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Pale Ale - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pale AlePale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

202 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 202
Reviews: 124
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 12.39%
Wants: 1
Gots: 7 | 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: 202 | Reviews: 124 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of Bobikel
4.18/5  rDev +20.5%
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.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of flexabull
3.2/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Photo of kdoc8
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of beeragent
2.68/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

Photo of
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of BeerSox
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of sinistermadman
3.85/5  rDev +11%
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.

Photo of Pegasus
3.85/5  rDev +11%
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.

Photo of HardTarget
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of goochpunch
3.08/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

Photo of allengarvin
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

Photo of Vancer
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Photo of orsulacp
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of Morris729
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Photo of mentor
3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

Photo of bditty187
2.98/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of alexgash
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Photo of Beaver13
2.03/5  rDev -41.5%
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.

Photo of crookedhalo
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

Pale Ale from Santa Fe Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 202 ratings.