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale lager yellow-gold colour. Small white head. Only a small amount of carbonation.

Nose: Soft pineapple and lychee. Soft kiwi and lime. Moderate hop character and low bitterness. Vanilla. Fresh orange juice.

Body: Chalky. Soft lychee. Fizzy feel. Dry malt character. Moderate hops and bitterness.

Finish: Fizzy. Chalk. Lychee. Moderate hop prickle and charring.

Conclusion: This doesn’t stand chilling down well – a light cooling works ok, but any more than that and it can get a tad rough, empty and temperamental.

Ok, that is jumping in at the end, let’s wind things back a bit. The aroma on this is very nice indeed – soft fruit notes like falling apart lychee and pineapple chunks make up the core with a few gentle green and orange notes around the edges.

Of that the soft lychee is the main element that actually makes it through to the main body, and this brings us back to the start of the notes, as this is where the issue with chilling comes in. A tad too cool and it just feels chalky, fizzy and rough. The gentle flavours seem to need at least a little warmth to give them some grip.

Warmer it still has a rough touch, but it feels more like a hop bite than an off note, which lends a reasonable “beer” feel to this low alcohol drink. So, it is ok, not as good as the rest of the fantastic new wave of low alcohol beers that has come recently, but its gentler take on flavours is interesting. A lot of low alcohol beers go as big and booming as they can to compensate for the lack of abv body. Going for a gentle tart and citrus touched beer with a light hop bite is a commendable goal to go for to make something different.

It is not quite there yet. It is ok when warmer, but I hope they work with this one, as if they can master it, it will be a very welcome entry in the low alcohol range.

Background: Low alcohol time again! Healthy low alcohol drink day. Thankfully low alcohol beers are actually good these days, which makes life so much easier for beer fans like me. I’ve had a few bottles of Thornbridge’s low alcohol take but not really examined it, so after grabbing a few more bottled from Independent Spirit I decided to properly put it under the microscope. Put on The Germs for listening to while drinking – been a while since I’ve pulled out their stripped down, real DIY punk tracks for a listen.

Redemption Brewery: Redemption Pale Ale (England: Pale Ale: 3.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale honeyed amber with a smattering of bubbles as a head.

Nose: Distinct orange, lime and hops. Sugary sweet – over ripe fruit.

Body: Noticeably but not overpowering hops. Slightly milky, toffee syrup. Light citrus and raspberry.

Finish: Dry fluffy and hoppy. Harsh syrup. Charred wood then finally syrup again.

Conclusion: A light fresh ale with a sprinkled touch of hops. Distinctly easy going, not a challenging ale. However it has a smooth easy going flavour. Will never be one for the hop head, it is a pleasantly understated beer.

Not redemption through bloodshed, but more redemption with quiet stoicism.

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