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Breckenridge Pale Ale

June 15, 2009

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A Session Beer With Plenty of Substance

Anthony Says:


IMG_0844This is another Colorado craft beer I sampled while in Denver. Breckenridge offers a 12-pack mixer (at a very reasonable price, if I may add) and their Trademark Pale Ale was one of the beers included. Having tried a variety of other superb local brews, including Odell’s IPA and several of Great Divide’s beer, my expectations for Breckenridge were perhaps unreasonably high. And while their Trademark Pale Ale didn’t exactly blow me away, it certainly did not disappoint.


Breckenridge Pale Ale pours a well carbonated, deep golden with a medium airy head. Nose is disappointingly mild: faint hops mixed with wet grass, light malts and a vaguely tea-like herbal spiciness. Though a bit on the thin side for a pale ale, mouthfeel is pleasantly crisp and reminiscent of a lager.


While the nose and mouthfeel might leave much to be desired, the taste is nevertheless surprisingly dynamic. An initial blast of complex hops flavors subside into an almost cantaloupe sweetness. Subtle undertones of tangy grapefruit and black currant tea are also noticeable.


Full of complex herbal and fruity flavors, yet lacking the hop tartness characteristic of most American pale ales, Breckenridge’s taste profile is far closer to what one would expect from a British pale ale. While it may therefore come across as rather mild to someone accustomed to the typical American pale ale, this is nevertheless a deceptively nuanced and highly drinkable pale ale.

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Gatlin Says:


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Anthony, being such a nice guy, was thoughtful enough to bring back several Breckenridge beers from his recent trip to Denver. The first one I tried was their pale ale, and was delightfully surprised by the quality. I really wish we had more exposure to this well rounded beer and other Breckenridge offerings north of the border.

vvvv

Technical Rundown:

  • Container: 341 ml brown glass bottle
  • Alcohol: 5.70% by volume, 4.56% by weight
  • Colour: NA (deep golden)
  • Bitterness: 40 IBU

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This American style pale ale pours an excellent golden in colour. The head generation is mild, but it hangs around producing a medium lacing before reducing to a white film. Moderate carbonation is visible. The smell is somewhat mild; floral hoppy notes are immediately present, but are underlain by a very complex array of grassy and spicy hops smells. It should be noted that this particular beer is brewed with five different varieties of hops.


In the background of this beer is a well-laid malty base, which is both sweet and toffee-like. The taste up front is a very pleasant and complex maltiness. Vanilla and oak like flavours shine through a very subtle sweetness. The dynamic hoppiness of this beer registers mid-sip, exploding in a smorgasbord of appetizing hop flavours: citrus, pine and earthy tones are all noticeable on the palette.


While this pale ale is not super bitter, it is very complex in the hop department. For a hop lover who likes big IPAs, this beer is perfect for a session. Not so bitter as to bog-down your palate, yet complex enough to keep you coming back for more.

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Some Final Thoughts


Anthony Thinks:

Pros
  • Taste profile that is both dynamic and subtle
  • Excellent range of hop flavors
  • Extremely drinkable

Cons

  • Nose and mouthfeel are disappointing
  • A little too sweet compared to other American pale ales
  • Some flavors demand a more pronounced presence

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3½ stars. Breckenridge is both a great beer to acclimate amateurs to the world of American craft brews, and sufficiently flavorful and complex to satisfy the more seasoned beer drinker. Overall, this is a scarily drinkable session beer that would qualify as a solid 4 stars had it a less lacklustre nose and mouthfeel


Gatlin Thinks:

Pros:

  • Highly complex flavours
  • Great balance between bitter and sweet flavours
  • Aesthetically a superb pale ale

Cons:

  • Unless you have a hop-head friend heading to Colorado you’re pretty much out-of-luck
  • If you are into big, bitter beers, this one may be a bit too subtle
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Overall, this is a very solid 4 star American pale ale. Great for an average lager drinker looking to explore the complex flavours available in more hoppy beers. This would also be great for hop heads looking for a complex and quality session fix

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So, What’s On Your Mind?

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