Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pagan Pale Ale

Looks like Tin Man Brewing has a new competitor in the race for southern Indiana taste buds. Carson's Brewing (est. 2012) is a new outfit out of Evansville and the Barons and I got to taste a sneak peek of brews that might start being distributed up here in Indianapolis. So you may ask, "what's all the hype?"  The Barons reviewed Pagan, or as I like to call it Snow Meizer... or Panthro... or one of the Gargoyles from Saturday morning cartoons... what a great mascot! Tonight they're going to be at 20 Tap for a tap takeover. You should go check them out!
"Pagan perfects the pale ale. Yellow gold color, thick white head, crisp lemony and grapefruit citrus hop aroma, bready malts encircled by fresh American hop flavors, coming to a point of enchantment in the finish. Pagan will make a believer out of you" - Carson's Brewing
O-Dawg:  For those of you playing the home game, this brew was first introduced to the Indy scene at the 2013 Microbrewers Festival.  Acidic bitter nose with a medium body.  All I walked away from it with was malty lemon bitter.  It finished dry hop bitter with an ever so slight roasty note.  First sip caused the bad beer face...  Ended with a slight pucker that induced the bad beer face again.  This coming from the HopHead of the group who has a penchant for sours...  I give it what I gave it off tap at the fest.  A mellow and unenthusiastic... Meh  2.5

The Big Guy: I really think these guys are putting out a solid product. Despite the fact that our resident hop head didn't really like the hop combination on this one, I think it really packs a nice punch. When I'm looking for a really good pale ale, I look for a beer that has almost no malt character. It really needs to be nothing but the base malt, so the hops flavor should really shine through. This one was close, it had a little bit of biscuit, munich or other European malt. This  gave off a bread crusty flavor that I think is what O-Dawg picked up as roasty notes. The bitterness on this one was huge, but I thought it was huge in a good way. It really came off like a lighter, easier drinking, pale ale version of a Runiation. The hops were big with a ton of lemon and orange peel citrus flavor. It rolled into a super bitter finish that lingered long enough to make me really want to have another drink. If you don't like a big bitter hoppy beer, you may not like this one. The citrus is intense and full flavored. Carson's needs to work on their bottling a little bit, there was a lack of consistency and not enough head retention but I give it a solid 3.5. Can't wait to have a few more of these.

The BrewniBomberPours a honey-orange color with not much head or lacing. Lemon is the dominating note throughout the beer (bordering on cleaning product lemon), while grapefruit puts up a fight. There's also some toasted bread hanging out, but not enough to tone down the lemon. My biggest problem is the mouthfeel; too heavy for an APA, little carbonation, and an unpleasantly dry finish. Ultimately I was confused by this as it's labeled an APA, but is probably closer to an IPA with all that hop bite. Flavor-wise it's okay, but style-wise it's a bit off. I love hoppy beers (O-Dawg I'll fight you for that HopHead title), but they need to tone down the lemon and bring some balance to this. 3/5

The Little Lady: I'm closer to the Big Guy's opinion on this one. I geeked out and referred to my BJCP guidelines print out as I was reviewing this beer. I'm not a fan of overly aggressive hops by any stretch, but I really enjoyed the citrus aromoa and bitterness that came from the hops in this brew. The golden-amber color was spot on for what I expect in this style, but I would've like the head to linger a bit more. The flavor echoed the aroma with a lot of citrusy hops, definitely high, but not out of character for the style. I also got a nice bready malt flavor, but nothing roasty or unexpected. All in, I thought it was an easy drinking beer and one that I would definitely have again. Maybe it wasn't super amazing or brand new, but it was good! I gave it a solid 3.5 out of 5.

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