A West Coast Pale Ale Roundup
MEET THIS ISSUE'S TASTING PANEL
Lundy Dale: Founder, BC Craft Beer Month, Pink Pints Vancouver, CAMRA Vancouver. Past President, CAMRA BC.
Adam Chatburn: home and commercial brewer, WB columnist and past President of CAMRA Vancouver.
Note: neither What’s Brewing nor JAK’S Beer Wine Spirits bear responsibility for the opinions expressed within, which are solely those of the individual panelists.
HOW JUDGING IS DONE
Our unsanctioned competition uses a Zagat-like 30-point rating with a weighted scale based loosely on the BJCP Scoresheet. One of the great things about this format, as opposed to a simple 5-star blogger rating, is that it forces panellists to put more work into evaluating details of the flavour, balance and overall impression before scoring each category.
Panellists are instructed to give an honest rating, not a sugar-coating. As reflected in their scores, some panelists will love a particular beer and others will truly dislike it. Sometimes that’s influenced by factors that aren’t completely within a brewery’s contrul, such as freshness, or just a bad product sample. This is one of the reasons we have a panel rather than just one reviewer: it helps reduce the impact of factors like packaging flaws and personal tastes.
Appearance: 3 points – Colour, Clarity, Turbidity, Legs.
Aroma: 6 points –
Aroma of fruit, etc.
Palate/Mouthfeel: 3 points –
Mouthfeel, Texture, Carbonation, Astringency
Flavour: 8 points –
Sweetness, Fruitiness, Tartness, etc.
Overall Impression: 10 points – Enjoyment, Flaws.
TOTAL: 30 POINTS
ABOUT WEST COAST PALE ALES
In the spirit of our BC retrospective, we have a Northwest take on a traditional style. Pale Ale is a name that BC beer drinkers learned in the 1990s thanks to Okanagan Spring and others, but today’s NW Pales have considerably more flavour.
With some beer styles, like fruity wheats and sours, you don’t notice the beer’s core indredients, namely malted barley and hops. But with good old English pale ales, you get both. Of course, since we’re doing West Coast, you get more hops, but as you can see by the chart it’s not to the complete obscurity of the underpinning brew, as it would be with a double IPA. Pale Ale is a signature style that every brewer (who chooses to make it) should be able to do well.
There were some exceptions in beers selected, including ABV and style. Not every beer included was a true West Coast Pale Ale, so factor that in when digesting the comments and results.
And the winner is…
Yellow Dog might not be a surprise winner for those who appreciate their hoppy beers. However it was close, and the competition this round was absolutely chasing their tail.
OVERALL CATEGORY NOTES
For this group as a whole. For individual scores, see above.