Lakefront Brewery Week: Cream City Pale Ale

Lakefront Brewery WeekCream City Pale Ale is Lakefront Brewery’s American Pale Ale offering. The first thing to notice on their page is this note about the name:

Named after the cream colored bricks used to build Milwaukee.

Which for me, not being from (nor having ever been to) Milwaukee, is interesting enough to explore a little further. According to Wikipedia, one of the nicknames of the city is indeed "Cream City", and this page tells the story.

Milwaukee masons have used these locally fired bricks since the first brick homes were built in the area in the late 1830s. By the 1850’s, word of Milwaukee’s cream-colored bricks had spread throughout the Midwest, and demand increased dramatically….

Milwaukee’s brick making boom lasted well into the 1870’s. More and more of the city’s buildings were constructed of the local bricks, to a point that visitors could not help but notice the overwhelming cream coloration of the city. As a result, it was during this era that the city became known as the "Cream City," and the bricks in turn became universally known as "Cream City bricks."

Beer notes and historical trivia. What more could you ask for?

Cream City Pale AleBeerAdvocate pegs this beer at 5.68% alcohol, and that’s where I pulled the "American Pale Ale" designation from as well. But as I was drinking it and taking notes, it really struck me as more of an English style Pale Ale. That is, it doesn’t have the "American flair" that typifies the APA these days…

Appearance: Clear amber-brown; slightly off-white head. The appearance makes me think "amber lager."

Smell: Malty, lightly hopped, and a touch buttery (diacetyl). Fairly clean, maybe a bare hint of copper (or something metallic).

Taste: Steel cut hops overlaying lightly roasted malts; it’s got a hard-water bitterness that seems to me to be a combination of English earthy hops and roasted barley.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and edgy; medium-bodied. The hops/malt bitterness leaves a dry, lasting (though mild) bitterness in the mouth.

Overall: Almost more of an Amber Ale than a Pale Ale, though I’m splitting hairs… it also has what seems to me the clean and bitter profile of a lager. Decent, though nothing extravagant… comes across as more "English" than "American" in style.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores a grade of B. On RateBeer, it scores 3.28 out of 5 and is in their 68th percentile.