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Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale
Written by Tom
When you sample a couple beers from a brewery you enjoy it makes selecting another brewery that much harder. This is the dilemma I found myself in while standing in the aisle at the liquor store. There I was, looking at shelf where various Samuel Smith stared me down. I could tell they were competing over who would be the winner that got reviewed next. While I was centimeters away from selecting their famous Oatmeal Stout (Michael beat me to the review) I locked my gaze on the Old Brewery Pale Ale. I normally do not gravitate towards Pales and the thought of reviewing an English version appealed to me for some reason.
The English Pale Ale is known as an Extra Special/Strong Bitter. It is a different bred than your American Pale Ales in that the hops are of the English variety (you don’t say) and are not as hoppy as APAs.
The Old Brewery hit the spot. The hue is a lovely light copper with some haze. As you can see in the picture the head was perfect with great retention. The carbonation was medium keeping a nice 1/8 inch layer of foam, yet at the same time not making the brew obnoxiously fizzy. The aroma rather complex since I pulled out hints of apples, pears, caramel, toasted bread, slightly grassy, pale malt, nutty, biscuits, and earthy hops. It was very pleasant and relaxing making me think of what an English countryside might smell like.
The taste was classic Samuel Smith all the way. They have a great yeast strain giving it just enough of a bready quality to feel filling, but smooth enough to drink multiples of. Being an English Ale the malt stands out, but is subdued by a medium hoppiness that complements it well. The flavors were of caramel, some nuttiness, toffee, and a slight butterscotch note (known as diacetyl). The mouthfeel was in balance allowing for easy consumption. It has a clean finish with noticeable bitterness and a sweet aftertaste.
Grade: A-Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale,