Friday, February 4, 2011

St. Ambroise Pale Ale - A Four Pack is Not Enough!

Beer: McAuslan St. Ambroise Pale Ale
Brewery: McAuslan Brewing (Montreal, Quebec)
Type: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5%

McAuslan is yet another fantastic brewery from Quebec, which has been operating successfully for over 20 years.  Founded in 1989 by amateur homebrewer Peter McAuslan, the brewery was able to find a niche with the Montreal beer drinking crowd who were particularly smitten with McAuslan's flagship brew, St. Ambroise Pale Ale (Rue St. Ambroise is the name of the street at which the brewery is located).  Beer Hunter Michael Jackon famously declared that McAuslan's Pale Ale was his favorite brew from the province.  Over the years other brews, like St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout and Apricot Wheat Ale, have generated dedicated followings and have received dozens of awards.  Just your standard, run of the mill Quebec brewery.   I've had their flagship brew several times before, but rarely have I had the chance to really sit down with it, so this. four pack will most certainly do the trick!  Thanks to Jill and Dave for giving me this birthday four pack!  Cheers, guys!

Poured into a nonic glass. A stunning colour - really fantastic - copper golden, clear, and with a few bubbles of carbonation rising from the depths, it looks spot on for the style.  Terrific sticky lacing up and down the glass, good retention on the 1/2 inch head. Looks brilliant.

The nose is malty, with soft notes of peach, apple, caramel, toffee and grassy hops.

Man, this is one tasty little pale ale - sweet at first, with a crisp cracker malt flavor, fruit (apple) and caramel notes, which is then followed by a palate-cleansing bitter hop finish with a touch of tart apple flavor.  Woodsy and dry to the finish.  The sweetness is a bit off pace, but generally speaking St. Ambroise is a real pleasure to drink, full of flavor and character.  Crisp carbonation, slightly creamy, medium-thin bodied.

I can definitely see why this brew was responsible for jumpstarting McAuslan's brewing business.  This is a pale ale that is full of flavor, and is a fine example of how a pale ale can taste. This brew would make for a fine session beer over the course of an evening.  Another great brew from a great Quebec brewery!   (Grade: A-)

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