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Essential Pale Ale - Port City Brewing

Not Rated.
Essential Pale AleEssential Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

142 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 142
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 15.17%
Wants: 3
Gots: 15 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ahalloin on 02-04-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 142 | Reviews: 51 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.58/5  rDev +0.6%

On tap at the brewery the second day after opening.

Pours a light golden color. Pretty transparent in the glass with some carbonation bubbles visible throughout. Good white head and a bit of lacing. The nose is pretty light with some citrus and floral notes. Hops are pretty light, though nice. Taste improve on the nose, which was just a bit too muted. There's certainly some backing malt character and they got the balanced character they were looking for. Pretty good at combining some malt along with some hop flavor. Mouthfeel is light and mildly bitter. Finish is slightly dry. Drinks pretty well and I could see this being quite sessionable. Looking forward to the IPA.

02-09-2011 01:36:17 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of nmann08
nmann08

District of Columbia

3/5  rDev -15.7%

11-18-2011 17:57:57 | More by nmann08
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color, capped by an inch or so of snow white foam that leaves a few dots of lace behind

Smell: Very lemony, though it trends in a Pine-Sol detergent direction; cracker malt underneath

Taste: Opens with a cracker malt flavor that moves in a sharp lemon direction by mid-palate, with a bit of pith and Pine-Sol; the flavors fade quickly after the swallow, the the bitterness lingers a bit in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A straightforward APA that would benefit from a bit more of a malt bill; otherwise, it is decent and worth a look

01-01-2012 01:07:46 | More by brentk56
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

3.43/5  rDev -3.7%

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.

07-29-2012 16:48:57 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3/5  rDev -15.7%

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.

05-24-2012 21:16:47 | More by oberon
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +9%

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.

03-15-2012 03:15:33 | More by Jason
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.23/5  rDev -9.3%

Slightly better. Beer is yellow / amber, quite hazy, thin broken head, halo of bubbles, no real lacing, minimal carbonation.

Aroma is sweet with some malt, yeastiness, and mild hops.

Beer is mildly sweet, medium to light in body, overall a little weak in the profile but mildly hoppy on the finish, overall a decent beer, but nothing too special. Oh well, I still like their porter, their pales need a lot of work.

05-25-2011 04:11:39 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

11-30-2013 07:51:12 | More by Rifugium
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

3.43/5  rDev -3.7%

Have tried this one several times at the brewery, picked up a bottle at Rick's in Alexandria, VA on Saturday to give it a proper review. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a clear golden color with one finger of white head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for one to two minutes with one inch of white head lasting throughout the drink, and a tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of grain, bready malts, light orange and citrus hops, and light floral notes. Not offensive at all, but pretty average.

t - Tastes of bready malts, biscuit, and grain. Also some light citrus hops, pale malts, and floral hops again. Taste is a slight step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Pretty smooth.

d - A nice, slightly above average pale ale. The smell is a little bland and average, with the taste being a little bit better. Overall this is my least favorite beer of the four Port City is currently brewing, but it's still a decent beer worth checking out.

04-12-2011 01:20:58 | More by mdfb79
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

2.75/5  rDev -22.8%

01-22-2014 00:41:22 | More by yourefragile
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -7.9%

A bottle at RFD, poured into a glass.

A: The pale ale is a darker amber color, closer to nut brown than pale. Paired with the darker appearance is an off-white head that leaves a few layers of lacing behind.

S: The aromas are caramel and grains, a little biscuity, with a small hop afterthought. The hoppiness isn't a big feature of the beer, instead it opts for subtlety.

T: More grainy chewiness. Caramel and biscuit together with darker breads. Hops aren't that strong, more of a balancing aspect. Overall, the flavor is solid but doesn't come with any frills. Content in what it is, an accessible pale ale. Although, truth be told, a few more hops wouldn't hurt.

M: The mouthfeel is malty, very little in the way of citrusy hops. Too bad too, there are few things like a nice well-balanced pale ale.

05-21-2011 01:49:29 | More by akorsak
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

2.8/5  rDev -21.3%

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A two finger head of white bubbles forms but quickly fades off the pour. Very clear and simple amber color is present. Very much borderline.

First impression off the smell for this beer is rank off-putting. It hints at an orange or other citrus fruit, but it's as if the citrus fruit went bad or is at least going rotten. This does NOT smell nice at all.

Taste overall is kind of strange. Finish is probably the best part of the beer but it's a bit wet/watery, a little carbonated sweet in the palate, and has at least a good bread finish. Taste brings at least a basic supermarket orange to the table, but it's also bitter in a bitter fruit way, with no hop or malt presence at all.

Overall this pale ale is very un-even. Not really a good beer from this brewery they have done better. This is disappointing to say the least.

04-09-2011 03:32:00 | More by smakawhat
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

06-20-2014 23:48:21 | More by billab914
Photo of THECPJ
THECPJ

Delaware

2.85/5  rDev -19.9%

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: golden yellow orange with a 1 finger white head

smell: hops, malts, caramel,

taste: soap, caramel, hops, malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: refreshing crisp beer. Just wish it didn't have this soap characteristic to it.

Cheers,
The CPJ

06-09-2011 15:49:48 | More by THECPJ
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev +12.4%

From 32oz growler to nonic pint glass on 8/19/11
*From notes

The growler was filled at Port City's brewery about 30 minutes prior, by owner/founder Bill Butcher. Thank you for generously putting this one "on your tab," Bill.

A: Filtered sunrise golden. a generous pour yields an impressive 1.5 finger head and as I drink, some really solid lacing rims the glass.

S: Like all of Port City's brews, it's got a pretty up front grain bill. As you get past the initial malty, creamy earth, there's a floral yet bitter hop essence to it.

T: It's got a solid all-grain kick right up front. As it hits the mid, a pinch of tallgrass and bittering hops arrive and ride on into the the finish. When extremely fresh like this, I also detect a fair amount of floral yet biting hop oil that balances out the malts.

M: Just what I was looking for. Slightly thin, yet extremely quaffable. The carbonation is a bit low, though it adds to the beer's insane drinkability.

O: Port City's Essential Pale Ale has quickly become one of my go-to, everyday session beers. I can honestly say that this doesn't hold a candle to many others within the APA style, it's too straightforward. Yet that's what I enjoy about it. It's a beer, folks. "A good, everyday, I just want a beer" beer.

Port City has grown on me in a big way, and their Essential Pale Ale is my favorite of their small yet earnest repertoire.

08-22-2011 23:00:17 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

3.13/5  rDev -12.1%

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.
5.5% ABV, no date.

Thanks to Thorpe429 for sending this brew my way!

A - Lightly cloudy pale golden yellow in color and topped by a long-lasting white head, Essential looks good but is missing an essential piece; lacing.

S - Faint hops leave much to be desired from this pale. Light lemongrass notes come before an also faint pale malt base. This brew needs more potency.

T - Surprisingly sweet at first, it takes a few sips for the pils malt to give way to bitter, resiny hops. Much more in flavor than aroma, these buds give off faint lemony notes.

M - Medium in body and sweet starting with a sharp dry, biting bitter finish. Balance seems conflicted. Instead of complimenting each other, the delayed bitterness ends up harsh.

O - A great pale is hard to nail down. Port City is on the right track with this one but the hop additions during the boil need tweaking, especially adding an addition of finishing aroma hops/ dry hopping. The nose on this could stand much improvement.

08-22-2011 11:58:08 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

06-05-2014 23:57:39 | More by spinrsx
Photo of Boone757
Boone757

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

12-28-2013 18:09:49 | More by Boone757
Photo of blackie
blackie

California

3.6/5  rDev +1.1%

a: pale golden in color with a low, white layer of carbonation

s: lots of clean, crackery pale malts, citrus hops of a slightly herbal, earthy nature

m: light bodied with a crisp, low-moderate carbonation

t: simply structured - clean and crackery grains with only a slight sugar presence, earthy citrus flavors, mild to moderate bitterness with fairly dry finish

d: balanced and drinkable, a little lacking in flavor depth for my preference, though it's refreshing to have a straightforward but well-made beer from time to time

02-07-2011 04:45:30 | More by blackie
Photo of jenray
jenray

Texas

3/5  rDev -15.7%

08-08-2012 02:56:28 | More by jenray
Photo of bigred89
bigred89

Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

06-19-2012 00:06:19 | More by bigred89
Photo of IrishColonial
IrishColonial

Texas

2.75/5  rDev -22.8%

04-27-2013 19:38:27 | More by IrishColonial
Photo of KevMo84
KevMo84

California

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

06-07-2014 08:16:51 | More by KevMo84
Photo of david18
david18

New York

3/5  rDev -15.7%

07-06-2014 14:09:58 | More by david18
Photo of 2dogbrew
2dogbrew

Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

08-10-2012 22:07:08 | More by 2dogbrew
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Essential Pale Ale from Port City Brewing
81 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.