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Harlem Sugar Hill Ale | Harlem Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
77
okay
47 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
47
Ratings:
97
Avg:
3.32
pDev:
22.89%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
7
For Trade:
0
Harlem Sugar Hill AleHarlem Sugar Hill Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Harlem Brewing Company
New York, United States | website

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.09%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-31-2002

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Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 97
Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.15/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.49 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, darkened orange-amber body with a modest, white head.

Smell: A sweetish, spicy, but not particularly effusive nose, smelling of crumbled biscuits, equally crumble toffee crisps, a drizzle of apricot, dried lemon peel, and spicy, dried herbs.

Taste: Pale malts with a pinch of toasted biscuit crumbs and a bit of sweet butter toffee. Lightly fruity citrus and a touch of dry, tea-like herbs. Medium-light bitterness. Drying, faintly herbaceous finish with a lingering of that sweetish toffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It's a simple, satisfactory golden, nothing more. Best of luck to ya, Harlem Brewing!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +20.5%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.54/5  rDev -23.5%
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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.4/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clouded amber gold. No head. Nose is a fairly firm metallic with a bit of sugar peeking about as well. Flavor is bitter with a lemon citrus edge. Sweet as well, but just a faint touch. Metallic is the word here as that is the most dominant feature. Feel is nice on the bubble and a bit thicker on the liquid. Overall though the metallic flavors that are there kind of detract I think. I can't say it is anything exciting worth trying.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 10/06/12 notes.

a - Pours a golden-amber color with one inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sweet corn, wheat, grains, bready malts, and light floral hops. Not great, and not much going on here. Pretty average nose.

t - Tastes of lightly sweet honey and light fruits, corn, wheat, bready malts, grains, floral hops, and earthy malts. Nice sweetness from the honey and fruit, much better than the nose.

m - Light body and low carbonation. A bit undercarbonated and has a watery feel to it.

o - Overall a decent beer, though nothing amazing. Easy to drink and some nice honey in the taste, though the nose is uneventful. Probably wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.3/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

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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.

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Photo of tempest
3.3/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

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Photo of Gavage
2.6/5  rDev -21.7%
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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Photo of plaid75
3.65/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of avalon07
3.3/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a slightly hazy consistency. There was a very thin, foamy head that dissipated quickly. Average lacing.

S: Smelled mostly of malt, with some traces of yeast and citrus.

T: The malt dominates the taste, but like the smell, also has notes of yeast and citrus. Not a terrible taste, just very one-dimensional.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Light-bodied.

D: An OK, drinkable beer, in the sense that a style as undynamic as Blonde is drinkable.

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Photo of Suds
3.45/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Jazz age motif on the label, with an explanation that the beer is a variation on an African (?) recipe.
A hazy, straw colored liquid from a 12 ounce bottle yields a slight, webby head. The aroma is a mix of grain and yeast. Very faint hoppiness in the smell, well in the background. Overall muted and quiet aromas.
The taste is sweet, with a clean, distinct hop balance. It's well proportioned and finishes as a very refreshing and drinkable beer. Moderately high carbonation.
It's not outstanding, but still very good.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not sure how this made it down to City Beverage in Winston-Salem, but whatever. Pours a lightly hazy pale gold color with a medium thin bone white head. Lightly effervescent. The aroma is somewhat hoppy and a little metallic. Light-bodied and rather crisp with equal parts hops and sweet malt. The finish is on the bitter side. Overall this beer is barely above average and nothing memorable.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.06/5  rDev -7.8%
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!

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Photo of david18
3/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

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Photo of CHickman
1.6/5  rDev -51.8%
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.

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Photo of socon67
3.65/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of UnionMade
2.61/5  rDev -21.4%
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.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.44/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: slight haze; gold in color; 1 finger ivory head that receded to a wispy cap; very little lacing;

S: pilsner malt; slightly metallic;

T: malt sweetness up front; a very faint hint of citrus in the middle; finish is pilsner malt; mild bitterness at the end;

M: light to medium bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: very drinkable, but not very interesting;

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Photo of ElGordo
3.45/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of scootny
3.75/5  rDev +13%
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.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
2.99/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Harlem Sugar Hill Ale from Harlem Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.