The Fletcher Pale Ale
4-pack bottles, $10.49+, 5.5% ABV
Purchased at Maximum Beverage, West Hartford
I am lost. I don’t know if up is up and down is down anymore. I know nothing.
And no, I’m not hopelessly inebriated. Stone cold sober. And I’m about to type these words: Relic has produced a hoppy American pale ale with zero yeast and/or Belgian profile – and It’s delicious.
The Fletcher is the third different 4-pack release that Relic brewed up at Hooker. Technically these are contract brewed, but Mark from Relic does the brewing, so it’s more of a hands-on thing than a typical contract relationship. The first two were very Relic beers – Demiana and Biere de Noel – so this one came out of left field for me.
(This, by the way, could be viewed as a good thing or a not-so-good thing, depending on your preferences.)
And not just me, by the way. The Fletcher is getting a buzz that Relic hasn’t gotten for (relatively) widely available beer in a long time. Sure, some of the small release stuff like Rococo and Ryepocalypse were super buzzworthy, but The Fletcher is available all over Hartford County and points beyond.
The price is a little steep at $10-$12 bucks plus tax and deposit for four 12 ounce bottles, but hey, you’re supporting a very small, very worthwhile operation in Relic.
Anyhoo, I recently did my 2014 Connecticut brewery-by-brewery wrap-up and in it, I sort of lamented some of the direction Relic had taken over the year; heavily focusing on the Belgian farmhouse yeasty stuff. And how I’m just not really into that stuff. And I how I missed a Relic release for the first time in history (The Ferme D’Or Saison). And…
And then The Fletcher happens. Just goes to show – please don’t ever listen to me. My opinions are MY opinions, and they are often stupid.
Very hoppy pale ale with blend of American hops including Simcoe, Mosaic, Columbus and Summit
I just double checked to make sure I hadn’t transported to The Twilight Zone where we all wear totally awesome yet just-as-random pajamas with satellites on them. Nope, The Fletcher is very real and very delicious. Crisp, clean, and with just the right bitter hop bite with a touch of Mosaic citrus. This isn’t a hop bomb by any stretch, nor is it some crazy citrus juice fest either. It’s just a straight up new school American pale ale.
So what happened here? Did Mark at Relic don a Fletcher disguise like Fletch would do and adjust his fletches and shoot his arrow and nail the pale ale target? Apparently.
And that’s a hell of a lot better than felching. Unless you’re into that. Which is cool I guess. But I’m fairly certain Mark’s not.
But he IS into making beer, and for that I’m thankful. I would humbly suggest Relic/Hooker brews The Fletcher constantly and year-freaking-round. Make it Relic’s first flagship ale. The buzz on this beer is definitely “out there,” and it’s generally good, aside from a couple ding-a-lings I just saw on Beer Advocate saying it was “bitter” and “grapefruity.” In other words, “Waah, it’s a solid pale ale and I want Heady’s sweetness or Gandhi’s pine, wahhh.”
Now, I realize moving to make The Fletcher a Relic flagship probably poses a dilemma to Mark; Relic has been all about “farmhouse” and and saisons and yeasty profiles. The Fletcher is none of that. So to make it a signature Relic beer may go against everything’s they’ve done in their first three years.
And sorting out those sorts of internal “problems” is why I don’t own a small business and instead have a hobby writing about them. It’s so much easier.
Overall Rating: A-
Rating vs. Similar style: A-