June 27, 2011 by iamseanbrage
Sleeper Hits at the Local Shop
One of our favorite pastimes at MHB is to stop by a store offering a “pick your own 6-pack” deal and grab 6 beers we’ve never tried or heard of. It can be quite the crapshoot, not unlike trolling the bargain bin or playing some kind of perverse beer Roulette. But sometimes you find something special in your pack that makes you glad fate and providence intervened. Santa Fe Pale Ale was such a find. This American Pale from Santa Fe Brewing was a great find and could’ve kept us happy all night.
Santa Fe Pale gave us great hope as soon as it was poured. We’d been through 4 1-pint beers and couldn’t take another letdown. Right on the line between a beautiful, golden straw and a rich honey color, the glass was alive. Short, dense head that later gave way to light, comforting lacing. The beer looked better than a lot of American Pales we’ve tried in our day.
The smell was more interesting than the average pale. Grassy, wet, with muted hop characteristics. Almost no alcohol on the nose, and none of the piney or citrus tones of a more intense pale or IPA.
Crisp was about the best word we could find. Santa Fe Pale was moderately carbonated, clean, and very refreshing. The finish was very quick, and we were delighted at how stunningly drinkable this beer was. The feel lent itself to drinking round after round, and we were okay with that.
Plains grass and a light “beachy” wetness added to the surprisingly complexity of the beer. The hops were there, but didn’t overpower the malt, keeping the beer balanced and drinkable. The hop presence was refreshing, and we didn’t taste any citrus or pine.
Santa Fe Pale left us wishing 2 things: That we’d have tried it first in our 6-pack and that we had 5 more to drink. This was a 3-Pint beer, and could keep us happy all day. It’s complex enough to satisfy our inner beer nerd, but drinkable and refreshing for a hot, New Mexico summer.
Brewed by: Santa Fe Brewing, Santa Fe NM
Style: American Pale Ale
MHB Score: 3/4 Pints