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Essential Pale Ale - Port City Brewing

Not Rated.
Essential Pale AleEssential Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

55 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 55
Hads: 174
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 13.24%
Wants: 3
Gots: 25 | 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: 55 | Hads: 174
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. (510 characters)

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 (852 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (678 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.26/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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 (614 characters)

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. (387 characters)

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. (469 characters)

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. (537 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (1,023 characters)

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. (296 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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. (416 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
2.76/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 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. (878 characters)

Photo of akorsak
3.3/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (807 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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. (1,389 characters)

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. (707 characters)

Photo of THECPJ
2.88/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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 (297 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.08/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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. (1,044 characters)

Photo of blackie
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 (532 characters)

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. (275 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
2.43/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap at Stoney's in DC. Poured into pint glass. Pours a a golden straw/yellow color along with a small white head that fizzles quickly leaving some light lacing throughout. Aroma is medium sweet, orange/lemon, some grapefruit, biscuit with notes of mild malts and hops. Taste is medium sweet, grapefruit, lemon/ornage, light bread, lager lemon. Light-medium body, some acidity which hurt the score. Mild carbonation throughout. Was too bitter and left an unpleasant taste at the end. I cannot go with this one here for the style... (533 characters)

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. (660 characters)

Photo of goblue3509
2.77/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an amber color with almost no head at all and no lacing. The aroma is of sweet malt and a little bit of a citrus hop bite. The aroma is faint and a little weak. The taste follows suit yet a little stronger. There is a sweet malt backbone and a hint of breadiness to it. There is a citrus hop bite to balance out the beer, but the bite is weak and subdued for the class. The mouthfeel is low carbonation. Overall it was an okay beer, needs more in the hop department for taste and a little more carbonation. (512 characters)

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 !! (363 characters)

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. (1,062 characters)

Photo of beer2day
3.94/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold to orange pour with light carbonation, very little head, no retention and very light lace.

Orange lemon citrus mix on the nose. Mild, not overpowering, but very nice.

Lemon and pepper dominate from the get go. Really come out in the finish as well, with almost a chile pepper feel to the aftertaste. Very little malt character, but there is a little bread here.

Body is about right for the style. Not too heavy, but I could see others thinking so.

Except for the appearance, a fairly solid pale. (504 characters)

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 (478 characters)

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Essential Pale Ale from Port City Brewing
81 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.