STYLE: Pale Ale
APPEARANCE: Pale, clear gold
HEAD: Frothy, bright white head that fades in due time
LACING: Decent…nice retention, but spotty
NOSE: Crisp and clean pale malt bill with a faint, lemony hop profile and a whiff of pepper. The nose is challenging…not nearly as robust as I would expect from a Bell’s brew.
TASTE: A nice amount of pale malt sweetness up front and a hint of caramel. The hops have a fairly one-dimensional lemon flavor that is refreshing if a bit dull. Could use a bigger and more complex hop profile. The finish is fairly clean with just a faint trace of bitterness. It’s a tasty brew, but has none of the complexity you expect from an ale factory as lauded as Bell’s.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium-bodied with fair carbonation and a slightly astringent finish.
DRINKABILITY: Like a lot of breweries, Bell’s seems to put more effort into their higher gravity fare (Two-Hearted, Expedition, Kalamazoo Stout) than their standard offerings. The Pale Ale isn’t bad, but you can tell Bell’s heart wasn’t in it. This is a “pay the bills” brew as Doc would say. Drinkable and refreshing, but ultimately forgettable. To be fair, my fellow Aleheads and I completely ransacked a keg of Two-Hearted after I drank the bottle of Pale Ale and the latter suffered in comparison.
RATING: 2.5 Hop