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Essential Pale Ale - Port City Brewing

Not Rated.
Essential Pale AleEssential Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

56 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 56
Hads: 177
Avg: 3.55
pDev: 25.35%
Wants: 3
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Port City Brewing visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ahalloin on 02-04-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 56 | Hads: 177
Photo of cbutova
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Pours from a 12oz bottle into my glass with a semi-hazy apricot orange body and some chunks sinking to the bottom. A very tall, thick frothy white head rises up from the brew with very good retention. Lacing sticks everywhere.

S- Citrus and a hint of tropical fruit hops giving mostly orange and grapefruit notes above a very small hint of crackery pale grains. Clean and balanced; inviting.

T- Things open up all around with both the malts and hops gaining some depth. Hops take on a bitter edge with pine resin, orange peel, grapefruit, grassy and floral tones. This mixes in smoothly with yeast bread, cracker, slight toast and a hint of sweetness.

MF- Creamy and fluffy texture to what overall is a light bodied brew. High end carbonation lands smoothly and allows some of the delicate flavors to really get noticed. Ends with just a hint of bitterness.

Somewhat simple when it comes down to it but the things that are presented are done quite nicely. Citrus hop tones balanced out by a lightly sweet and crackery malt base.

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Photo of chinchill
3.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle with a packaged date of May 15 2015.
Hazy golden body looks like unfiltered apple cider but has a durable head that leaves some lacing.
Fruity and herbal hop aroma is a bit too earthy, but the fruit and herbal elements shine in the taste.
Medium-high carbonation with a medium body.

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Photo of MUTINY
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very fresh 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Slightly hazy gold with a 1/2" white head that seems to retain nicely after a little settling down. Minimal lacing.

S: Disappointing. Vague-as-hell tropical fruit with a touch of cracker & even then I'm stretching.

T: Nice fruity hop up front transitions into an oily, piney hoppiness down the line. The malt bill is just robust enough to reign in all the different hop-forward aspects. If they tweaked it one way or the other just slightly, this might be a disaster. However, in typical Port City fashion, this brew is inexplicably perfectly balanced. The little west coast punch on the end is kind of awesome.

M: Acceptable. I'd argue it's too light for all the flavors here, but any more malt would throw everything else out of wack. Carb is OK.

O: The palate is what really appeals to me here, if the flavors & balance weren't exactly what they are, this brew would have gotten a much lower rating from me.

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Photo of ordybill
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a nice blend of citrus, hops and some malt tossed in.
Appearance- A murky golden color with some sediment and a small off-white colored head.
Taste- Nice blend of hops and citrus, nice example of an APA.
Palate- This is a medium bodied beer with medium carbonation.
Overall- A good APA, I would order this again.

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Photo of metter98
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy yellow in color and has lots of fine particulates floating in suspension along with some larger particles floating near the bottom. It poured with a short white head that gradually died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of citrus hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste has lots of flavors of grassy hops along with notes of citrus and a moderate amount of associated bitterness. The grassy flavors linger into the finish, which also has a bit of spiciness to it.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and seems quite bitter given its lighter body. I liked how much hop flavors and bitterness were packed into the taste.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of hophugger
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Ok, a beer brewed in my state and it did not disappoint. Head and color and lacing aside(they were ok), the aroma and flavor of this beer were very nice. There was a good amount of citrus that was balanced out well at the end with a nice amount of hops. Pale Ale??. Yes it was!!. A touch of malt helped bring this beer to the great balance that it is. Good Job !!

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Photo of Frank_TX
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed from a bottle and purchased in Alexandria, VA. Overall I was impressed by this easy-drinking "pale ale." Not too heavy and was able to finish 1/3 of a 6-pack without any effort. Next time I am in Alexandria, I need to tour the brewery.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.99/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden cloudy with tons of sediment floating within, a finger of sticky looking off white head. No visible carbonation.

S: Candied pineapple, onion, garlic, light spruce notes, yellow life saver candy.

T: Fruit cocktail, sweet and malty, nice yeasty dough quality, light bitterness. Significantly sweet, like a pineapple candy, but not overdone.

M: Medium body, medium low carbonation. The hops clean the palate from the initial sweetness leaving room for another sip.

O: The APA’s I enjoy most are of this style. Fruity, balanced, sweet with a good hop ending, yet the flavours all play well together Bought in Williamsburg, VA at the Cheese Factory.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.44/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle from the SAQ Quebec for $2.50

Appearance - Gold colour with a small size white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 4-5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Hops, malts, grapefruit, breads/grains

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel, malts, and faint grapefruit. There is also some dry hops and a graininess.

Overall - An odd beer to show up at the SAQ. Looks like this brewer has some solid beers in their lineup, wonder why they chose to bring in the pale ale. An okay brew, along the lines of a Sierra Nevada pale ale. Not something I'd go out of my way for.

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Photo of Triat00
3.54/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Its an american pale ale so expect grape fruit and citrus. Its realy pale but you CAN feel residual sugar. Carbonation is Well balanced.

Overall, for the price i wont hesitate. Its a middle class pale ale that is more hoppy then a lot of others. There are even some commercial companies that could say that its an ipa.

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Photo of guityler83
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: 2 1/2 finger head, mixed bubbles, bright white in a standard pint glass. Great retention, as it fell there was a honey comb lacing on the edge of the glass. The beer is a hazy dark yellow color with no sediment.

S: Grapefruit and citrus hop aroma is moderate. slight biscuity / toasty aroma comes through from the malts. no esters detected.

T: Low to moderate grapefruit bitterness that follows through to the end. very clean crisp fermentation character. More pine and citrus hop flavors are noticable in the middle and add a nice balance to the grapefruit bitterness. Malt flavor is low but detectable as a toasty undertone.

M: Crisp mouthfeel with a moderate level of carbonation and low body. Very drinkable.

O: A very close beer to SNPA. Same grapefruit hop character with maybe a little more bitterness and some different subtleties peeking through. Solid pale ale just not all that exciting.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.44/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at the brewery

Clearish amber pour, with a bubbly white head; moderate retention and lacing. Basic APA aroma of citrusy hops and crackery malts; a tad soapy. Decent balance in the taste, citrus-pith hops, pale malt sweetness, with the former edging out the latter by a margin. Some of the soapiness from the aroma was reflected in the taste, but it wasn't that bad. Light-medium body, moderate carbonation, generally good drinkability, though I wouldn't let this sit on a shelf for too long. A decent pale ale overall.

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Photo of FirstBrewsoon
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Consumed from a tulip.

Poured a cloudy pale amber with half a finger of head which left mild lacing.

Smell is fairly constrained, hints of citrus and spice.

Excellent, balanced spicy taste, with more of the citrus than I expected. Nice lingering finish. Tastes great.

Perfect carbonation, somewhat thick mouthfeel.

Overall, a great session pale ale. I wish this were available back in Ohio where I live.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
2.87/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty golden color with a half of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that covered the top of the beer in wispy clouds.

Aroma: Not much of an aroma at all, either that or I’m congested. I get some faint hints of biscuits and honey and clover, but not much else.

Taste: Not much in the flavor department either. Again, some malty biscuit notes with a nicely balanced hop bitterness. There is a just a hint of sweetness, but overall it’s a very underwhelming flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin, but with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 5.5%, there’s no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a decent pale ale, but not really memorable either. There are better pale ales out there and there are certainly better Port City beers out there as well, especially, Port City’s Porter and Oktoberfest.

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Photo of delta490
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- came out a hazy orange with a creamy white head. minimal retention but did leave lacing throughout the beer

S-big citrus notes, a little tangy aroma to it

T- there is a nice balance between the malt (bready) and hops (citrus). One doesn't dominate or overwhelm the other and there is a nice interplay between the two

M- thinner but with a little carbonation fizz on the finish and a little bitter bite on the opening

O- a really good Pale Ale. Tasty and well-worth trying

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Photo of Hesperus
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy and golden with a two finger white head with decent retention, leaving behind a layer of residual foam. Fairly good lacing.

Smell: Piney hops with some resin, grapefruit, some herbal notes and perhaps a little bit of spiciness.

Taste: Similar to nose, pine and grapefruit make up the bulk of the flavor profile, with some herbal and malt notes in the background.

Mouthfeel: Wet with middling carbonation. Highly drinkable and moderately refreshing.

Overall: A very serviceable pale ale that is certainly on the hoppier side of the spectrum. That being said, this is far from the best I've had.

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Photo of maketheheartglad
4.5/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Lighter brown, but like you'd expect from a pale ale.

S - Smells like citrus and flowers and something i couldn't place.

T - It tastes like goji fruit! almost exactly and similar to goji tea. It's an Asian fruit.

M - Slippery.

O - I like Goji fruit and that's why this is a good pale ale to me. It's like a fruit beer in that way, but also a good pale ale.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a transparent orange with some floaties in it. Smells like flowery and piney hops, very nice. Tastes of light grain and flowery hops, but not overly bitter. Beer goes down really smooth and is highly drinkable for its light body. Overall, an above average beer.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours medium copper with light white foam. Laces. Nose is grassy pine, citrussy. Mellow malt, pushy hop, latent bitter. Easy drinker with enough hop to make its presence felt but not overpower. Straightforward pale but certainly good.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a slightly hazed golden color, with a slight orange tint. The off-white head is medium sized, with a frothy consistency. Retention is solid, and some sticky lacing clings to the glass in a thin ring.

S: A fair amount of cookie/biscuit malty aroma. Light grain and caramel. Some nondescriptly herbal/spicy and fruity hop notes are present, but this is a pretty clean and balanced ale nose.

T: Fairly malty up front. Biscuity, crackery, and grainy flavors dominate. A touch of sweetness. Hop bitterness is medium, with herbal and somewhat soapy flavors. A somewhat muted secondary wave of bitterness arrives into the finish.

M: Fairly firm body. Carbonation is moderate. Hop bitterness contributes to a fading, almost sticky dryness.

D: This is completely drinkable and generally well balanced. It does lack a bit of pizzazz, and I'm not wild about the predominantly soapy hop flavor. In all, it's a serviceable brew but not a standout.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the brewery tap room in Alexandria, VA.

A: single finger head with excellent retention on a murky bright golden body.

S: excellent aroma with orange peel and grapefruit citrus and light floral hops.

T: lighter malt base with bittering hops hitting hard up front moving to a subtlety sweet lemon custard finish.

M: lighter side of medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: definite a mildly hopped APA. Flavor is a little simple and the malt seems a bit thin. Overall vey drinkable.

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Photo of oberon
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard pint a dull medium golden with almost no head to speak of,what there was of one was gone quickly.Very light floral hops in the nose along with faint caramel malt,very underwhelming.Leafy hops on the palate and they are light,some earthy tones as well,more of a dryer crisp malt base.Average in all aspects,a no brainer that lacks fullness in just about everything.

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Photo of Beer_Runner
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Could not find an "enjoy by ... " stamp.
Poured slowly into a standard pints glass.

A: The color was golden with an orange hue. About half a finger head of dense foam. A long-lasting head. Plenty of carbon trails raising up.

S: The aroma was sweet malt, almost honey. There was also some pine and light floral. Overall, a very mild aroma.

M: Very smooth with a medium to light body and a plenty of carbonation. A slightly dry finish.

T: A very pleasing balance of malt and hops. It is not as sweet as the aroma. The pine floral mix is the most prominant flavor. And there is a good type of bitter after taste.

O: Overall this beer is greater than the sum of its parts. Everything blends together well. It is a good, solid pale ale.

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Photo of farrago
3.44/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Finger’s worth of close to pure white loose foam, starts to disintegrate swiftly to barely cover the surface, likewise the lacing is thin and easily slides off the glass. Light and transparent orange to yellow in color, few bubbles visible but what’s there are large, clean and clear but not much to look at. The nose is super-sweet with oodles of apricot and peach fruit, milk chocolate and malty caramel, some grass, wheat germ, pepper and lemon zest, perhaps some charcoal, a bit boozy like rum, neither bready nor flowery. Medium-bodied, soft and creamy mouth feel with fluffed up carbonation which extends the sensations from your tongue to the roof, here the orange to lemon citrus matches the sweetness of that apricot, peach, yellow apple fruit. The cocoa stiffer, brings out some coffee and country bread notes, light burnt toast. More of that mineral to charcoal aspect, seems incongruent with the whole. Firms up as it warms so serving temperature may play a role in how you enjoy it. That said, remains very much on the sweet end of the spectrum.

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Photo of Jason
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Nearly clear pale golden color, ample stickage of lacing

SMELL: Clean, bready, macadamia nuts, clementines, piney hops, ripe passion fruit, faint spice

TASTE: Very smooth, fresh grain, dried grass, citric peel, mint, biscuity, nutty yeast, faint ripe fruit, spicy dry finish

Very well balanced with a good use of hops, this pale ale is a step or two ahead of the pack and is something I'd go for on the regular basis.

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Essential Pale Ale from Port City Brewing
81 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.