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Midwestern Pale Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Midwestern Pale AleMidwestern Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

132 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 132
Hads: 838
Avg: 3.41
pDev: 31.67%
Wants: 7
Gots: 128 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: pschul4 on 11-06-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Midwestern Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 132 | Hads: 838
Photo of Omnium
2.92/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Hazy gold, 1 finger soapy white head, little lacing.
S - Very little aroma, some bready malt, a little pepper.
T - Watery taste, some bread and biscuit malt, rye, pepper, some other spice, very little hop character.
M - Very thin, watery, forgettable.
O - This is a really lame APA, no good display of hops, weak flavor.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.4/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours hazy yellowish orange with strong fluffy white head. Smell seems off, with some citrus, sweet honey, funkyness. Very little hop influence in the flavor and aroma. A bit sweet, some honey, wheaty flavors, seems slight off, a little yeast, hay. Low to medium carbonation, light to medium mouthfeel. A bit of a miss here by Bell's.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.06/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours golden with an orange blush on it. It has quite a bit of sediment and it's very cloudy. The head is fat and off white and fell slowly to a ring and film on top. Left soapy lace. Nose is citrus and a sweet malt. The citrus is faded a bit but it's orange peel and stone fruits. The malt is biscuit and honey on the nose. The taste is muddled. It's got a body that is a bit thick and it travels the palate slowly because of that. It's not crisp or light. The carbonation is prickly and that's a good thing and adds to the drinkability. The fruits combine for an all over citric taste that has a bit of pith and hop floral . The cracker malt starts out strong but then that taste flattens out in the drink and there's hardly any finish. Spice doesn't come forward until mid glass and by then there is a bit of hop oil to add to the slow body. Has a some herbal in the finish. It's just ok.

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Photo of plaid75
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy copper hue with a two finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light piney hop and soft sweetness.

The taste consisted of a moderate hop spice, offering notes of pine and grass, atop a light grainy pale malt.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a decent pale ale. Certainly easy enough to drink.

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Photo of biegaman
3.56/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bell's Midwestern Pale Ale is indeed "reminiscent of the golden fields at harvest" (who knew these guys were poets as well as brewers?!). Its clear, dazzling complexion is sullied only slightly by bottle sediment, the dotting of which is so tiny as to look like nothing more than dust particles. Not much head remains in the glass - most of it looks like it stuck to the glass.

You'd probably expect a Pale Ale from Bell's to be bursting with hoppiness but while this aroma is slightly tinged 'green' it's actually the wholesome, heavenly scent of malted barley that prevails. The beer has a 'bakery-fresh' smell that reminds one of the comforts of warm, fresh bread.

Some styles have flavours that change more often than people do their socks - not Pale Ales. Beers like this are as steady as a beating drum. From aroma to flavour, from the first sip to the last, cold to warm, nothing changes. There's no surprises. This has a hearty maltiness that tastes of grain and bread. Nothing less, nothing more.

Hops are not, however, without any influence. The finish is not sweet, and certainly not bitter either, but cut short by something more than just stiff water minerals. The aftertaste has a trace of herbal leafiness that is very faint and reminiscent of a weakly steeped chamomile tea.

When treading water you lift yourself up by pushing the water down; whereas many microbreweries promote themselves by conceitedly contrasting their products to those of commercial breweries - typically centering on extreme offerings aimed exclusively at the beer geek fringes - Bells is confident to also let their simple, workaday beers speak for themselves.

Although certainly one of the first breweries to re-write the rules, Bells has also won out, as their Midwestern Pale Ale proudly demonstrates, by beating the big guys at their own game. The fact that some brewers overlook is that craft beer doesn't have to be big, different, or rare - lowest-common-denominator beer should be good too. And this is definitely that.

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Photo of Mojo
3.77/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle -> Samuel Adams Perfect Pint Glass

A - slightly hazy medium gold with some suspended yeast particles, one and a half finger soapy head, pretty good retention, and great lacing.

S - pine, floral, and resin, weak notes all.

T - caramel malts dominate with mild citrus flavors. Finish is mild bitter.

M - great carbonation with a slight bitter aftertaste

O - okay beer if somewhat unremarkable.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Packaged on 10/03/13.

A: Pours a hazy golden allowing just a bit of visibility. A white head sits on top of the brew. Lots of tiny bubbles can be seen rising to the surface. Leaves some spots of lacing.

S: Malt forward aroma from the barley in this one. A good amount of grain with a emanating sweetness. Hops are difficult to find.

T: Quite a malty pale ale. Starts with a heavy dose of malt that transitions into a sweetness. A splurge of hops hits you once you swallow bittering the back end.

M: Medium body with average carbonation. Leaves a touch of stickiness after you swallow.

Overall not a very impressive beer but it would be a good transition from macro brews. Glad I got a single bottle.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.94/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

My local, in-person trader, tone77, dropped this off for me and I could not be happier! It gives me a chance to riff on a number of subjects, not the least of which being the American Midwest.

First, let's see what his eminence, Larry Bell, has to say - From the Bottle: "A blond ale reminiscent of the golden fields at harvest - made with Michigan-grown barley and a delicious blend of pale malts with a distinctive spicy, floral aroma and taste. We invite you to reap what we've sown." The label depicts a "Painting of Bell's Brewery Farm [in] Shepherd, MI.

I love the midwest! It is my last bastion of hope in a dying country which I defended until retirement from the U.S. Navy. We (surprisingly) do not have much of a naval presence in the midwest, hence my infrequent visitation, but every time that I have been, I wanted to stay. I enjoy the down-to-earth attitudes which convey a simple, no-frills mentality. The people are polite, but blunt in that if they do not like you or disagree, they will tell you so without beating around the bush. Back east, we tend to be blunt and impolite, leading to fisticuffs, while out west, I am not sure that people have opinions, just random thoughts in generalities. Some of my best bumper has come from the midwest, including The Hoosiette, The Old Lady, Doll Face, and Cowgirl. I am planning a joint 21st/50th birthday party with Val Midwest to be held in her hometown of Lincoln, NE on 28 Feb 2015 and people are welcome to join us. When I finally untether the blimp of PA, I am on a beeline to the midwest, never to be heard from again. Onward!

I initially netted just over a finger of dense, tawny head with good retention, but as I noodled around in my usual inimitable fashion, it slowly fell, leaving dense, sticky lacing in its wake. Color was a slightly hazy honey-yellow (SRM = > 7 < 9). Nose had a distinctive spiciness, almost like pepper, definitely from the hops. Mouthfeel was silky smooth, notable in the style when so many try to emulate a hoppy AIPA. The taste was evocative of midwestern ladies' hips, lips and fingertips - tangy with an earthiness that can only be developed on the farm. Yum. Ah, languorous nights in coupling like freight cars ... Big, corn-fed gals who would purr like cats and give off heat like human generators. Thankfully, no corn was evident in this beer, but the hops were definitely there in force. The finish was minty, almost tea-like in its mellowness, very much peppermint and spearmint and I was suddenly rendered very sleepy. May I wake up in a barn or atop a haystack reprising Cowgirl's action.

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Photo of Chiefy770
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle (bottled on 8/01/2013) into a pint glass.

A rather thin, yet stable white foam head sat on top of a hazy, dark gold body.

The aroma was dominated by the malts with a front of a floral-herbal blend.

The grains stood out in the taste. A good hit of citrus in the aftertaste.

Overall: Not bad. Interesting flavor balance. The relatively light body makes this a great APA to throw back on a sunny afternoon.

Bottom Line: Good brew, nothing to write home about though.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.43/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

A-dark hay colored with a nice stable white head and some lacing.

S-weeds and herbal hops. Smells aged, though it isn't. Good strength

T-grains with a slight hint of aged hops, almost weedy. Slight bitterness. Matching after-taste. The flavors are strong but not really good. This tastes almost amateur.

M-medium creamy carbonation with a semi dry finish

O-tastes like a microbrew pale ale. Doesn't taste like what Bells should be making. Very boring. Won't get again.

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Photo of burnstar
3.84/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a slightly cloudy orangish gold with a small head but with nice persistence and lacing. Very mild aroma. Citrus hops. Great bitter hop taste. Clean. Citrus and spices. Dry finish and lingering bitterness. Fantastically drinkable. A really solid APA.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Dense orange with a strong show of effervesce. Whipped, frothy light tan head remains strong throughout. Lacing is generous.

S: Midwest pale shows an almost midwest flair of fresh barley, dried corn, green corn ears, and pilsner malting.

T: Flavor was bready, nobel hop flowers, faint citrus-straw, light floral lacing on the tongue. Semi-dry citrus flower, hint of stemmy briary, earthy grapes, sweet flashes of grains.

M: Mouthful was bready, lightly powdery pils malting on the tongue. Frothy textured, good carbonation.

O: Overall there is something earthy and midwest, bready, and unique about the hopping here that gives this a midwest feel. Very soothing, laid back, midwest style. A refreshing breaking from the west coast assualt of hops. solid good.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.31/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a conical pint glass

A - It is pale yellow and hazy. It is topped with about two inches of off-white head.

S - I get a lot of malt. I was hoping for a little hops. It is sweet caramel and a little grainy.

T - Again, all malt. No hops to liven it up.

M - Moderate.

O - Boring. I have had some great pale ales this summer and was hoping for another. This was a big swing and a miss. I would much rather drink Oberon all day.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.39/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured into DFH signature glass; translucent yellow-orange with a thin white head that leaves sticky fine lacing as it fades into a nice ring of foam with lively bubbles feeding it.
Smells of crackery toasted malt, grainy, bit of diacetyl, metallic, slight hint of crisp hops.
Taste is crackery-sweet malt, toasted grain, slight crisp generic hop flavor and a slightly odd flat bitterness.
Mouthfeel is thin and lightly carbonated.
Overall, this is a bit boring. They could have upped the hops considerably without going too bitter, and it would have really expanded the flavor of this one. The simplicity of this beer would make it a good bridge for macro drinkers working their way into craft, though.
It's that type of session beer that you'd drink during a party, when you don't want to have to think about what you're drinking, but still want to drink something palatable.

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Photo of magictacosinus
2.73/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Purchased today in my ongoing effort to try more beers by Bell's. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a shaker pint glass. Bottled on "07/08/13."

Pours an amber golden color that's actually pretty hazy, as well as filled with light bubbles overall. A fizzy off-white head about a half finger tall lazily dies down to about nothing but a ring at the top of the glass. The carbonation goes pretty quickly as well. Not much lacing or viscosity on this. A simple, golden pale ale. Nothing more, nothing less.

Smells of cracked barley flavors, dirty straw, light malted bitterness, and some floral hops at the finish. Ridiculously simple, almost to the point of feeling empty. Not fruity or sweet, or complex by any means. Only cracked toasted barley and light earthiness. I suppose this is supposed to be as simple as the style gets, but knowing its potential (as well as, *ahem*, Bell's potential), it could use some pruning.

The flavor is awash with bittered cracked grainy flavors, light earthy hops, and slight notes of stale stonefruit. Nothing more comes in, other than a plain, barley predominant flavor that reminds me of stale toast and dry straw. There's a bit of a sweetness at the finish, but it doesn't do much else. Slightly thin in feel, and definitely not creamy or carbonated enough. Definitely simple, but not the most pleasing thing to sip on.

Not much to say about this other than the fact that this is as basic as an APA can get. I do wish it didn't taste so barley forward and faded in terms of providing more complexity to the choppy bitterness, but it is what it is. I passed it over to someone else, but this could hit the spot if I needed something of its type. When, I've no clue, but it shall exist for that special point in time.

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

12 oz. bottle, with bottled on date 06/10/2013 printed on the label. About as fresh as I could hope for. Scored this during a recent trip to Cedar Rapids at Benz Beverage Depot.

Poured into a Miller Lite pint glass.

A - Slightly aggressive pour only conjures one finger of doughy off-white head that settles down quickly. Body is a light bright orange color when held to the light with tons of tiny specks of yeast sediment floating around. I happen to enjoy the appearance of yeast sediment, so I think it looks rather nice.

S - Smell is more subdued. A bit of fresh juicy peach, apricot, corn, and some earthy grains and malts.

T - Taste follows suit: lightly bitter citric hop presence, grainy barley & malt backbone, and crisp carbonation.

M - Feel is crisp and light-bodied, with a dry bitterness lingering on the palate. Very ideal.

Overall, a delicious summer beer, easy drinking and highly sessionable with a nice 5.20% abv. The label identifies itself as a blonde ale, but it tastes like the ideal American pale ale to me. Nothing extraordinary or groundbreaking, but a solid, well-made Michigan beer. An offering from Bell's I would gladly drink again and again.

Bell's Midwestern Pale Ale ---3.5/5

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Photo of jwhancher
3.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip for review. Appears a somewhat cloudy yellow. Lacing clings to the glass alright. Smells of wheat crackers, hay, and some citrus hops - maybe Cascade. Tastes sweet upfront with a tinge of bitterness and some citrus hops towards the back end. Feels medium with decent carbonation. Overall, slighty above average for a pale ale these days. This is definitely refreshing, just not a great representative of the style for craft beer.

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Photo of stakem
2.73/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. The brew appears a hazed copper color with a white sudsy head that fades leaving a wall of lace on the glass. It is quite decent looking with fair retention. Some spots of sediment are seen throughout solution.

The aroma isa bit dusty with biscuit grain, sulfur, toffee, caramel grain and a hint of fruity to floral almost perfume aspect. Some almost like butter is noted towards the back and it increases in character as the brew warms up.

The taste is equally buttery as the nose suggests with bready to biscuit grain. Some sulfur, grass and herbs are thrown in the mix with hints of caramel but without the accompanying sweetness.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is a bit watery and well, just strange and not enjoyable enough to warrent wanting to have it again. Of all the stuff bell's makes that I had the opportunity to try, this is the biggest let down.

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Photo of tectactoe
2.76/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

One that I've been reluctant to purchase... or even try, just based on the relatively poor reviews it has. But hey, it's Bell's, so it can't be that bad, right? ....Right?? Midwestern Pale Ale pours out like a foggy pear skin; muddled and overrun by a jungle of small and sifting sediment particles. The porcelain head looks like a cloud, overcasting the unfiltered brew and taking its sweet ol' time to finally settle itself.

The aroma is kind of confusing. And not really in a good way. Mildly sulfuric, toasted bread, pale malt, and a touch of meek, musty hops, reminiscent in my mind of Saaz, or at least some kind of Noble hop. I get a chunky, crisp lager whiff, too, very akin to lagering yeast. Really, this smells like more of a lager than an ale, but not even a *good* one at that. Kind of boring and plain, and not really fitting of the "American Pale Ale" namesake.

Equally disappointing is the flavor, starting off with a combo of light DMS, sulfur, and off-beat graininess - this beer almost tastes like it has been sunstruck... so much for the brown bottle. Metallic notes, musky, and earthy hops that are far too faint with a finishing sucker punch of dirt, crisp yeast, and unexciting pale malt. Light bodied, not a whole lot in terms of palate presence, though the carbonation is crispy and dry, again, giving me that "lager" feel.

Bleh, wow. I'm pretty upset with Bell's on this one. Not at all what I think of when I hear the term "Pale Ale". For a brewery that has released stuff like Two Hearted, Hopslam, and Expedition Stout, you kind of expect more out of their constant rotation pale ale. Instead, we have this boring, bland, mildly off-putting, almost lager-ish but not as good, confusing mess of a beer. Good thing they have so many other great offerings - this one won't be missed.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled 6/17/2013. Pours hazy and cloudy golden amber color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of lemon zest, orange zest, pine, floral, grass, bread, and floral earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of hop and malt notes; with solid strength. Taste of lemon zest, orange zest, pine, floral, grass, toast, bread, and floral earthiness. Fair amount of spicy floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus zest, pine, floral, grass, toast, bread, and floral earthiness on the finish for a bit. Nice balance of floral/spicy hops with malt sweetness; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice and unique pale ale. Good balance of hop and malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A pleasantly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of puckinright
3.26/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pale ale's catch a bad rap. In a 'big beer' world they seem to be looked down upon. With that said, pale ale's when done well have a lot to offer & Midwestern Pale Ale is a good example.

Beer pours a dark, cloudy amber color w/ a frothy two finger head. Good retention and solid lacing. Smells of malts. Tastes of heavy malts and breads up front w/ a crisp, refreshing hop bitterness on the back end. Well carbonated and medium bodied mouth feel.

Very good example of a pale ale. If I lived in Michigan, it would be a goto session beer. Alas, I do not. So this is a one off for me.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, some caramel, a bit of hops. Taste is malts, a bit of hops, balanced and easy drinking but not overly flavorful. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.37/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottled on 2-6-13, so not the freshest...or even close.

Pours a hazy, full golden color. Nice, 2 finger, frothy head that retains and laces very well. Very light hops scent on the nose for a pale ale. Lighter malt is the dominant flavor in the smell. Taste is of solid malts in the beginning and middle of the drink. Some hops take over towards the end of the brew, with only a light bitterness to balance out the malts. Nothing terribly grounf breaking as far as hops in a pale go. About what you expect in a pale ale as far as weight. This would fall into the everyday beer category if you were a Bell's local.

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Photo of Mosca
3.34/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is about as close to a pilsner as an ale is going to get. Lots of carbonation, hoppy (but not complex), with malt and yeast sharing the aftertaste.

It suffers from living during the big beer movement, but it is more fair to understand what it is: an awesome soda pop beer. A lawnmower beer. A beer with balance, one that is light without being bland and flavorless.

Don't sip it. Open up your throat and pour it back. Drink 'em in pairs, the first one to quench the thirst, then the second to remind you how good the first one was. And to remember what it was about beer that made you like it.

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Photo of Donnelj
3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - pours a golden straw color with a small white head that falls to a film fairly quickly. Lacing is sparse.

S-smell is floral and grassy with a slight funkiness

M - mouthfeel is thin but crisp with medium high carbonation.

T - taste is slightly grassy with slight maltiness. Hops are slightly present at finish. Finish is dry and crisp.

O - overall impression is good. I feel that bells accomplished what they were after with a nice refreshing summertime beer.

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Midwestern Pale Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
78 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.