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Harlem Sugar Hill Ale - Harlem Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Harlem Sugar Hill AleHarlem Sugar Hill Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

79 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 79
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 3.27
pDev: 14.98%
Wants: 1
Gots: 4 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-31-2002)
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Ratings: 79 | Reviews: 45 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CHickman

New York

1.53/5  rDev -53.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 04:26:35 | More by CHickman
Photo of Karibourgeois


2/5  rDev -38.8%

03-08-2014 23:11:35 | More by Karibourgeois
Photo of Gints316

2.25/5  rDev -31.2%

06-28-2014 20:41:39 | More by Gints316
Photo of lccrunchy


2.5/5  rDev -23.5%

10-13-2013 19:20:27 | More by lccrunchy
Photo of PopnLoads


2.5/5  rDev -23.5%

06-18-2014 19:50:01 | More by PopnLoads
Photo of Chsyhkr

North Carolina

2.53/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Fruit Cocktail?

A very sweet beer, a cross between Helles and Blond Ale which the sweetness of Helles and the fruitiness of an ale.

Pours a dark straw color into a glass with a wispy white head that does linger a while.

A sweet fruity aroma, see my first comment, follows into a sugary flavor with indistinguishable hop flavor.

Not a bad beer but not good either...

Someone sent it down to NC where we met the brewer, a nice but not very knowledgable person of brewing. Marketing perhaps.

Contract brewed somewhere for some market, black jazz clubs in NYC, perhaps...maybe rap clubs, "hotel, motel, Holiday Inn, SAY WHAT!"

Save your money...

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2004 12:04:33 | More by Chsyhkr
Photo of Rifugium


2.54/5  rDev -22.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2013 05:46:12 | More by Rifugium
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

2.58/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2009 18:50:07 | More by Gavage
Photo of UnionMade


2.6/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Ehhhh... I don't know what I was expecting, but i guess the whole Harlem/Sugar Hill thing gave me some higher expectations. I immediately thought of the Sugar Hill Gang and their timeless classic "Rappers Delight" when i saw this beer. In fact, i got it for my old school rap loving friend. I didn't get to give it to him quick enough and i drank it.
Beer is a pale, slightly hazy amber gold, with a clean pure white head. I have to say this was an attractive looking beer.
Things started to go wrong with the nose, which smelled almost exactly like a lager, something in the Helles style. I was kind of expecting something a little more estery, I guess.
Flavor is almost identical to a Helles, with a characteristic lagery flavor and aroma. Maybe it's the hops they used. Who knows. There's a touch of light fruitiness, but altogether, i didn't really enjoy this. My general feeling is that it's a regular american lager, with perhaps a little more body and a touch more hops. Not bad at all, but not what i was expecting or come to associate with a golden ale. Just kind of weak and uninspired. Definitely something to try for a gateway beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2003 03:15:57 | More by UnionMade
Photo of JoeMans

New York

2.75/5  rDev -15.9%

11-17-2013 19:22:13 | More by JoeMans
Photo of rab53


2.75/5  rDev -15.9%

12-01-2011 06:56:55 | More by rab53
Photo of Scherring

New York

2.78/5  rDev -15%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2011 06:40:52 | More by Scherring
Photo of david18

New York

3/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2009 18:38:54 | More by david18
Photo of RHB33


3/5  rDev -8.3%

06-17-2014 21:48:25 | More by RHB33
Photo of DonFrap


3/5  rDev -8.3%

04-17-2012 01:10:00 | More by DonFrap
Photo of jpro

South Carolina

3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz into a mug...

A: Rusty, straw gold; white head; about a finger of foam leaves no lace; OK look.

S: wheat malt; toast; light estery-ness; OK aroma.

T: light caramel malt; bread crust; candy sweetness and chalky hop bitterness; OK taste.

M: what you'd expect - it's OK.

O: an OK beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2014 22:50:07 | More by jpro
Photo of Artjsantos


3/5  rDev -8.3%

09-19-2013 12:38:29 | More by Artjsantos
Photo of stonewild

South Carolina

3/5  rDev -8.3%

08-08-2013 01:40:50 | More by stonewild
Photo of DelMontiac


3/5  rDev -8.3%

06-16-2014 15:19:29 | More by DelMontiac
Photo of jameyp


3/5  rDev -8.3%

03-14-2013 15:47:15 | More by jameyp
Photo of Svendozen

New Hampshire

3/5  rDev -8.3%

10-03-2013 04:55:31 | More by Svendozen
Photo of petermethot

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -8.3%

11-17-2013 19:59:30 | More by petermethot
Photo of TheDeuce

New York

3.05/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2010 16:35:08 | More by TheDeuce
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 ounce brown glass bottle with neck, obverse and reverse labels that all are all coordinated with a yellow-golden background color. The main label has a saxophone behind a large drum which in turn has a keyboard running across the front with the words ‘Sugar Hill’ formed from the ebony keys set against the ivory ones. Has the words ‘Sugar Hill Golden Ale’, and “Taste the Music” on the front label. No strength or freshness date listed.

The reverse label offers some background to the brew. Allegedly from a centuries-old African recipe, it is named after a swinging Harlem neighborhood made famous by musicians in the 1930’s.

Appearance: Has a lovely, ever so slightly hazed, fantastic looking orange golden body. The head is thick and rich, and readily forms a white blanket that is regular and uniform in appearance. Solid levels of carbonation, and excellent head longevity. Nice presentation, it looks extremely thirst quenching on a warm summers Sunday afternoon.

Nose: Sweet malts and not much else that I could discern to be honest. Serve well chilled thanks to a psychotic Fridge, even when it warmed the aroma was of sweet malts but a light hoppiness did develop after a while.

Taste: Sweet grainy malt bill to start with, had a light grain texture that is a tad cloying when set against the sweet malts. The middle though, is refreshing as the bitterness builds in the back end. Lingering bitterness on the tongue and in the sides of the mouth.

Mouthfeel: Average body in feel, bolstered by the initial grainy feel (whether you like it or not) and the nice bitter finish, all interspersed with a dashing sweet malt feel from time to time.

Drinkability: It took me a while to get used to this, but after a few mouthfuls, and after I knew what to expect, it wasn’t all bad. I am not too big on sweetness, just my personal trait, and I found that the sweetish malts and grainy malt texture were a little too much after a while. The lingering bitterness was nice though. For me this beer was much better at the end, as opposed to the beginning, if that doesn’t sound stupid.

Overall: A decent enough brew, but a tad too sweet in the long term for me to be honest. Not bad for a hot summers afternoon though.

A Big Musical Thanks to McCall for sending this rare one over!

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2004 21:09:00 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Mosstrooper


3.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into 500ml New Belgium branded tulip glass.

Appearance: Amber color with a good sized off-white, slightly orange, head that leaves a little bit of lace behind.

Smell: An almost overpowering sugary sweetness that has some fruit hints with a bit of a floral background.

Taste: Sweet fruits in the beginning (grape, apple) with a biscuity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with light carbonation and a syrupy finish.

Drinkability: This beer seemed a little off, so isn't something I'd be rushing to get again. Not necessarily bad, but unremarkable and a bit strange.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2010 02:11:19 | More by Mosstrooper
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Harlem Sugar Hill Ale from Harlem Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.