California Ale - Telegraph Brewing Company

Not Rated.
California AleCalifornia Ale

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BA SCORE
80
good

62 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 62
Hads: 124
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 13.47%
Wants: 5
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Telegraph Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SBPCGuru on 03-15-2006

Telegraph California Ale is our flagship beer and is our interpretation of the unique ales that were commonly brewed up and down the West Coast in the 19th century. It is an unfiltered medium-bodied beer, with a rich amber color and a rocky, white head. The beer is crafted using domestic American ingredients and fermented with a unique yeast strain that accentuates the hoppy spiciness, while also imparting fruity and subtly tart flavors. The aromas are spicy and earthy, reminiscent of the rich agricultural valleys surrounding Santa Barbara.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 62 | Hads: 124
Photo of sloejams
4.3/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer now several times and each time I find myself enjoying it more. My brother now lives in Santa Barbara; so one fine sunny afternoon while visiting him, we biked over to the Telegraph Brewery. It's a small operation that offers tastings - I definitely recommend swinging by if in SB.

Since then I've been seeing their quality beers popping up throughout Los Angeles and more often than not - it's this one.

It's darker and a bit maltier than a traditional saison. In fact, there's no indication by Telegraph themselves that this is a saison. The rest of the elements certainly suggest it though. It has the pepper and citrus tones. A flavor that is quite complex but enjoyed so simply. The malty edge Telegraph infuses will probably be a bit confusing initially - for me the first two times I've tried it. But it warms up to you and you can easily see how this helps it transcend to a be a beer that can be enjoyed all year round. (950 characters)

Photo of kirok1999
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Haven't had too many Saisons. Pours a bubbly copper with a large rising off white head. Smells of grass, wheat and a slight sweetness.
Tastes wheaty, grassy, some mild funky Belgian notes, strong and slightly bitter aftertaste, slightly sour and astringent. Feels slightly bready, bubbly as well.
Easy to drink, especially with some strong cheese and crackers. (360 characters)

Photo of MiScusi
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica, CA. Poured light brown and had lots of earthy and spicy character to it. Thought there was quite a resemblance to the Russian River Perdition I had earlier. Carbonation was very lively and on the higher side. I have to go with an all around good for this beer because I think it could be an exceptional one to start a night out with. I will need to sample this again to pick up it's nuances. (434 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ML from the San Luis Obispo BevMo.

Near clear amber colored ale with a tall off-white to tan colored head that dissipates fairly fast. Quite dark for a beer in the Saison category. Amber might be generous and maybe I ought to be calling this a brown colored beer. But there is a bit too much orange in there to really call it brown.

The smell is a little sweet and spicy with the flowery aroma that you would expect from a beer of this type. Quite spicy for this beer type and much more like a Belgian pale in this respect. Lots of pepper and a little cinnamon and coriander.

The taste begins dry and quite spicy and a little bitter. Quite a smack in the mouth taste-wise this is certainly no mild and subtle beer this really gets your attention. Dry and peppery and solidly bitter this isn't a Saison with lots of subtle flavors this is the type that stuns you mouth with the power of it. Definitely at the extreme end of Saison flavor.

The mouthfeel is rather thick for the style.

Drinkability is always subjective to the drinker but for this beer it will be more so. Very powerfully flavored this is comparable to Imperial IPA in its flavor intensity. I would have to call this an extreme beer and the strongest flavored Saison I have ever tasted. If you want a mild flowery beer then THIS is NOT the beer for you. I you like EXTREME beers then this IS a beer for you. (1,390 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at biegaman's super extravaganza spring Saison tasting! Biegaman cracked this one open.

Pours a cloudy orange/brown, thin off white head, lace spots, settles to a thin layer, head lasts. Smell is neat, sweet, honey, bit of funk, sour fruity middle, citrus/lemons, kind of yeasty. Taste is similar, malty, wheat, citrus, sourness, floral and fruit, bit of vanilla, yeast and fruits in the finish, decent complexity, flavours work well together. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation, good drink, easy to put down and refreshing for the heat. Thanks Jan! (575 characters)

Photo of crwills
4.1/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasting at biegaman's place with grub, viggo, lexx, blankboy (RB), and tupalev (RB). I didn't write down who brought what, unfortunately, so thanks everyone!

Poured a mildly cloudy brown with no head at all -- but still looks very nice, great colour! Aroma is floral hops and a slightly sour tinge, and the flavour carries this excellently. Funky saison aroma, more hops in the flavour than I'd expect, but the uniqueness made it great. Bitter, crisp aftertaste.

My highest rated beer of the tasting! Good stuff! (518 characters)

Photo of grub
3.7/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

group tasting may 26/07 with biegaman, Viggo, Lexx, crwills, blankboy@RB, tupalev@RB, and me (grub). everybody threw something into the mix and we had a great lineup of beer. biegaman contributed this one, so thanks jan!

750ml bottle, corked and caged.

pours reddish amber colour, getting lighter and more hazy towards the bottom of the bottle. very small white head drops fast and leaves no lace.

aroma is nice. bit of malt vinegar. light lemony sourness. bit of funk. light cracker malt. bit of citrus character.

taste is good. light cracker malt. bit of lemony sourness. medium-low bitterness level. touch of orange and grapefruit.

mouthfeel is good. medium carbonation level. fairly light bodied with a dry finish.

drinkability is good. balanced and interesting beer. (789 characters)

Photo of bjohnson
1.78/5  rDev -49%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours a dark amber color with a slight haze. Puffy half finger white head. An interesting color for a saison--even though above it says they aren't marketing it as such. The wtf is this? Aromas of strong bubblegum and fruit notes. Candied sugar belgian esters with a sharp hop presence.

Yikes. Carbonation blast up front almost made me gag. Candied sugar malt notes with hints of caramel and bubblegum. Carbonation dries out the taste buds and leaves the a grassy like bitterness with a slight yeasty residue. Mouthfeel is actually a tad light despite the earthy flavors. I'm not sure what this beer is striving to emulate. A houblon chouffe or a spicy dubbel. It's not very well balanced with aspects crossing over many different styles. Suffice it to say, my drain was thirsty. Saison? definitely not. a mess? yep. (820 characters)

Photo of rallison
4.18/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Z's Taphouse in Goleta. Served in a 20 ounce hefeweizen style glass. Served a bit too cold, although not as cold as some places do...at least the glasses weren't chilled. Thank you Z's.

A: Nice semi-cloudy brown/red color with a 1/4" white head that stays as lacing throughout the whole session.

S: This was the only area that was not too impressive. Picked up some standard maltiness, nothing out of the ordinary here.

T: Interesting. That is my first impression. It really is an amber meets a saison, like other people have said. And this exact description was used by me while drinking it, only to come on here and see that as a common thread. But it's quite true. You get a good amber ale basically in the malt bill, but then get just a hint of the funky characteristics of belgian saison yeasts plus a nice spiciness. It really is a nice combo. And it's perfectly balanced, with just the right amount of carbonation. If more ambers had these extra characteristics, I'd be drinking a lot more ambers!

M: Very good. Body is consistent with the good amber ales.

D: Definitely very good. The perfect balance of this beer keeps it very sessionable. Extremely drinkable.

I know this beer is very local, but I'm glad to see another Santa Barbara brewer doing some interesting things. I'm really looking forward to trying their porter. I have high hopes based on this beer and the reviews for the porter. I'd recommend giving this a try if you come through the Santa Barbara County region. Or trade for a bottle, as these are bottled (distribution is extremely limited though).

So yes, recommended. (1,627 characters)

Photo of goschool
3.78/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at JJ Brewsky's in Camarillo, CA.

Appearance: The pour is deep amber with a frothy off-white head.

Smell: The nose has an earthy character to go with hops and sweet malts.

Taste: Initially, I thought this was a Fat Tire rip-off, but it's more like an amber meets California common meets saison. West coast hops and Belgian yeast are up front and sweet, fruity malts come in soon afterwards. It's just barely hop-forward.

Mouthfeel: It's medium-bodied with plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability: It's an interesting, well made brew, but its flavor profile isn't one that I could drink more than a large pint of in a session. (644 characters)

Photo of SBPCGuru
4.5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer out of a growler at the brewery on 5/19/06 for a tasting party.

Color is dark caramel. Flavorful and delicious beer. Medium carbonation makes a great mouthfeel. Medium head retention with slight lacing down the glass. Very well balanced (malt & hops) beer. Would drink again for sure.

This beer fits the Amber Ale / Siason category and is not your ordinary beer by any means. This says a lot since I have sampled over 200+ beers from local and global breweries. When I find a beer that impresses me, I let everyone know it. Take my guidance and try this beer on draft or pickup a growler at the brewery. (624 characters)

Photo of JayTheFinn
3.7/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had one of these after work out on the deck at Peabody's in Montecito. Great beer for such an occasion and location. It's very reminiscent of a hefeweizen but with a little more body and while going down much smoother. I like the cloudy look. I don't know why that tends to excite me, probably cuz whenever I've had a cloudy hefe or pale I do seem to prefer it over the pristine clear ones I've had. It's just a bias of mine, one that could probably smashed by a really decent beer in those styles. (498 characters)

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California Ale from Telegraph Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.