Harlem Sugar Hill Ale - Harlem Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Harlem Sugar Hill AleHarlem Sugar Hill Ale

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BA SCORE
75
okay

95 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 95
Reviews: 47
rAvg: 3.24
pDev: 16.36%
Wants: 1
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harlem Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Blonde Ale |  6.09% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-31-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 47
Reviews by Loki:
Photo of Loki
3.75/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a great example of a lighter style beer. Would be great for a ball game, picknick, or park outing.

Clear Golden color, with a decent head. Light aroma, mainly malt with very subtle hints of citrus.

Clean, crisp taste of with a little malt for sweetness and trace amounts of hops. Average mouth feel with nothing exciting or different.

Great drinkability, especialy on those hotter days. Overall all an enjoyable beer from a small brewery. I can't wait to see what Celeste at Harlem Brewing Company comes out with next.

(Side note if you are looking for this in the Piedmont of NC the only places I have found it was City Beverage and GSO Wine Warehouse.)

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer comes from a centuries old African recipe...uh huh.Anyways found this brew for $3.99 at the local health food store and gave it a try,pours a nice golden color with a head that starts out nice but fades really quickly.I get a slight toasted malt aroma but not much more in the aroma.A malt accented brew biscuity and lightly fruity finishing pretty crisp and clean.This beer was much better than expected,not great by any means but for $3.99 cant beat it good brew for the hot and humid weather down here.

Photo of Billolick
3.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, I picked up at the Brewtopia festival to sample. Pours medium straw, cloudy, white, moderate head and leaves respectable lacing. Moderate nose of mostly just abit of malt. This is a fairly light bodied brew, sweetness upfront and apparant, middle section is nondescript and it finishes with just a wiff of drying and grainy hops. Middle of the road quaffer. Worth a try to support this Harlem NYC, brewery , but will not be of much more interest for most BAs.

Photo of Thrasher
4.13/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brilliant gold with impressive, rich head. Appealing aroma with whiffs of sweet malt and light hops. This delicate beer is like Budweiser with balls. Mostly sweet, with a very light bitterness from the hops that follows through in the finish. The malts have a sugary quality, with some corn flavors - but still very appealing; some faint lemon traces. Easy to drink, just a damn good all-around beer. Reminiscent of Czech pilsners while remaining in ale territory. Probably a great summer brew but it's December now and I'm digging it just fine. I'd imagine anyone who likes beer (whether it be Busch Light or Samichlaus) would enjoy this. Here's hoping to hear (and taste) more good things from this new kid on the block.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sugar Hill Golden Ale
$1.99 @ Whole Foods, Union Square, NY

Appearance: Clear amber body with golden highlights beneath a creamy head of slightly off-white. The head retention is quite good and it maintains a solid surface covering even after dropping. A sheet of lace is left behind with each sip, and although it slides back into the liquid most of it remains, rising up like a mountain range in the distance.

Smell: Grainy malt with a bit of yeasty fruitiness and some minor grassy hop notes. Clean.

Taste: The grainy malt dominates the flavor profile, accented by the yeasty fruitiness (apple, fig). The hops are spicy and grassy, helping the very firm bitterness to bring it to a dry and spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied with a gentle zest on the tongue.

Overall: A decent beer with an interesting character. It's a basic American blonde ale and it won't turn any heads, but it's well-made and should hold its own with the best of 'em.

Photo of ElGordo
3.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn, if your girl starts actin' up, then you take her friend"
- Rapper's Delight, Sugar Hill Gang

Got to try a bit of this at the World Beer Festival in Durham last night. I met the founder of the brewery, who said it is currently being contract-brewed by someone upstate. Nice golden color, light floral aroma like a golden ale or high-class American lager. Very sweet, lightly malty palate. I was actually surprised at how sweet this beer is (I guess the name is pretty apt). Not really anything new, but a pleasant beer that would be good for a session on a warm day.

Photo of socon67
3.65/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this since I've been in Harlem alot recently, and wanted to give this a try. The beer is actually brewed in Saratoga Springs, but I won't hold it against them.

A - nothing special. Typical look of a blonde ale.

S - Slight citrus taste. Also a bouquet of hops. Not strong, but I'd call it "floral".

T - pretty good. Again, a blonde ale is a relatively safe beer, so its hard to screw this up.

M - Fairly pleasant. You can enjoy this a slowly or as fast as you like.

D - Very drinkable. This would (no surprise) go well with soul food, or really any comfort food like chicken and some steamed veggies.

Give it an extra props for being one of the few breweries run by a woman. Celeste did a good job with this. Hey, it is a blonde ale so its not a stand-out. But I would absolutely go back to this one.

Photo of tempest
3.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a bottle at Euro Market. It poured a clear amber with a little yeast on the bottom of the bottle. By color and taste I'd say this is an amber ale, though it is light in character. The beer comes off like a lighter version of Dundee's Honey Brown, there's just a simple, mild caramel barley character that dries out in the finish. There's nothing exceptional here, but it is a clean, drinkable ale.

Photo of scootny
3.75/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice hazey blonde with a good sized off white head and decent retention. A few spots of lace here and there. Smell is light and sweet with a cereal grains and light English ale fruitiness. Some earth as well. Taste is much the same with a bit of honeyed malt and a nice firm earthy hop presence to balance it out. Flavors develop as it warms giving it nice depth and a touch more complexity. A bit of biscuits toward the end. Dry clean finish with a good carbonation to lend a light citrus aspect. Feel is well carbonated and almost creamy with a medium weight. Goes down easy and lends itself to any session you may find. Quenching and clean this is a beer that will satisfy the BA as well as the BMC drinker. Nice brew.

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, biscuts. Taste is refreshing, malty, some hops are present as well as a biscut flavor. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer on a hot summer night.

Photo of AaronRed
3.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was excited to try this new beer, as I often look for lighter beers in the summer- especially for people who come over who are not used to richer more flavorful beers. This is nice beer for summer. Light and clear, the head stayed well, with some lace down the side. Not much of a smell, except for some sweetness. My first sip was not the best. As I drank this beer, I liked it more. There is a hop presence, and although this beer is lighter, it does not weaken. What bitterness there is makes this beer very drinkable. Malt and sweetness balance it out. Not a great beer, at least for me, but one that I would drink on a hot summer day.

Photo of Scherring
2.8/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Mahogany color almost red, opaque with a half fingers width of off white head with an OK lacing.

S- Very aromatic with a very noticeable honey tone and under tones of sweetness and alcohol.

T- Off the bat, just like the first whiff, a taste of honey. There is a very brief taste of alcohol but not as noticeable as the smell of alcohol i had. It is very well hidden behind the sweetness of this beer.

M- This beer coats your mouth in a syrupy layer and finishes off smooth. The taste lingers on your tongue, but only for a moment

Photo of PEBKAC
3.52/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My local finally got some sixers in, as I'd been waiting to try it for a bit now.

"Taste the Music"

Props for the jazzy labeling. Maybe they can get Spike Lee & Wesley Snipes to endorse it in true "Mo Betta" character. Maybe Denzel can make a cameo. Snipes really needs the money I heard. :P

Now this stuff really twinkles the ivory! Crazy carbonation & a genuine golden shimmer. A half inch of ethereal eggshell-colored head that recedes on schedule.

Smell is half-way caramelized malt & an uncertain trust in cold steel.

Initial taste is cream, but it drops right into a total caramel base, a single slice of buttered toast, with semi-grassy addition to the mix for the finish.

Grainy, but the alcohol is smooth. Slightly thicker then it appears. Carbonation is lower then expected, which is the only big fault I could find. The name "Sugar Hill" is not an understatement.

I took out half the six in 25 minutes. :o

"Cause mo better makes it mo better." :)

Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear deep golden yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down but consistently left a small head covering the surface and lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of biscuit and cracker malts in the nose along with some faint hints of berbal hops.
T: Like the smell, the taste some flavors of sweet malts along with hints of herbal hops, the latter of which contributes a light amount of bitterness that persists into the finish.
M: It feels a bit more than light-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and flavorful compared to some of the other beers in the style.

Photo of plaid75
3.65/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium straw hugh with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a nice clean grain with a smattering of floral hops.

The taste was also a clean grain with a bit of a peppery hop spiciness. Very nice doughy finish. Stronger than usual sweetness for a golden ale.

The mouthfeel was clean and crisp.

Overall an enjoyable light ale. Very good session material.

Photo of Rudgers73
3.67/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a very malty beer. Sweet, malty, and a little dry at the end. The smell is almost like a buttery oak aroma. The mouthfeel is very creamy and it leaves a warming coat in your mouth. Not bad for $5 a 6'er. Tastes more like a $2 beer to me.

cheers

Photo of david18
3/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got a bottle of this at Artisinal Cheese Restaurant in New York City. Not the best blond ale i've had. Had a deep orange color with a smallish head. Not a great or distinct aroma. Really a very run of the mill beer. I guess this is a new brewery so i'll keep an eye on them and see what else they come up with in the future.

Photo of CHickman
1.6/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Pours cloudy orange amber with a 1 finger tan head that faded quickly; pretty weak lacing that slid down fast.

Smells of honey, sweet malt, light caramel, coriander, light brown sugar, cotton candy, yeast and almost like mead or a bready smell - kind of strange smell like a sweet piece of old wheat bread; not the light blonde ale odor I was expecting, in fact it was the opposite.

Tastes like it smells, which is not a good thing; the combo of honey, sweet malt, caramel, coriander, light brown sugar, funky yeast and wet bread just don't work well together. This beer is too sweet with basically has no hop presence, and to make it worse it left a funky yeast metallic taste with no good taste reward beforehand. The aftertaste was almost like rotten fruit.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with little to no carbonation and a silky feel on the tongue. Goes down physically easy, too bad it tastes like ass. This was a drain pour; my two friends that were with me tried some of my beer (this bottle) and both agreed that this beer just tastes bad; perhaps it was a bad bottle, otherwise it's just awful.

Photo of Lexluthor33
3.8/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours Golden with a small head and lace.
The aroma was subtle and it was pretty much hops,malts and some fruit hints.
The taste was simple. Mildly sweet,malty,hops and some fruity notes.
The feel was light,easy to drink with some mild bitterness and medium carbonation. The balance was very good and the finish was very clean with some grains.

Notes: Just my opinion,but I do not see this beer as "ghetto" or hip hop. I think of Harlem and I think Jazz,trumpets and fancy night clubs. At least that was the image Harlem had. Now,I suppose it is a lot different and constantly changing.I just do not think a decent beer such as this really needs any added images or personalities.Summer time brew and decent to stand on it's own.

Photo of TheDeuce
3.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sugar Hill Golden Ale...had this bottle at Blue Hill Restaurant.

Appearance-muddled golden color, white to tan head, medium size, medium carbonation, nothing else was notable.

Smell-honey, hops, residual sweetness, sweeter than the average beer of this style.

Taste/Mouthfeel- run of the mill blonde ale, medium strength mix of alcohol, hops, caramel malt, light grain. Nice smoothness, goes down really easy, you can either sip this or down it quickly.

Drinkability- well it's not winning any awards but it does nothing wrong and went great with my shrimp.

Overall-meh, pretty much same as the drinkability, inoffensive beer that went well with my dinner and doesn't mess anything up, that said there is nothing to separate it from being an adequate blonde ale.

Photo of woodychandler
3.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had to pick up some bottles recently and in getting a discount on a mixed-six, I decided to give this one a whirl.

From the bottle: "Legend has it that during the Harlem Renaissance, a special beer was being brewed Uptown in Harlem that was the rave! It was the brew of choice for musicians, artists and locals alike. Named for that swinging neighborhood made famous by this period, Sugar Hill Golden Ale sings with flavor!"; "Taste the Music".

My pour netted a finger of bone-white head with good retention. Color was a deep golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity. Nose was quite biscuity, very reminiscent of Fat Tire, actually. Mouthfeel was medium with a big biscuit malt presence on the tongue. Finish gave way to a grassy hops taste that was nice. It was pretty standard for the style. A nice break from the IPAs of the last two days, but nothing truly remarkable.

Photo of Rifugium
2.54/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

First had: bottle at Iridium Jazz Club, NYC, NY

I cringed at the $8 price tag on this as my buddy got it, and sadly it was the best beer Iridium had to offer. I sampled it, but ultimately decided if I needed to reach a $15 minimum, I might as well get a martini.

But anyway, this was a slightly hazy, light amber beer, with a fizzy white head that receded to nearly nothing; bubbly carbonation and no real lacing noted. Aroma of toasted grains and corn sugar. More of the same in the taste, pale malty sweetness, toasted grains, light grassiness, slightly metallic edge in the finish. Light body, and not too pleasant overall. Shame on Iridium for gouging these suckers. A crappy club that I hope never to return to, though it was worth it to see Paul Gilbert play "Man on the Silver Mountain" with the Les Paul Trio.

Photo of mummbearsfan
3.75/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This brew from Harlem Brewery was a good buy. The golden color was dark golden color just had me wondering at first if this was a hybrid beer between an amber and an adjunct lager.

The aroma of this brew was malty with just a hint of hoppiness. Tasting this beer I found it quite smooth and refreshing not too heavy on the pallet.

Overall I would recommend this beer for parties and having a few while watching the game.

Photo of alexwag
3.36/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Always like to try a local beer, and this was a new one on me ...

A: Poured a slightly darker than Bud crisp copper with less than one finger of fizzy, quickly dissipating head. Slightly cloudy, not unlike today's hot and humid weather so looks refreshing.

S: Not much to speak off. Crisp and clean, but again, not unlike a macro, though with some welcome added hop snap.

T: Sings a note smooth and sharp, with some yeasty tartness and a little lemon zest.

M: Fizziness on the tongue with a nice creaminess (not too much) -- nice mix.

D: Nice for a summer day -- the yeastiness/touch of metal becomes drags a bit as you go through, but overall nice. Not a go-to but might buy again for consistent refreshment.

Photo of Gavage
2.6/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: pours a hazy orange color with a wispy head. No lace develops.

Smell: sugary sweetness is all that is detected.

Taste: mild malt profile with a super sugary and ripe pear / apple sweetness. Very little bitterness to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp from start to finish.

Drinkability: this beer is not balanced nor is it refreshing as the style usually is. Way too sweet for my tastes.

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Harlem Sugar Hill Ale from Harlem Brewing Company
75 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.