Ok, so it’s been a while. It never helps to have final exams and weddings pin you down for a few weeks, if for no other reason than it’s simply not conducive to discovering new microbrews. I had actually sampled this little beauty just after Memorial Day, but when forced to decide between a heart-wrenching tale of hops and barley and a mindless financial analysis of a wind turbine farm, well… In any event, I was so impressed that I picked up an entire six pack of this beer, which is quite rare unless it makes it into my rotation (meaning it would have to boot something else out). But here we are, so let’s see what did the trick, shall we?
Striped Bass Pale Ale, Devils Backbone Brewing Company – @dbbrewingco (Lexington, VA)
American Pale Ale, ABV 4.8%, IBU 26
Presentation: Can pour into pint glass.
Appearance: Golden and sparkling. Minimal head dissipating rapidly, but some lace on the glass.
Taste: A minimal amount of flora up front, with a fizzy palate cleanse followed by a small hop zing at the end. Despite the heavy carbonation, this is a well-rounded, smooth ale. No, it’s not bursting with some absurd flavor profile of red pepper flakes, grated citrus, or organic herbs, but what’s here says, “I’m a pale ale, but I’m really quite approachable.”
ABV/IBU: This is mild across the board, which makes it an awesome summer beer.
Overall: This is my current favorite for an APA. It may just be my humble opinion, but the whole point of craft beer is flavor and originality…including at times a lack of originality. So while I applaud a lot of brewers pursuing their experimental lines, that doesn’t mean I’d ever order it again. No, when a beer is actually good, that means I want more of it. Like, now. It’s not a freaking dinner or a means to completely melt your taste buds for a few hours (no really, go much on some hops and see what happens!) So I’ll write this as I shake my head at some of the snobby reviews I’ve seen elsewhere of the Striped Bass: appreciate what’s there rather than what’s not. If you can honestly tell me that you want to crush a couple of low carb, strawberry beers infused with pig’s ears then be my guest. If you’d rather a well-honed, lighter approach to pale ales, look no further. </endrant>