As I write this, a cold fog has enveloped the valley. With the stretch of overcast days we've had, I've almost forgotten what the sun looks like (round, yellow and kind of bright, right?). But no matter. A number of spring seasonal brews have already hit Boise, and I'm ready for anything that makes me think of spring. All three are pale ales, that user-friendly style typically offering equal parts of malt and hops for a flavorful balance. Here's the lineup:
Deschutes Red Chair NWPA
Lots of fruit-laden, citrusy hops come through on the nose with resiny touches of pine, grapefruit and light spice. The palate is punctuated by crisp hops throughout, but there's a good malt base and an ample array of creamy fruit flavors--grapefruit, berry, papaya and mango. This beer finishes with a drying hit of bitter hops colored by spruce, herb and a soft echo of sweet fruit. This is a classic Northwest pale ale from this Oregon standout.
New Belgium Mighty Arrow Pale Ale
A medley of fruit cake aromas is highlighted by sweet cherry, biscuit, herb, earth and very soft hops. The biscuit definitely carries through to the palate, along with lightly spiced orange and just the slightest touch of piney hops in the background. The finish is dry and spicy with intriguing nuances of earth, herb, white pepper and sweet citrus. This is an intriguing take on the style from this Colorado brewery.
Pyramid Fling Pale Ale
This beer offers lovely floral aromas of honeyed citrus, apricot, melon and herb laced hops. The easy drinking, eminently sessionable brew scores big in the balance department. The just sweet malt has notes of caramel that play nicely against bright citrus and smooth hops. Touches of orange zest and peach add interest, and the lightly bitter finish lingers nicely in this crowd pleaser with Washington roots.