A Michigan Pale Ale in early March?  Oh Billy, you really do live on the edge!  Paleooza has a bit of a haze to it, and a good deal of suspended particle.  Light gold with a sticky white head, Paleooza has a wonderful floral bouquet full of piney notes and a bit of dankness way in back.  The bouquet foreshadows the flavors to follow.  Nicely sweet with a mild perfume essence and a hint of bubble gum.  The malty quality is on the mild side, but not thin, with a sticky, dry finish.  Paleooza is much better than its name, which I have a problem with, if only because I’m not sure I’m pronouncing it correctly.  It’s very drinkable, tasty and not overwhelming or too complex to appreciate.  At 4.4% ABV it’s sessionable too!

Score another for Michigan!

F*** AB-InBev, drink local!


Bare Bottom Madness

Image courtesy of Door County Brewing Company.

Image courtesy of Door County Brewing Company.

There are so many things I like about Wisconsin (the list excludes their big name politicians who’ve been in the news lately, argh.) and today I add Bare Bottom Madness to the list.  No, nothing to do with the annual Nude Bicyclist ride around the capital (I’ve seen it-not appealing in any way shape or form, and there are some very unappealing shapes and forms on display let me tell you), but rather a very tasty American Pale Ale from Door County Brewing Company (Black River Falls and Bailey’s Harbor, WI).  Bare Bottom Madness pours honey-gold and hazy with a super gooey head and Brussels lace.  The wonderful bouquet is a clean light pine/light floral mix.  It’s creamy on the palate and the malty quality compliments the slightly drying hop oils.  Nothing is overstated, the balance is perfect and every quality you want to enjoy in a pale ale is there in spades.  Bare Bottom Madness is 5.2% ABV, so you may want to have two.  It has the feel and credentials of a small batch, well-crafted beer.


90/100 pale ale

Drink local, f*ck AB-Inbev.

Moon Man

Image courtesy of New Glarus Brewing Company

Image courtesy of New Glarus Brewing Company

A “no coast pale ale” from New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, WI, Moon Man is a light gold, highly carbonated affair.  That carbonation keeps the fluffy head afloat and fuels the lace production, of which there is plenty.  The bouquet reveals some light, piney hops that are a bit catty, but not off-putting to fans of strong flavor-producing hops.  Assertive but not overpowering.  Moon Man is smooth and thin-bodied, and maybe a bit sweet, with an almost berry-like flavor that becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.  There is some bitterness in the finish, but overall Moon Man falls short of memorable.


Fire Rock Pale Ale

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

I like everything about Fire Rock Pale Ale from Kona Brewing Company, Kona, HI (or Portland OR or Woodinville WA or Portsmouth NH).  The unique bottle shape is appealing to my design sense, as is the label, which has enough of a Hawaiian vibe without being like the old, fat white guy’s bad Hawaiian-print shirt you see far too often.  Fire Rock pours honey gold with a modest cream-colored head that leaves lacing reminiscent of the rutty side of Mauna Loa.  The caramel malt bouquet is mild and pleasant, and the hop essence is not dominating.  The texture is smooth and the hop bite is mild and seems like an afterthought, which is refreshing in the age of over-the-top hops.  Worth your time!

83/100 Pale Ale

Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Image courtesy of Deschutes Brewery

Image courtesy of Deschutes Brewery

Medium honey colored and well-carbonated, Mirror Pond Pale Ale from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon sports a sticky beige head and a decent dose of floral hops.  There is a distinct sweetness that belies the thinnish texture, but that sweetness quickly wanes to a mild bitterness.  There’s not a lot to Mirror Pond Pale Ale, but it is certainly drinkable and a great addition to summertime meals and food grilled outdoors.  The name and label are certainly evocative of good memories of vacations out west and early 20th century painters like Fernand Hodler, both of which make me happy.  5% ABV, 40 IBUs.

75/100 Pale Ale

Red Chair NWPA

Image courtesy of Deschutes Brewery

Image courtesy of Deschutes Brewery

I’ve been dying to try something from Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR, for a long time, and finally am able to report that I have.  Exciting, I know.  I put together a mixed 6-er of their beers, and the first one up was Red Chair NWPA.  What an excellent introduction to Deschutes!  Red Chair NWPA (Northwest Pale Ale) pours a nice peachy color with a minor haze and little visible carbonation.  It floats a great, creamy beige head and leaves thick, sticky lace.  The sweet hop aroma is enticing, with mild pine notes, not catty or overly strong.  Seven select malts are used in brewing Red Chair NWPA, and the smooth, velvety texture is proof of that.  There is plenty of grain and sweet breads in the mouth, accentuated in the exhale.  There’s just enough floral hops for hop heads, but not so much that it would scare away a malt fan.  Red Chair has a touch of dryness in the finish that reminds you that this is a pale ale made with high quality hops, but it’s not in-your-face like some pales.  I’m in love with this excellent beer.  It will be a great summer brew for sure, but at 6.2% ABV, I’ll need to keep that in mind.

93/100 Pale Ale

Wild Hare

Borrowed from

New from Spoetzel Brewery in Shiner, TX, Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale is Spoetzel’s first foray into the world of ales.  Interestingly, there is a hint of banana off the head when first poured vigorously into the glass.  The brew is deep gold to copper in color with some pink highlights.  The huge, lacey head lasts fairly long.  The bouquet starts w/ dry hops and ends sweet with just a hint of cooling alcohol.  Wild Hare show a good hop/malt balance at first, but the hops take over.  Not too strong, but assertive enough to leave a lasting impression in the form of a dry aftertaste.  Wild Hare is definitely un-Shiner-like, and that’s a good thing.  It definitely would be a good accompaniment to a bowl of chili and cornbread, as it is quaffable, but not at the expense of flavor complexity.  Worth a try for sure.  Lastly, I love the retro/modern label.

72/100 American Pale Ale