Shebeen West Coast Pale Ale
Large glass as part of a $5 sampling, XX% ABV
Purchased at the Brewery, Wolcott
Mmm, a “West Coast” ale! Exciting! I always sort of point to the classic Sierra Nevada IPA as really the progenitor of the hop revolution, such as it is. Sam Adams never did a hop forward beer. Long Trail and Pete’s Wicked nudged forward a little bit, but from a nationally distributed perspective, I’m going to give it to the west coast’s Sierra Nevada.
And of course, these last 15-20 years or so have seen some incredible world-class beers coming from the west coast of the US.
So when I saw Shebeen’s West Coast Pale Ale I was, like I said, excited. Would It be a citusy and hoppy, yet clean and refreshing ale? (Because that’s what I would expect from an ale with such a name.)
Let’s see what the brewery says about this beer:
Traditionally found in Oregon, California, and Washington State, this West Coast pale ale is the perfect balance of body, flavor, hop and drinkability. Perfect for any scenario or occasion.
Okay! That’s pretty much what I was asking for.
Technically, I guess that’s what I got with this beer. It is absolutely “drinkable,” whatever that means. It had a nicely balanced flavor and hops were certainly used in it.
One thing I’ve learned in this ridiculous Connecticut Beer journey is that certain hops impart “nose” more than others. And as anyone who knows the littlest bit about mammalian anatomy knows, aroma and taste are intimately wound together to create an overall experience.
Adding aroma hops is as important as adding any bittering or flavorful hops. I’ve noticed several upstart breweries haven’t yet honed that aroma part of their beers yet. Perhaps they will get there, perhaps they don’t think its important.
And perhaps I’m crazy and/or wrong.
But in the case of this west coast pale, there was zero aroma. Like, none. So in effect, what we have here is a macro-brewed ale; serviceable, “drinkable,” but wholly boring and forgettable.
Having traveled quite a bit to Oregon and Washington – and notably the beer meccas of Portland, Eugene and Seattle – I can’t imagine Shebeen’s take on what makes a “west coast” ale a west coast ale would not garner much positive attention.
I was going to have this “review” delve into the whole “deadly silly” West Coast vs. East Coast gang wars and rap battles, but as you now know, I didn’t do that at all. (I hear your collective sighs of thanks.) I DO wish I had more to say about this beer and this brewery though.
I’m getting old and being a parent has made me kinder with each passing month. But it just seems that these Shebeen reviews are “blah” at best, total failures at worst. I hear they are expanding and I know they’ve begun distributing to stores in bombers and cans. So I’m the outlier here; I know that.
And I’m comfortable with that.
The Connecticut beer landscape is getting more crowded by the month – a trend I don’t see plateauing until 2016 at the earliest – and boring ales are just getting more and more boring to write about.
Overall Rating: C-
Rating vs. Similar style: D