Pale Ale | Santa Fe Brewing Company

132 Reviews
no score
Send samples
For Trade:
Pale AlePale Ale

Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company
New Mexico, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-03-2002

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 248
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.

 285 characters

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mild floral hops and sweet malt. Nice and tart.

Orange golden pretty color. Clear. Mild head with decent retention.

Bitter sweet ant beginning. Medium tart hop - floral with citric notes. Medium-light malt flavor – lightly sweet. Chunky and clean. Medium bitterness. Finishes lightly bitter/dry.

Medium body and carbonation.

Easy APA, pretty good. No faults and no outstanding merits. I would like to have it on tap sometime.

 438 characters

Photo of lonestar4lunch
3.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quite a nice surprise. I didn't have much hope for this since it was showing up at HEB (local grocery store for those you are not lucky enough to have one) before I got it at Grapevine. Figured light, no hops and even less color. Wrong, nice almost amber darkness to the brew with lacing that sticks around. Nice malt and hop aroma is pleasant. Taste is almost similar to Sierra Nevada without the bite and a kick from some malts. Smooth and quite satisfying. Very drinkable & enjoyable. Need to see what else I can find from Santa Fe Brewing.

 543 characters

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

 444 characters

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.

 588 characters

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.54/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Decent stab at a pale ale, but needs more hoppiness and the malt flavor is a little weak. The only thing impressive about this beer is that it has a great head that sticks around for a long time. The smell is weak and very faint. I get a tiny caramel malt smell with little hop presence. Mouthfeel is crisp upfront, but doesn't finish off that way. THis beer is very very simple, however, and there are no real off flavors. Therefore it is fairly drinkable. Nothing to write home about, though.

 494 characters

Photo of Bobikel
4.13/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pourd a cloudy amber with little bits of yeast floating around. Didn't realise this was bottle conditioned. A smooth head built up to around 1 inch and slowly receded leaving gobs of lace in its wake.

Smell - Bitter/soapy hops dominate, with just a touch of maltiness underlying. Almost lager like?

Taste - A delicate dance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness forms quite quickly, with the hops winning just after swallow. Piney, earthy, and quite good.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with a prickly carbonation.

Drinkability - This was a nice addition to my local liquor store, it is very drinkable and highly refreshing.

 643 characters

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.

 1,064 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The head on this one was huge! I poured very carefully because I knew this one was bottle conditioned but I still got a major chunk of qwhite foam. The beer was a hazy orange in color with scents of citrus and malt. The taste was very mellow with the citrus showing up but it seemed very balanced between malt and hop. Good stuff but for $9 a sixer I can find much better beer.

 377 characters

Photo of flexabull
3.2/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one pours an orange cloudy color with a decent head.

Aromas are malty, tea like, sour and dusty. Not quite what I expect from a Pale, but not bad.

Surprisingly, I thought this was a lager when I first sipped it. It reminds me a lot of an Alt. Malty, slightly sweet, and crisp. Not much hops here.

Mouthfeel is quite nice. A full flavored and well rounded beer.

All in all? This is decent. Not unpleasant, but not all that interesting either.

 458 characters

Photo of kdoc8
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Catamount in Santa Fe, NM. It was a deep red color, which surprised me for a pale ale - I would have guessed it was a red by its color. It didn't have too much of a smell or a flavor. Mainly the flavor was of sweet hops - I found it to be very refreshing and drinkable.

 290 characters

Photo of beeragent
2.68/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer poured a deep gold, forming a very thin head, that quickly faded, leaving medium rings of lace. The aroma is more malty than hoppy. Not what I expect a pale ale to smell like. Sweet smell, but not floral or fruity like the hops would give. The taste is also wrong for a pale ale. Very little hop presence, lacking in the sweet citrus flavor, and mostly dominated by a malty caramel taste. The mouthfeel is medium, being a little thicker for the style. Overall, I would have to say that this taste closer to a brown ale, than it does to a pale ale. Maybe I got a mislabeled bottle, but this is definitely not my idea of a pale ale. I guess I am more used to the style being more floral in aroma, and a heavier citrus flavor. This just may tell me, that I havent explored the whole spectrum of pale ales yet.

 862 characters

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

12oz. bottle

Slightly hazy, amber colored fluid. Medium, off white head.

Citrus, of the grapefruit variety, primary aroma. A bit floral? Some honey and/or caramel in there.

Decent balance, a bit more sweet than bitter. Sweet came through as fruits, melons - sugared citrus. Honeyed wheat bread in the middle. Hops seem to pick up as the beer warms. This isn't the norm in my limited experience. Usually the malt comes through more.

Light in body. Carbonation about medium. Drying.

Enjoyable. Light & refreshing with good flavor. A nice session beer, which I proceeded to test fully.

 597 characters

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

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Hazy with a dark amber color, on the verge of brown. A light tan thick head lasts for a while with a little bit of brown yeast resting on top. Solid layers of lacing at the top, thinning toward the bottom as it turns into a mix of stringy and spotty lacing.

Very light aroma, with a little bit of the piney hops, but also some spice similar to allspice, with a little bit of a walnut smell.

Grainy malts with a little bit of an earthy nutty flavor. Some diacetyl makes its way through in the middle, with a little bit of hop bitterness showing up in the end. Medium bodied with good carbonation. The finish has a little bit of honey and hoppiness.

Bit of an odd American Pale Ale. No bad flavors, but the nut-like flavors are an unusual characterstic. When looking at the bottom of the bottle, there is a good amount of yeast sediment. I assume this is responsible for the earthy flavors such as the nut, butter, and honey.

 964 characters

Photo of sinistermadman
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy sunburst amber in color with a nice foamy head. Aroma of citrus from hops, slightly floral with a sweet-bread malt background. Smell is subdued, but enjoyable.

Taste begins with a sweet citrus tinge with a bread-y malt backing. Actually the taste is pretty consistent throughout the duration of the drink. This brew doesn’t surprise you, but it has a nice solid flavor profile. Medium in body along with a slick, crisp finish yield a pretty respectable level of drinkability. There are plenty of other more complex beers in the same stratum, but this one is pretty solid. I’d recommend it.

 601 characters

Photo of Pegasus
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy toned copper color, with a large white head, which retains very well. The lacing is thick, with few breaks; the carbonation is moderate.

Aroma: Lightly toasted malt aroma with herbal, citrus, and grassy hops.

Taste: Mild caramel flavors at the open, followed by citrus and pine hops, which intensify slowly as the taste progresses. By the finish, the hops are ascendant, and leave a lingering, slightly oily presence at the close of the taste.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, pleasant, just lacking a bit of body.

Drinkability/notes: Pleasant and quite drinkable, well-made, a nice example of the style.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass longneck bottle with a pop-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass.

 757 characters

Photo of HardTarget
3.86/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Notes only uses water, malted barley, whole flower hops and yeast. No other helpful info like a date or abv. The website lists:
Availability: year round
Starting Gravity: 14 degrees Plato
Ending Gravity: 3.5 degrees Plato
Malts: 2-row pale, 30-37 l. Carastan, 70-80 l.Crystal
Hops: Cluster, Crystal, Willamette, Cascade
Yeast: House Ale
Alcohol Content: 5.5%

Aroma: Cotton candy sweetness in the base with a firm floral hop. I thought I got a whiff of Fuggles, but guess I was mistaken. The blend made me feel slightly better about missing it.

Appearance: Deep orange/amber with good clarity. A slightly orange tinged frothy finger of head clung tightly and left very respectable lacing.

Flavor: Balanced, but in such a way as to cancel out flavors rather than compliment them. A mild bittering hop wins out in the end. The flavor has a light orange blossom note and a slight metallic edge that fades as a good hop flavor comes on stronger as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Light and dry with full carbonation.

Overall Impression: Good session beer! Clean, balanced if a bit simple. An honest beer worth a try. Glad to see it in Texas. Picked it up at Grapevine Market in Austin.

 1,216 characters

Photo of goochpunch
3.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a slightly orange-tinged golden color with a moderately sized white head that thins out. Smells of regular old pale base malt with some slightly citric hops and some earthy aromas from the hops. Flavor is overly sweet from the malt with a slight hop kick toward the end. What makes this interesting is the earthy hop flavors I get from this, whereas I'm so used to the typical citrus hop overload. Mouthfeel is a little syrupy but overall decent. Carbonation is nice. It pricks slightly, but still manages to please. The sweetness kills this for me drinkability-wise. Overall it has an interesting flavor, though.

 623 characters

Photo of allengarvin
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle, served in a chalice glass. Pours a brownish amber color, quite hazy, though with a nice fluffy head and moderate lacing. Malty, nutty aroma with pine-resin hop notes. Bread-like malt flavor initially, with just on the high side of moderate bitterness, but lots of hops flavor, resinous & earthy. Finishes with a clean maltiness. Texture is creamy and smooth.

More of a British pale ale than American, with a good malt profile and restrained bitterness. Not bad.

 479 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.59/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Welp, have a real paradox here – the label on this one clearly states “pale ale”, but it’s not close to a PA. However, it would make for an excellent amber ale. Still very tasty.

A hazy amber pour was topped by a thick ivory head – nice sheet lacing all the way down.

Now the aroma – here we go: a woody, earthy aroma with some nutty notes. Then the taste followed suit; very malty and grainy. Not PA-like at all, or balanced with the proper hops. Very good tasting brew, though.

Medium bodied, I would go for this one again, and as a session brew with the 5% not overpowering by any means.

Thanky to Solomon420 for the desert treat.

 652 characters

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.

 1,372 characters

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.57/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pale, golden-orange almost a light amber with a huge off-white head. Moderate lacing and tiny bubbles rising throught the entire experience.

Aroma was full of citrusy hops, honey and a bit of lemon.

Flavor consisted of pine, citrus and a bit of a sweet malt backbone.

Light to medium body with a good carbonation level.

Refreshing pale ale that would be fantastic if it had a bit more of a hop bite in the finish and a bit more fresh hop smell and flavor. but overall enjoyable.

 492 characters

Photo of orsulacp
3.87/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at their brewpub in Santa Fe. It looked nice, a cloudy copper color with a nice white head. The nose was nice; a citrus hop at first then sweet molasses-like malt. The flavor is a bit more on the sweet malty side, but there is a nice citrus hop flavor and a slight piney bitter bite at the end. It has a medium-light body, with good carbonation. This is one of the better APA's I've had. Looking at the other reviews I think getting this at the source is the way to go.

 487 characters

Photo of Morris729
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange brown color with a short white head. Nose is fruity hops and sweet malt but is a bit subdued. Taste begins with a sugary sweetness (touch of corn syrup?) followed by fresh fruity hop flavors with notes of orange, grapefruit, and a bit of lemon. A decent enough pale ale that paired very well with chips and fresh salsa. Sampled at Rancho de Chimayo in Chimayo, NM.

 384 characters

Photo of mentor
3.79/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle obtained from a local liquor store and consumed a couple days later in July 2005. Pours a half-finger nearly white head over a light amber-rust colored liquid. Fairly cloudy and has some tiny particulates suspended. Smell is nearly absent. It's very mild citrus (oranges mostly) with a hint of chalky biscuit. Tastes munich malty, but with some ESB sour with some orange woody hop flavor at the end in especially in the after-taste. Fruity esters consist of pear and peach. There is a touch of strawberry...not strawberry flavor, but one quality of flavor that I find in strawberries. It's the flavor that would be most prominent in a frozen strawberry cream dessert. This is a pretty tasty beer. Not as citrusy hoppy as I would normally expect, but the burps are amazingly orange tasting. Md-light body, but a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation.

 866 characters

Pale Ale from Santa Fe Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.