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Pale Ale | Santa Fe Brewing Company

132 Reviews
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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
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Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 248
Photo of dankster
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is slighty burnt orange with good amount of head and some sticky lace.

Smell is clean hops with some tropical fruit like smells and i pick up some apple as well

Taste is defiantly more apple than citrus. solid pale ale

Mouth is a medium body with dry finish

Overall a good offering from santa fe brew's and the price is right at 7.50 a sixer. nothing special but glad i tried it.

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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 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 lordofthewiens
3.06/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Waiting for my daughter to arrive in Terminal B at the Albuquerque airport, figured I should drink some local beers. This one wasn't bad.

In a pint glass the beer was copper-colored with a medium-sized white head that left a lot of lace.

Average aroma. Sweet malt and a tiny bit of citrus.

Taste similar to the aroma. Some sweet malt and a tiny late hit of citrus.

A bit on the timid side, but still pretty drinkable.

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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 Treebs
3.11/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on draft in Taos, NM at KTAO radio station bar. Poured into pint.

A: Pours a nice copper with firm white head. Great retention and solid lace down the glass.

S: Malt with some lager-like qualities to it. There are some bitter hops on the back end of the nose but nothing special.

T: Some bland citrus and a little malt, but nothing else in terms of flavor profile.

M: Light bodied with a crisp, clean and dry finish. No real discerning flavors left on the palate to entice me back for more though.

O: Pretty straight forward and average for the style. No real concrete flavors to separate it from any other pale ale.

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Photo of Coplains
3.47/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear with moderate carbonation.

Medium body with good flavor hoppy notes but not overwhelming.

Definitely a very drinkable pale ale that would pair well with a variety of food from pizza to summertime backyard barbecue. Have only seen in Santa Fe and would pick up again on our next trip.

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Photo of endincolorado
3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, amber with two fingers of fizzy, off-white head that settles quickly. Lots of lacing left behind.

Hoppy fruitiness up front with some citrus and a pale malt to balance.

Flavor is an excellent balance of pale malt, some caramel, and a more-than-adequate hop presence with sweet-orangey fruit.

Medium-bodied with adequate carbonation.

A very drinkable beer- pairs well with barbecue and salad. Refreshing and satisfying.

 438 characters

Photo of jpr022
2.63/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this beer at El Meson in Santa Fe, NM. Not good. This is one of those pale ales where they just chickened out. My fault for ordering it really. It was the only local beer they had so I should have taken the hint and stuck with the wine.

Taste was very plain. Appearance was good. Smell was fine too.it was drinkable and I still don't know what mouthfeel means.

 365 characters

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

A: Hazy amber-yellow with a big head and plenty of linger

S: Slightly malty with good hops and some citrus

T: Very malty, a little musky and a finishes with some sour hops

M: Medium body, plenty of carbonation and a hard finish

Interesting beer. Original yet simple styling, distinct if nothing else. I probably wouldn't come back for another 6 pack of this, but if it was on tap somewhere I would give it another shot.

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

The light reddish to orange pale ale was my first beer from the Santa Fe brewery.

The aroma is rather fruity and light.

A light body and brilliant clarity make this beer look beautiful in the glass.

The taste is pleasantly bitter but is lacking.

This would be a great beer to sit back and have a few of, but it is certainly not something I would want to warm up in my glass or sip on at length.

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Photo of mwa423
3.46/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a reasonably nice clear dark straw color with a finger of head with a thick soapy lacing.

S - A very interesting aroma that has lots of citrus and pine (for a pale ale) but also a dried fruity bitter smell.

T - Very well balanced malty sweetness and dried fruit up front follow by a bitter and citrus hop bite and a an interesting ginger orange flavor in the aftertaste.

M/D - Mouthfeel is very rich and thick with a slight bite and twang. Reasonably drinkable though on the heavy side for a pale ale.

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Photo of BeardedRiker
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

When poured it looks decent enough. It's a light amber color and has an appetizing frothy-smooth head, but it dissipates quickly.

It smells like a hoppy Budweiser...maybe. I haven't had a Budweiser in awhile, but for some reason that's what my nose tells me.

As for taste, it's pretty bland in character. It's not interesting, even with the slight hoppiness, although it does go down smooth. The finish is a bit wheaty with a noticeable alcohol tang. Bottom line is, if you want a pale ale, stick with your Sierra Nevada. It's decent, but it's definitely forgettable.

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

Had some great samples from Sante Fe at Phoenix's Strong Beer Festival so figured I pull this bottle out of the fridge where it'd been for a month or so...

As another reviewer says, it's almost more like an English Pale Ale than an APA which did not bother me at all. Nice malts for a Mountain timezone zone beer.

A: Pours a hazy copper with nearly an inch of soft foam. Left impressive lacing in the glass, too.

S: Strong citrus (orange, specifically) with a little pine.

T: Less aggressively hoppy than I was expecting -- not really a bad thing. Very balanced, actually, with a candy corn sweetness, especially on the finish.

M: Very full-bodied for an APA -- almost drinks like a milk stout. Could use just a tad more carbonation.

D: Satisfying but not filling with a pleasant, though definitely lasting, aftertaste.

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Photo of chickencoop
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light frothy pour and light amber color. Aroma was more pilsner than pale ale in my opinion. Very light and very drinkable in the AZ sun. Considering it's 5.5%, it's got a very light profile. Looking for a little more malt backbone, but not missing it, good solid brew from NM.

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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 CBlack85
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to knm for this one

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nice light copper, orangish color with a small off white head that recedes quickly and leaves behind lots of sticky lacing

Fruity aroma with lots of earthy undertones. There is a small malt backbone, not quite enough to balance the beer, but enough to be noticable.

The flavor is much like the aroma with lots of fruity notes along with a small malt presence. There is also a soapy flavor that dominates the aftertaste. Medium/thin body with moderate carbonation.

All in all, this is a decent beer. the only issue I have with it is the soapy flavor.

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Photo of soju6
3.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark golden color with an off-white head that fades to dnice lacing.

S: Aroma is of fresh grain with hints of fruit.

T: starts with a citrus and light grain fklavor with a nice touch of sweetness. Countinues with a hint of malt and some bitterness with a dry finish.

F: Fairly medium body, quite clean & refreshing.

D: Easy drinker, reached for a second one with no hesitation. Worth checking out. Nice for the style.

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

Poured from the bottle into a snifter a rusty orange color with little head though the crown laced some. Some citrus with a grainy presence as well. Taste is rather unremarkable with the citrus and grains present along with some remote pine bitterness. Feels good and smooth along with some oiliness from hops. Overall a drinkable pale ale.

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Photo of Spider889
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First beer I had when I made my trip out to NM earlier this year. A classic pale ale with some West Coast influence.

Nice golden color, very clear and well carbonated.

Smells of crisp, clean hops. not much malt in the nose.
The taste is much the same. Reminds me of the hoppy, light bodied west coast IPA's. Lots of dry piney bitterness.

Easy drinking, this one is very sessionable, even if not particularly unique or captivating. In the heat of the desert, I'd be drinking this frequently.

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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 twiggamortis420
3.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brought to me in a pseudo-pint glass a mostly clear, dark gold/light copper color.

Nose is caramel malts with a bit of cotton candy sweetness and mild grassy hops. Bit of taffy in here too.

Taste is rather sweet and fruity with a saltwater taffy flavor. Different for a pale ale, for sure. Has a passable amount of grassy hop flavor and bitterness but does not quite come together. Earthy and sweet, my palate goes back and forth on this one - maybe it is the fruitiness, kind of a green grape vinous acidity. It's ok at best, probably wont buy again...seems to be a common theme for SFBC beers.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A darker yellow color, minimal head, but the lace did stick.

A sweeter pale ale, definitely in check, hopping came off more like a good pilsner. Maybe it was the light roast/malt bill. This was definitely a mild, but appreciable beer. Not much bitterness, a good pale for a hot day. Price was more than you'd think $8.

After having had these a few times, I notice wide variation, even within the same 6 pack of these beers. They're pretty much an English style ipa, but with Cascade hops as well.

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

Dark copper in color, dingy white head, spurts of lacing. Not a bad sight.

Smells more malty than my preferred pale, but it's still nice though. A tad biscuity, faintly sweet, but with a hint of hoppiness in the back.

Taste is most of the same; slight bready, sweet and malty, but some nice finishing hop characteristics on the finish. Not fantastic, but its good.

The feel is good and medium. Smooth with a bit of crispness.

This is a solid, drinkable pale. Nothing fantastic, but It's still fairly tasty.

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Photo of eclaycamp
3.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Pours a golden copper color with a fizzy quarter inch head with no real lace to speak of. Light pine and some citrus on the nose, as the aroma is all hops. Taste is of some caramel malts with citrus hops and a pleasing finish. No real mouthfeel in this beer, unfortunately, and it reminds me a little bit of a carbonated water - San Pelligrino for example. Second taste yields some mineral and alcohol notes. Decent pale ale, though it could benefit from a stronger malt prescence I think.

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