Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sierra Nevada & Crux Fermentation Collab - Paddle Trail Ale Session IPA

A brew with a cause...
You've no doubt seen them at one of the outlying, non-metro, semi-rural area breweries and taprooms: The Adventure Beer Set. You know the folks I'm talking about. They just finished a rousing session of kayaking, wind surfing, mountain biking, rafting, hashing, triathaloning, whatevers. Now, they've parked their toned, athletic bodies on bar stools, looking for some equally health-conscious libations. "Nothing too FILLING!" they decry. "We just finished an uber-ultra-mega-marathon!" Pfft! Amateurs!

I spotted a four pack of Paddle Trail Ale in the cold case at New Seasons today. Cool packaging--four 16 ounce cans in a wrapper that looks like a little life jacket. Very outdoors-y. Paddle Trail Ale is a "session" IPA, which is a style popular with the Adventure Beer Set. The theory is you can drink a full-flavored, hoppy beer without getting all loopy from a big bang of alcohol and all overloaded in the taste buds. (Most IPA's come with an ABV of between 6 to 8%.) A session version should be under 5%. Paddle Trail Ale was brewed with experimental whole-flower hops and comes with a 4.7% ABV and 35 measly IBU's.

This beer appears to be perfectly marketed toward the sensibilities of fit, young adventurers; not just in style but in substance. It's a beer with a cause. It's a collaboration between California's Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Oregon's Crux Fermentation Project and Columbia Distributing. Hey! This beer has it's own website! Check it out HERE. You can read all about how $2 from every four pack will go to benefit the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance and help complete the Whitewater Project in Bend, Oregon. That's a very admirable cause, but I know what you're thinking, "How's it taste?"

The beer poured from can into my pint glass a slightly hazy, golden orange color with a foamy, white head. The head rose up to more than a finger thick and dissipated slowly. A thick, full cap and copious webs of lacing were left behind. Quite a pretty lil' brew.

Aroma was a bouquet of citrus hops right up front. Grapefruit, orange and lemon. Sweet, biscuity malt. Some floral and herbal notes.

Taste followed the nose. A decent dose of bitter, citrus-y hops flavor. Grapefruit and orange. Pleasant, earthy malt.

Medium to slightly thin mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation. This one is a little watery on the finish, which is what I expected.

Overall, this is indeed a very sessionable, highly drinkable beer. Of course, I prefer a full strength IPA. These session brews just aren't for me. Sorry, Sporty Spice, I don't have much use for trainer IPA's, but I can certainly see the appeal for those seeking an IPA drinking experience without the risk of permanent hops pucker or liver damage.

I'm giving Paddle Trail Ale a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. Some of that score is for the great packaging and the support of a worthy cause.

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