Saturday, March 26, 2011

Starr Hill Pale Ale

Here's another entry for the "go to" beer category. Just a few years ago, fans of Starr Hill Brewery had to travel to the Charlottesville area, or visit the brewery, in order to enjoy Brewer Mark Thompson's beers. Now, thanks to expanded distribution the beers are readily available in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and several other southern states.

Starr Hill Pale Ale pours a translucent, bright orange color with a thick off white head. The slightly sticky foam leaves a persistent coating on the sides of the glass. The faint earthy and citrus aroma gives a hint of the flavor to come. Despite the lighter color and mild aroma, this beer absolutely shines in the flavor category. Pine and citrus hops are well-matched with the mild sweetness of the malt. The beer isn't as extreme as some American Pale Ales, but there's more bitter citrus here than a classic English-style Pale Ale. Starr Hill's interpretation creates a flavorful balance between the floral and citrus hops and the sweet malt. The finish is dry with a bit of lingering bitterness. Starr Hill Pale Ale is one of my favorite Pale Ales, and one that's become a regular in my beer fridge.

Another favorite from Starr Hill, Northern Lights IPA, was featured here a couple of weeks ago.

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