Lakefront Brewery: Cream City Pale Ale

by: BeerAdvocate on 03-30-2007
Welcome to week 3 of our exploration of the variety eight-pack from Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, WI. This week, we’re tasting Lakefront’s Cream City Pale Ale, classified as an American Pale Ale (APA) that’s dry-hopped with Cascade hops (a classic American variety often used in Pale Ales) and weighing in at 5.68 percent alcohol by volume. Its name, if you’re wondering, is a reference to one of Milwaukee’s many nicknames.

Lakefront Brewery Cream City Pale AleAs far as APAs go, you can generally expect a good balance of malt and hops. Fruity esters and diacetyl can vary from none to moderate, and bitterness can range from lightly floral to pungent. The major difference between American and English Pales Ales is that American versions tend to be cleaner, hoppier and more alcoholic, while their British counterparts tend to be more malty, buttery, aromatic and balanced, with a more moderate alcohol content. So now that we sort of know what to expect, let’s give Cream City a try.

The Taste
The 12-ounce bottle unleashes what appears to be a well-carbonated brew, with thousands of tiny bubbles cascading throughout the beer and forming a very tight white foam head that retains extremely well and leaves rings of sticking lace as we drink—thanks, no doubt, to the abundance of hops. What lies beneath is a peachy amber-colored brew with a touch of haze running through it. Nose is floral, like orange blossoms, with some citric rind and soft apple. Ultra-smooth on the palate, with a silky creaminess up front and an even consistency to the end. Mineral notes. Sharp citric smack, with grapefruit, salt, lemon rinds and a piney edge. Crisp bite. Leafy undertones. Apple and pear notes follow, with a touch of pale malt sweetness and orange-like fruitiness mingling with light hop oils. Bitter, grainy and drying in the finish—with just enough residual sweetness to make the linger enjoyable.

Final Thoughts
In our opinion, Cream City Pale Ale (which got a score of “recommended” on with some 40-odd reviews) is a good brew that’s a bit predictable, but impressive nonetheless, full of flavor and highly drinkable. It’s actually a great example of a modern APA, with more of a hop presence due to its being dry-hopped. Serve it cool in a nonic glass (or something similar). A mesclun salad with a citrus-infused vinaigrette would pair nicely, as would a nice chunk of aged cheddar or a light poultry dish. On its own, it makes for a good session brew—meaning you can have more than one without losing respect for beer.

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