Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shoals Pale Ale

Tasted Tuesday afternoon following class and enjoyed with the remaining pita chips I had cooked up. This was picked up from the Rock Island Hy-vee in an assorted six pack. I credit discovery of this brewery to Tom Bergman who is the head Beer Salesman at the Highland Park Binny's and recommended their Robust Porter to me last year. Since then I've been on the lookout, perhaps next is their Barley Wine.

Appearance: A clouded bronze color that has an orange hue to it. Quite mysterious looking. The head is full, but dissipated quickly. Nevertheless it left behind a stick resinous off white layer. There isn't much activity within the glass either.
Aroma: Smells distinctly piney with a big malt backbone. The sweetness resides with some biscuit malt and a toasted graininess. Pine again merges in followed by a grapefruity bitterness and a dark fruit undertone. Some bready and yeasty characteristics are also present. Honey earthiness is prominent as well.
Taste: The hops and malt both appear at the foretaste. Malt is carameled and toasted with a hint of biscuity sweetness. Hops are a robust pairing of bittersweet plum and raisin along with a piney earthiness. The midtaste transitions into more of a hop dominating flavor while some honeyed clove aspect remains. Finally the finish is bready and a pine bitterness takes reign. The aftertaste is hot and bittered, yet leaving behind a clean aftertaste reminiscent of dark fruit skin and tannins as well as citrus with grapefruit complexity. The finish has an interesting lager aspect to it while at the same time leaves a breath of baked bread about it.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a slow to fizz carbonation, yet once it goes, it consists of a brief spike to the tip of the tongue but finishes full and viscous down the throat. Dry and clean.
Overall Impression: This beer maintains a wealth of complexity from malt sweetness to finishing bitterness, of which both are sustained in a balanced fashion. A big malty backbone is paralleled by an interestingly bready/pine/grapefruit hopping leaving the palate both refreshed and desiring more.


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