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Pale Ale - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pale AlePale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

129 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 129
Hads: 242
Avg: 3.48
pDev: 16.09%
Wants: 2
Gots: 21 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company visit their website
New Mexico, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-03-2002

Anything but a typical American Pale, Santa Fe Pale Ale is as full bodied as its most robust English counterparts, while asserting its American origin with a healthy nose resplendent with Cascade and Willamette hops. It finishes with a well-balanced combination of the subtle, almost Pilsner-like maltiness accentuated by the German yeast used to brew this Santa Fe classic, and a hop bite sufficient to leave a lingering smile on the face of any fan of American Pale Ales.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 129 | Hads: 242
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.29/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a murky dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, earth, and slight herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, earth, and slight herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of earth and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is definitely more on the malty side of things with only a subtle amount of hop qualities in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear light amber in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short white head that died down rather quickly, leaving waves of lacing on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of biscuit and toasted malts are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of biscuit and toasted malts along with some slight hints of sweetness. No hops are detectable, but they seem to mask just about all of the sweetness.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather full in body compared to other pale ales—it's more like what you would expect from an Oktoberfest beer.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a way underrated pale ale. pours clear but thick, polleny honey colored with an average white head. the nose is a balanced beer, caramunich malt smell, and west coast hops. the flavor is more hoppy than the nose, with plenty of fruity esters as well. a floral hop profile and a touch of orange. mouthfeel is good, maybe a little heavy in the summer, but this is mid october and its full body is just right. good carbonation keeps it moving, and this is an easy sixpack. one of the better main line beers from santa fe.

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Photo of brentk56
3.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a thick, sturdy head that leaves a prodigious amount of lacing swirling the pint glass

Smell: Stone fruit aroma with an underlying toffee character

Taste: Opens with a finely balanced toffee and stone fruit flavor that bends toward the sweeter side; by mid-palate, a metallic element arrives as well; after the swallow, the flavors blend nicely, but the hop character is somewhat restrained

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not among the great pale ales, this is a rather enjoyable mainstream example of the style; easy to drink and to like

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A simple Pale Ale that balances well the elements of hops, esters, and soft caramel flavors.

The beer pours with a bright copper-golden color, mild haze (typical of dry-hopping) and soft carbonation that forms a medium but firm head that remains the session while leaving light hints of lacing behind.

Sweet aromas of caramel are backed by more fruity esters that normally found in an American Pale. Citrus and floral hops provide a delicate blend to accompany the esters and caramel. Peaches, appricots, and apples give a hint to the fruits while honeysuckle and nectar give light to the floral character.

The estery and caramel mix keeps the beer a bit sweeter and lingering a bit longer than drier, crisper versions. A mild slickness forms making me think buttery compounds. Hop bitterness provides a nice balanced compliment to the sweeter notes. Otherwise, the beer is medium weighted and moderately full.

As the beer warms, I notice more and more apple flavor comming from the esters and yeast. Though a nice Pale, I do prefer them drier and crisper.

Thanks again BlueOkie!

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Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of my brother-in-law and his trip to Lincoln, NE.

A - Poured out a clear, amber color with a good deal of carbonation and a bubbly, off-white, two-finger head.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and grasses. Also, some floral notes.

T - It tasted of citrus and roasted malt. The hops provided some nice bitterness.

M - It was crisp and quite sharp. Medium-bodied and easy drinking.

D - This is a nice APA. I really enjoyed my first beer from New Mexico.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dusky butterscotch-orange with loads of suspended tiny bits, capped by a largish ecru head that leaves thin, though nearly unbroken, sheets of lace in its wake. The inviting aroma is more earthy fruity than citrus fruity, more ESB than APA. The nose could be more assertive, but the cap of foam is still at a dense one finger. It may open up as I get further into the glass.

The beer tastes like it smells and is more reminiscent of peaches and apricots than apples and pears. A more than solid malt structure provides a near-syrupy sweetness and mouthfeel (for the style) as well as a toasted grain flavor that works well. The finish lingers thanks to a medium-full body. There's also a pleasant mineral-like flavor that gives a firm purposefulness to the beer.

Santa Fe Pale Ale is a sweetish ESB or an English pale ale more than it is an APA. And it's a well-brewed one at that. It probably won't wow anyone, but its brewers should be proud all the same. A good beer from the Cactus State. Thanks SeanChouffe.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.62/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

medium to light amber color with a thick head of white that sat on top throughout the entire session, nice lacing down the glass.

aroma is light, nice little notes of citrus, hints of apple, pears, light grasses and a smooth, even flavor or light fruity yeast. as i take the first sip i get the clean, crisp flavor right off the bat. really nicely done. clean and light hops,

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a flared glass mug.

Thanks to papollo for this bottle!

Shared this bottle with my brother, who seemed to really enjoy it. It pours a mostly clear golden straw (touches of amber here and there, as though Rembrandt painted it near the end of his career, when all of the paint was troweled on) topped by a finger of white foam. The nose is straight pale ale: caramel trunking some branches of floral and citrus hops. The taste has the same overtly simple design, though both the hops and the caramel are enhanced a bit, the former a bit bitterer and the latter a bit sweeter. The body is on the heavier side of light, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta crisp finish. Overall, though I wasn't as impressed with this as my brother was, I still found it rather nice.

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Photo of mactrail
3.61/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice light version of the style. Pleasant hoppiness without making a bold statement. Warming malt is fairly full for a slight beer. Attractive golden amber in the glass, nice head and a pleasant mouthful. Coarser carbonation than most. Rather rich mouthfeel for the low alcohol and modest ingredients. Would be a great quaff. A summer beer with more flavor than most.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from timbro81, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, pale hops and a little citrus.

T: The taste is decently balanced with sweet flavors of caramel & citrus and a pale hops bitterness. There's a hearty malt character but it isn't too heavy. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a decent beer to drink for while.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.49/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big off white head that just sort of sits above a clear to cloudy rich honey golden colored beer.

Very light aroma of citrus and pine style hops.

Light citrus and pine to almost fresh grass style hops taste.

This medium bodied beer mellow to a slight bittering dry aftertaste with just a bit of the beers tastes sticking around.

An OK beer, a little week or bland but not bad either, just want a bit more from a pale ale.

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Photo of russpowell
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours sort of a peach tea color with 3 fingers of rocky sand colored head. Average lacing & above average head retention

S: Slight citirc hops presence

T: Citric hops (lemons & alittle grapefruit), plus some breadyness up front. Finishes dry with a lemony piney hop florish

MF: Medium bodied with lively carbonation. I figure it helps the hops pop

Drinks very easy, a nice simple, but enjoyable APA. Very pricey at $9 a sixer though

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clouded amber brown with a crème head. Nose is sticky sweet and floral hops. Flavor is smooth and sweet. A bit too sweet really as it crosses into territory that seems not pale ale-ish. A bit salty. A touch of fruit. Kind of a mish mash and it doesn't really seem to carry balance. Seems like it was thrown together. Feel is okay. Liquid is fine and the carbonation is okay. Easily drinkable, but nothing of note really. Put this in a cask and have someone tap it at the right time and it would be interesting I bet.

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Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper with a thin white head that descends to a thin cover.

The smell is of caramel with underlying citric/touch of lemon.

The taste is of citric bitterness intermingling with sweet caramelish malt. Lemony, slightly piney. Well-balanced between bitter and sweet with the sweetness winning out by a hair in the finish. I was between two scores on the taste, but it's one of those that grow tastier as it progresses, leading me to give it the higher score.

The feel is smooth in a medium body. Nice texture.

A nice, well-balanced easy "session" pale ale. Mild, but tasty.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a clear orange color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of biscuit and toffee malt with a little bit of orange citrus notes mixed in. The flavor is similar. Other than the orange citrus notes - and a little bit of grass from the hops - I get some biscuit and toffee malt and not too much else. The bitterness is pretty low and the beer is very drinkable. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of Gavage
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a hazy orange color with a thick 2" fluffy head that lasts a while.

Smell: loads of orange citrus, some softer lemon zest, and some grassiness is detected.

Taste: a bready malt profile here with caramel, strong orange flavors, and a mild bitterness makes up a standard fare pale ale.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smoother and breadiness lingers at the finish.

Drinkability: so-so pale ale that one may grow a bit bored of after one or two. Overall a bit too bready for me.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, amber copper color that would probably cleared quite a bit if I had let it sit for a day or two in my fridge. The head is a billowing, frothy mass of varied-sized bubbles that form to make an initially three-finger thick, light tan colored head. The aroma smells of sweet caramel malts and a bright fruitiness that seems to be a mix of berries, sweet citrus, apricots and something definitely like a tropical fruit notes. Towards the end is a dry toasted malt note that is only noticeable if you really search for it. The aroma is quite interesting, much more fruity than I was expecting.

This beer has a smooth, almost creamy, mouthfeel that makes this quite easy drinking. The fruity notes, that are in the aroma, are here in the taste, but quite a bit muted from the vibrancy that they have there. The finish has a bit of a muddied malt character to it, it just doesn't seem as bright as it should. Malt notes of caramel, toffee and toasted grain intermingle on the tongue and add some contrast to the fruity notes. This beer has some interesting hop character, while a bit more muted than I would like, it has notes of apricots, tangerines, tropical fruit, and sweet orange peel. Ultimately this beer, while tasty, seems to be lacking something that would give it a better balance. Perhaps it is that muddy note, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.78/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Listed as an APA, but it seems more like an English pale. The malt backbone is nice and earthy, semi-sweet and not intrusive.

It's a bit hazy, copper in the pour. Head is medium and retains well. Pretty good lacing.

Aroma is the first clue that the malt and earthiness is the focal point. Some 'musty fruit' is all I can explain. Maybe stone fruit or something.

Hops in the flavor are minimal, but provide a nice counterbalance to the malt. Somewhat sharp bite, perhaps metallic.

Very nice drinking. good beer

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Photo of Wasatch
3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to slcbrewer for this brew.

Pours a cloudy dark orange color, some carbonation, tiny fizzy head, no lacing at all. The nose is malty, slightly hoppy, and some caramel. The taste is malty, hoppy, and some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, not bad, but would not seek out again.

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Photo of John_M
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A friend from work brought home a bottle the other day.

The beer pours an orange amber color with fairly decent head retention and light lacing. The nose is attractive as well, as I pick some light brown sugar from the malt base, and then a decent about of dry citrus and pepper as well. The flavor profile replicates the nose fairly closely in this nicely crafted pale ale, and while certainly nothing mind blowing, this is a fairly tasty APA. Mouthfeel is medium bodied at most, and the beer finishes cleanly with a kiss of hoppy bitterness. The one dimensional aspect of the flavor profile wore on me a bit after a while (in other words, it's not the most exciting beer to drink), but that's really the only criticism I would make of this beer.

Shrug. I thought this a solid, easy to appreciate and enjoy APA. Give me a sierra nevada pale ale every time over this beer, but that being said, I thought this a solid offering from the folks at Santa Fe Brewing.

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Photo of plaid75
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy light copper hue with a two finger foamy white head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell featured a grainy malt and a spicy hop.

The taste was upfront earthy and spicy hops, with a secondary grainy malt.

The mouthfeel was average for the style with a bit of creaminess.

Overall a good, but uneventful APA. Certainly easy to drink.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a very hazy dark copper brown body with an orange glow of light at the base of the glass. There is a light tan head that is lumpy with some brown spots, possibly trub, floating on top. There is a strong carbonation of bubbles supporting it.

S- The green grassy smell of herbal hops is mixed in with a lightly toasted malt aroma that has a slight sweetness. There is a soft mint quality to the hops which is nice.

T- The sweetness of caramel has hints of biscuit malt in the background. There is a green grassy hop finish with some orange hard candy notes to it. Not much bitterness at all.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slightly creamy texture and a clean finish.

D- The malt flavors are stronger than the hops flavors but they both have good flavor. This beer has some nice subtle twist to the hops but they are still pretty muted.

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Photo of Tone
3.61/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, copper/gold color. 6/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of citrus concentrate (kiwi?), earthy malt, wheat, hint of sweet malt, and a hint of pine. Fits the style of an American Pale Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of wheat, yeast, citrus hops, and a hint of pale malt. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, feel, and blend.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours from 12oz bottle a clear medium gold with a medium sized head of foam that shrinks slowly but hangs around as a solid layer for the entire session and it has some good lacing.

The smell is a delicate hoppy. I get notes of grapefruit.

The taste on first sip has a grassy flavour to it with just a hint of the grapefruit I noted in the nose. Further sips in and more of the same with *some* malt sweetness and graininess and even some honey in the background giving this Pale Ale some good balance and the mouthfeel is quite good. Pretty good stuff, I'd say.

The finish is on the dry side and it has a nice aftertaste. Solid example of the style, in my book.

I just poured the last bit from the bottle and now, it takes on a cloudy appearance(there was some sediment at the bottom) and the taste shifts a bit more to the malty side and that just adds to my appreciation of this Ale. Yum.

Bottom line: A darn good Pale Ale that fans of the style should find tasty enough to warrant a repurchase.. I'd buy it again, no question about it.

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Pale Ale from Santa Fe Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 129 ratings.