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Pale Ale - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pale AlePale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

194 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 194
Reviews: 123
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 12.36%
Wants: 1
Gots: 5 | 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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-03-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 194 | Reviews: 123 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

BeerSox, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of sinistermadman
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

sinistermadman, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of Pegasus
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Pegasus, Oct 08, 2006
Photo of HardTarget
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

HardTarget, Aug 23, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
3.08/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

goochpunch, Aug 22, 2006
Photo of allengarvin
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

allengarvin, Aug 16, 2006
Photo of Vancer
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Vancer, Jul 20, 2006
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.

Gueuzedude, Jun 25, 2006
Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Wolfsdenbrew, May 17, 2006
Photo of orsulacp
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

orsulacp, Apr 13, 2006
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.

Morris729, Aug 24, 2005
Photo of mentor
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

mentor, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of bditty187
2.98/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lightly hazy, coppery-gold in hue; there is a bronze highlight as well. The liquid looks good enough. The head was off-white. At the apex the foam was a healthy half finger in height. Head retention was decent. It was slow to fade to a soapy cap, thicker around the edge of the glass. The subsequent lacing was unorganized but fairly widespread. This beer is pleasant enough.

The nose lacks potency. I had to strain to detect a woody-orangey aroma. I found a kiss of caramel, toasted malt. The bouquet lacks depth and articulation. It is not inviting, regardless of style.

The palate isn’t too bad. The flavors a mild but there are a few layers of goodness. Bitterness is gentle but noticeable; it is mainly at the front. Woody. In the middle comes some peaches, oranges, and apricots. Nice. By the finish a smattering of malty goodness is detected, light caramel notes and some biscuit. In the aftertaste I could sense some pine. This is an APA? No. Is it English in nature? Not really. It is both and neither. It is simple but tasty. There isn’t much to this beer, I do like the fruitiness and I bet this beer would be tasty with nutty cheese.

Medium/medium-light in body. Low but natural carbonation; the mouthfeel is relaxing and pleasant. It fits this beer well.

Drinkable enough to finish my six-pack; I purchased it in Fort Collins. I never had a beer from New Mexico. Now I can say I have. There is little else about this beer that is noteworthy. It is not good or bad… just okay.

bditty187, Jul 21, 2005
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.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 26, 2004
Photo of alexgash
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, dark apricot with a sturdy light sandy brown head. Bottle conditioned methinks. Nice.
Smells of lightly sweet fruity malt, perhaps a little sweetbread. Modest hops – grapefruit and lime.
Taste starts off with tangy, fruity malt with a touch of toasted caramel. Hops are underwhelming. Kind of a sticky pineapple-citrus quality. The vegetal bitterness struggles to take hold.
Medium-bodied, sticky finish.

alexgash, Oct 23, 2004
Photo of Beaver13
2.03/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The Santa Fe Pale Ale poured a copper-orange with an thick and creamy off-white head that laced the glass.

The aroma was faint grassy hops, some fruity esters, and a bit of DMS that became more pronounced as the beer warmed.

The flavor was sweet malt and DMS with a very faint bitterness. It was medium-bodied and creamy, kind of nitro-like.

Overall, I didn't care for it. It was a little too sweet, displayed too much DMS, and not enough bitterness. It was a pretty bland pale ale and not very pleasant.

Beaver13, Oct 07, 2004
Photo of crookedhalo
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amberish copper color with a nice thicket of beige colored foam. Little bit of floaters. Sediment left in the bottle. Smells about as hoppy as an IPA, but the hop character is sweeter. Tastes rather sweet, too. Sweetened iced tea maltiness with a good hop profile. Very drinkable. Glad my friend shared a lot of what he brought back from a road trip.

crookedhalo, Feb 25, 2004
Photo of DarthMalt
3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

SFPA crows pale and leaves little to the imagination as to what the style holds.

A tad clear for my taste these days, but still entirely respectable. Pours adequatedly strong [at 5,000 ft.] with a light-amber hue. Mild hop essence and soft-water profile make for a serious regional session beer. Little else captures one's fancy.

As good as any regional macro-micro out there...perhaps an SRM, or two, better.

"Santa Fe. That's the way!"

DarthMalt, May 13, 2003
Photo of maestrotmbg
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It flowed from the bottle, darker than copper, darker than expected from a pale ale. The svelte head lasted to the bottom of the glass. Only a hint of alcohol met the nose as the glass made its way to the lips. The lips, however, were thankful. Almost creamy and without the sharpness of your run of the mill pale ale. Light malt and even a hint of raspberry give it a well rounded good taste. (raspberry!?!) The finish was indeed abrupt - aburpt as the cliffs in the Santa Fe desert - there one moment and gone the next. The ale went down easy because of its smoothenss as well as its lack of finish. It was off the palete before the glass hit the table, prompting another taste.

maestrotmbg, Apr 02, 2003
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Pale Ale from Santa Fe Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.