The first in BridgePort Brewing’s Trilogy series coming out this year (to commemorate their 30th anniversary) is a pale ale: their Crystal Dry-Hopped Pale Ale. In this day and age leading a specialty series with a pale is a bold move—any more people are expecting exotic ingredients, unusual fermentation, specialty aging, something. So if you’re going to offer a pale, you’d better really know how to brew a good one—and BridePort does.
It’s a nod to those early pale ales of yesteryear, those first forays into a hoppier, more fuller-bodied style of beer as the early craft beer movement was still finding its way. It’s 5.2% abv and 40 IBUs, and I think BridgePort pulled it off nicely. Here’s their blurb:
This dry-hopped pale showcasing crystal hops is beer #1 in our series – made to honor the hop revolution that ignited the craft brewing movement thirty years ago. Slightly spicy with a soft mouthfeel, Trilogy 1 finishes with a pleasant citrusy dry-hop aroma and flavor.
It pours a clear honey-orange in color and is very bright; I got a nice big pile of slightly off-white head as I poured. You immediately notice it’s aromatic and bright with a lovely pop of hops in the nose. It’s citrus-fruity with a touch of earthy spiciness and a touch of cattiness; it’s really quite a lovely aroma, enticing, making you want to just keep inhaling.
On the tongue it’s nicely light with a bready malt and a deft touch on the hops: a super clean bitterness with a nice bit of resin on the back end. Sunny, if you could call it that. It’s very clean and balanced, light of medium-bodied, and very smooth—very easy drinking.
In short it’s an excellent pale ale, and you don’t find too many like this. It’s also not too laden down with caramel malts as a lot of early (and not-so-early) pales exhibited (including many I homebrewed); BridgePort definitely knows how to do the style justice. Highly recommended. (Disclosure: this was sent to me.)