1. American Craft Beer Fest is this weekend in Boston, Mass. Join us for 640+ beers from 140+ brewers! Tickets for Friday, May 29 are still available. Cheers!

McNeill's Champ Ale - McNeill's Brewery

Not Rated.
McNeill's Champ AleMcNeill's Champ Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

58 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 58
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 13.26%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-17-1998

Champ Ale is a West Coast style pale ale. Also somewhat citrusy, it has notes of concord grapes both in the flavor and the nose. Made from a blend of British and domestic malts, it has a light red or pale rose color and very high drinkability.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 58 | Reviews: 43
Reviews by dwarbi:
Photo of dwarbi
3.91/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Truly a beautiful ale! Frothy white head. It sticks around for a while. I think I could take this head out and play with it. Maybe mold it into my own likeness. Hazy beer. Golden amber. Smells nice, but not powerful enough. Tastes chunky. A little bitter. In your face, but with a gentle finish. Interesting mouthfeel. A bit of a bitter aftertaste. I like it. Very drinkable, this beer definitely keeps my interest.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass a hazed light copper color with a thinner white head atop a few chunks and floaties swirling when I got to the bottom of the bottle,nice subtle aromas some floral/citric hop along with biscuit malt a nice even mix.It sorta reminds me of an old school craft American pale ale it has a healthy dose of citrusy,resiny hop but a firm slightly caramel malt base hold up through to the finish.A solid pale its food friendly and has enough subtle complexity to keep me wanting more.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This nice APA was a hazy orange color with a thick white head that retained well. It had a citrus aroma, and an outdoorsy scent. Grapefruit taste, not much in the way of malt. A crisp beer, a little too carbonated for me, but would still drink it again.

Photo of Todd
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle. Another story on a label. This time a jester is juggling some beers and taming a dragon. Ah, the power of beer. No freshness date.

Appearance: Light amber with a hearty white head.

Smell: Slight malt, and a delicate perfuming of hop aroma.

Taste: Dry bitterness upfront, mellowing with a touch of malt sweetness and toasted grain.

Notes: A full flavoured brew with great balance. A very drinkable session style beer.

Photo of sponberg
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber, white head. For once the label was on fairly straight and almost entirely glued.

Nose of citric hop and toasty malt. Carries through in the flavor, with a bit of sweetness in the middle and a firm bitterness in the finish to go along with the grapefruity hop flavors. A decent brew in bottle, probably great on a hot day, but if they have it on cask at the brewery, try it - it's huge.

Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$3.99 for the bomber @ the Brattleboro, VT. Food Coop.

"Best before last day of" dating on bottom of the label, nice info for the consumer.

Pours cloudy typical amber, looser off white head that stays then goes to to a frothy foam/film and better then decent lacing.

Gritty & citric, moderatly pungent hop nose.

Respectable APA, moderate cascade infused hop package, flowing over a nice malty base. Fairly balanced, but enough hops for respectability.

Decent every day APA, perhaps a bit thin mouthfeel wise and lacks the depth of flavors to challange the all stars of the style.

Photo of jondeelee
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Champ Ale begins with a rich, malty nose, full of caramelized brown sugars, lychee nut, hints of chocolate malt and milk chocolate, and a good counter of rosewater hops.

On the tongue, the beer starts off slow, with a grape-like flavor mixed in with caramelized brown sugars, then moves to more light fruit esters, including apricot, orange, and berry. These lighter textures are soon joined by a good undercurrent of toasted grains, adding a biscuit/cereal base. Hops are very faint here, noticeable not so much because of their flavor (though they do nicely balance the sugars) but from the tingling they leave on the tongue and soft palate. The aftertaste is a mixture of nicely toasted grains and light pine notes from the hops, and lingers for quite a while. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium to medium-heavy.

Overall, this is good fare, and some lovely citrus and fruit flavors play around on the tastebuds.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber purchased at North end Market in Brattleboro, VT.

AP: Golden hued amber, very active(good to see) nice 1" tall, foamy head, good retention, Nice legs too!

Nose: Ultra sweet hops, fruity and mildly citrusy.

Taste: A tasty, tart and slightly fruity hop taste dominates. A mild malt flavor appears then finishes with a nice leafy-hopped bite.

Mf: Medium body, feels rather thick but displayes plenty of bubbles and has a big fresh bite. The constant foamy head gives it a nice added smooth feel.

DA: Mmmm...

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid drinkable pale. Enough C hops to give off a citrus smell, great big creamy long-lasting head. Well malted, good with lunch. Citrus taste and aftertaste dominated. Not too bitter so was popular.Good amount of hops. Middling mouthfeel. Well done.

Photo of scootny
3.71/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lightly cloudy golden honey with a prodigious shaving cream sticky head. Retention is quite good and the glass is well decorated as I drink. Lots of yeast suspended but not much carbonation.

Smell has an orangey note with citrusy hops and a caramel malt base. A bit of yeasty bread.

Taste is sourdough bread malty with grapefruity sharp hops. A light spiciness and a return of sourness, this time gently tannic in nature. Finish is dry and firmly bitter. Lots of grapefruit skin and a light malt lingering in the mouth. Feel is finely carbonated in a lightly tingly way and somewhat crisp. Weight is moderate.

Quite quaffable. A nice one with dinner ( fish sticks, asparagus, garlic mashed, and lentil pilaf this evening ). Good for a ball game.

Thanks to The Rowan for this Vermont treat.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber purchased from the brewery with no freshness date. Seemed to have many bottles on hand, so I figured they must go through a lot of it. I can see how.

Should be considered an EPA. Very bland in color. Nice lacing. most likely due to its freshness?!?!?!?!

Peachy clean taste. For an EPA (which is what it is) has a fair amount of bitterness that accompanies it.

First McNeil’s beer I've "officially" reviewed. Craft yes, good yes, try again? Yes. Average at best.

Photo of Goldorak
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Translucent and orangey golden, with only a ring of lace.

Smell: Clover honey and grapefruit hops. Good stuff.

Taste: Very well balanced. Sweet malt cascades into a light hop bitterness. Low carbonation makes this creamy smooth and very drinkable. APAs like this are rare in my neck of the woods, so I enjoy them when I have the chance.

Photo of Hagbard
3.71/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy deep golden color with some reddish highlights. The beer is not transparent. A thin, soapy, white head forms. The aroma is subtle with a hoppy presence. Slightly fruity. Thankfully, there is more to the taste than their is to the aroma. The taste is very hoppy up front. Immediately a bitterness asserts itself with a florally background. The bitterness mellows a bit allowing some citrus juiciness to assert itself. This beer is seriously hoppy. Much more strongly hopped than most of the more mainstream, tamer IPAs. In fact, without knowing better, I would have assumed this was an IPA. I really like this beer as it has some really nice hop flavor, however it isn't something I would grab when looking for a nice mellow pale ale. If I'm looking for hops...bring it on!

Photo of puboflyons
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the 1 pint 6 fl. oz. bottle with the date clipped at February on the label without a year listed. Sampled on December 28, 2009. It pours a cloudy copper yellow with an overwhelming and long lasting puffy cream head. The aroma is strong on yeast, the sign of an unfiltered brew. There are some clean hops lingering around the background a bit. The mouthfeel tends to be thin to medium. A tart and sour taste that leaves an aftertaste that was unappealing to me. I guess I have a hard time giving it as high a rating as previous raters.

Photo of akorsak
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 650 ml bomber from the Lebanon, NH Coop.

A: The APA is a pale amber color, like watered down iced tea. Translucent, the ale sits under a white head of nearly half a finger.

S: The nose is grainy, a toasted bisctui aroma that covers up any sign of hoppiness. Mild citrus wafts out after some searching.

T: Biscuity toffee flavors rule the day, a much maltier ale. Tea flavors run alongside the grains, a sweet body that covers up most of its hoppiness. What's there is citrusy and very faint. Not a malt-bomb, just one that is very focused on its own breadiness.

M: The breadiness of the APA is nice, a rich landscape of toffee and biscuit. A little more in the way of hops would really help though.

D: Another solid beer from McNeills. All the horror stories that I've hear are fading away as I sip my way through their line-up.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another gem from McNeil's. I have really been plowing through their lineup lately to say the least. I think this is the 6th or so I have had and I have one more left for tonight. Split with my brother in law over dinner, this one was consumed on 10/13/2009.
 
The pour was fairly nice I have to say. Nice golden amber in color with a good three inch head that quickly collapsed on itself and left behind only token amounts of lacing but kept a good bit of carbonation working up from the bottom of the glass throughout to make sure you kept yourself interested. Light aroma, hints of dry citrus notes, grapefruit maybe? A touch of light pineapple and a good bit of grain to balance it out. As I reach in to take a sip it just leaves me looking for a little bit more. It is nice and clean, crisp, dry and with a good hop kick right up front I would have just wanted a touch more to go on for me. Starts with a nice dose of grapefruit and light  orange flavor that quickly blends in with a bready taste and a nice touch of light grain. But then it just kind of all muddles and fades into one another and never really comes back to where it needs to be. Clean and dry finish and nothing really terribly heavy about it, but I was really just looking for that one more little punch to make this one excellent.
 
Overall a solid, seasonable and workable pale ale, but I just wanted a little bit more out of it. Would not turn it down but it needs a little work. Still good though.
 

Photo of erosier
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a golden orange color with a small and almost non-existent head white head that leaves little lacing down the glass.
S: Smells of sweet malts, nice floral and some citrisy hops as well.
T: Tastes like the nose - very nice sweet malty base, and then a big citrisy/floral hop flavor at the end.
M: Smooth, refreshing, but it seemed a bit raw. Nice flavors though.
D: Pretty drinkable, I enjoyed this one alot.

Photo of marc77
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Copper hue with a light haze. Well retained ivory white, lofty, dense head leaves lace. Mellow citrus of a ripe tangerine and pink grapefruit dominates the aroma. Secondary are light caramel malt notes and a pine sap tinge as well. Understated, yet enticing aromawise. In flavor, incipient is a lightly acidic, sweetened lemon twang. It is promptly complemented by stately, orange rind bitterness and vibrant orange zest notes. Bready pale malt hints surface as the beer warms, but there is meager outright malt character overall. Vitrually bereft of yeast presence, save a trace persistent tartness. Lightly bodied, perhaps overly so, with a passably dextrinous mouthfeel. Finishes with a brief surge of hop bitterness and lingering clementine hints, which whet the palate for more. In terms of hop flavor, this is perhaps the most purely sweet orange laden APA I've had, having little of the stylistically ubiquitous grapefruit or pine notes. Well balanced and soft overall. With a more pronounced malt backbone this would be excellent. Very tasty, nonetheless, and certainly better than OJ. Thanks to Mikeys01 for the bottle!

Photo of ppoitras
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22ozer from Brattleboro Co-Op, Brattleboro, VT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" eggshell head over a cloudy golden amber brew. Uneven head lasts reasonably, with great lacing. Slightly sweet aroma with citrus notes. Very earthy taste upfront (not so much in a good way), with expected hops character. Mouthfeel and drinkability were both affected by what I perceived as off flavors in the taste. Disappointing, since the appearance and nose were so promising. Will have to revisit and verify.

Photo of 31Sam13
3.69/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had to give some higher-than-newb marks because of my long affinity with this beer.
( Maybe a bad choice of words.) However, this stuff has been satisfying a small percentage of us in the Connecticut River Valley for many years. The taproom is rustic, inviting, friendly and the beer is underrated. Champ is one of my faves...perhaps it's the whole experience but I will never take this of of my Zombie Apocalypse List...Along with Spam and Zombie dust, if that gives you any perspective. Seriously good....

Photo of jlindros
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours light creamy and bubbly head. A hazy pale almost glowing wheat orange color.

N: Nose is quite nice and complex. It has some creamy malts, and a decent pale malt aroma. Hints of fruit and... grape?... and a nice hop aroma, with some grassy, chewy, and fruity hops.

T: Starts with a malty bite, some nice dark toasty malts, a really nice malt flavor actually. It then comes through with some light pale bitterness and some light grassy and spicy hop flavors. Those hop flavors are then followed with some fruity and juicy hops. More earthy malt flavors mingle. A slight citrus orange peel flavor comes through a little on the end, but isn't too bad yet.

M: Somewhat light body with good carbonation.

F: FInishes with a nice light pale bitterness that builds a bit, then adds more of the spicy hop quality and can be somewhat dry. Then it gets a somewhat unpleasant bitterness, like biting on an orange peel as that orange peel citrus flavor goes way over the top. Overall it's a nice pale ale, with some nice hop flavors, lighter fare, great malt flavors, and refreshing. The only real issue is that strong orange peel bitterness.

Photo of jdhilt
2.78/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Explodes out of bottle for a five+ finger white head that fades slowly to a ring leaving some lace. Clear amber color. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Grapefruit nose. Flavor is sour peach and grapefruit, lingering bitter aftertaste from the hops. $2.99 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

Photo of mikeys01
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice amber/light brown color, with a healthy white head that gradually dissipated. Aroma is very strong with citrus hops and just a bit of caramel. Taste is boldly hoppy and bitter at first, more so than expected, but then blends into a nice malty midground that carries you through to a smooth finish leaving just a hint of bitterness and floral hop flavor on the tongue. Body is quite medium. A very good American Pale ale, not an extreme example of the style, but very nicely done indeed.

Photo of mvanaskie13
2.44/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a fluted glass, color is pale copper, translucent, head is off white, very thick and dense, clings the glass well.

Smell is slightly off, bitternes is the there, but the sweet notes are not, hints of vinegar.

Taste starts out somewhat clean, light caramel sweet, but is caught up by some tartness, something is off, bitternes is there but not in a flavorful way.

Mouthfeel is balanced, the tartness is not lingering and the bitterness is the for a pale.

Overall, I don't like this as pale, it looks nice but does not followup; again an off beer from McNeill's, could be the freshness, could be the product and attention to quality, so far it has been 50/50.

Photo of firkinhophead
3.59/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$4.99 from the Casual Pint in Knoxville. Bottle conditioned.

Pours cloudy, golden with a thick, fluffy head that rises up over the rik and takes a while to settle down. Clumpy, sticky lace.

Aroma is a strong suit. Sharp, yeasty notes of cheddar, apple, lemon, and biscuit. Floral hops.

Steely wheaty malts, citrus pith, vinous dry fruitiness, mild lemon soapyness.

Thin, slick mouthfeel like a wheat beer. Dry and a tad chaulky. Soft on the palate from the bottle conditioning.

Easy drinking, dry and subtle. A great summer ale that would pair well with bread, cheese and fruit. Drinks like a Saison without the spiciness. Would be great on cask. Perhaps a bit simple, but quite satisfying.

to view more.
McNeill's Champ Ale from McNeill's Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.