Burning Bird Pale Ale | Sonoran Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Burning Bird Pale AleBurning Bird Pale Ale
27 Ratings
Burning Bird Pale AleBurning Bird Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Sonoran Brewing Company
Arizona, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Burning Bird is our tribute to the Phoenix and to our capital city. This perfectly balanced, copper in color, smooth and refreshing Pale Ale will lift your spirits and much like a Phoenix, your love of Pale Ales will be reborn.

33 IBU

Added by PhantomVodoo on 08-25-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 27 |  Reviews: 27
Reviews by hyuga:
Photo of hyuga
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Characteristic pale ale orange color. Great head retention. Apricots and oranges in the nose along with hints of hops makes for a wonderful smell. The fruitiness doesn't stop in the nose, very tasty citrus-like flavor with a small amount of hop bitterness. A very tasty and refreshing brew.

 290 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.92/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Crystalline orange in color and very clear. The head was full and fluffy showing good retention and leaving that “volcanic pit” effect that I enjoy so much.

Smell – Ah, this is a good one. The sharp hoppy aroma has some nice notes of apricot pits. It doesn’t jump across the room at you, but stick your nose in that glass and you’ll get it for sure. I can also tell that they didn’t skimp on the malty backbone.

Taste – The apricots turn very peach here, much like a peach schnapps. The wonderful hops overtake the malt from the nose, making this one a classic Pale Ale.

Mouthfeel – Smooth as silk and light-medium in the body. This was just a tad bitter but very thirst-quenching. I would have loved to have seen a little bit more body, but otherwise this one’s a winner.

Drinkability – This was terrific. I took a deep whiff every time I drank. They know how to make thirst-quenching session ales in Phoenix.

Comments – Special thanks to a great AZ BA, Gusler, for sending this one out my way.

 1,035 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a slightly hazy deep golden color with a creamy white head that holds exceptionally well and leaves nice lace throughout the glass. The nose is bright and bold with floral, sweet & fruity notes from lightly citrusy Cascades. Quite charming! The body is medium and quite creamy in the mouth due to a very fine, natural carbonation from bottle conditioning. The lively flavor emphasises fruity and floral hop flavors over a lightly biscuity malt that's well anchored by a solid bitterness. It's very well-balanced with a clear separation between the zesty flavors up-front and the drying bitterness that emerges in the finish. Although there are now dozens of American pale ales that follow this exact formula, this one is really well done and has a fresh, vibrant character that separates it from the rest. Interesting, refreshing, and highly drinkable.

 861 characters

Photo of ElGordo
2.54/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This one arrived in the January Beer of the Month Club shipment. Pours a vibrant orange with a small, bone-white frothy head. Amazing floral nose - hoppy, citrusy, peachy, slightly yeasty. Almost like a saison nose, very unusual for an APA. My impression diminshed substantially upon actually drinking this beer. A very thin, watery body with a dominant bitter palate. Not hop-bitter, either, just bitter-bitter. A bit of mid-palate malty sweetness, but it quickly dissolves into more bitterness. Finishes very dry, and the aftertaste does go away pretty quickly. After such a promising nose, I'm very disappointed in this one.

 627 characters

Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.12/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brownish orange in color with a slight haze. Voluminous off-white head that left lace.
The wonderful spicy, citrusy hop aroma leaps out at you and envelopes your senses. Pale malt underneath the hops.

Taste follows with huge hop flavor that is spicy and citrusy. Very grapefruit like. Biscuity pale malt underneath that falls short of balancing this one. The flavors just don't seem to meld together well in this one preventing it from ascending into that next level of beer greatness. Still, hoppy and quite tastey.

Good mouthfeel.
Good drinkability.

Overall, a good, enjoyable pale ale. It made my day when a co-worker returning from vacation in AZ pulled a sixer of this out.

 689 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.42/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The pour limpid golden amber color, the head bright white and pertinent in its presence, the lace thick clinging sheets. Light hop floral tone with malt and also somewhat sweet, quite fresh. The start is malt sweet, the top middling and the finish acidic, nicely hopped, and dry and once again a decent “session” beer and good in its own right and I've had this beer from the Tap, Cask and from the Bottle.

 408 characters

Photo of weeare138
3.86/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice golden amber color with a super fluffy white head and lots of lacing. Super carbonation as well. Tap handle logo has the coolest looking logo around. It's a Phoenix carrying branches of hops. Smell is lightly fruity and malty with some hops coming through.
Taste is mellow and citrusy with a slight bitterness. Pretty decent balance. Nice and crisp.
Mouthfeel is ok. Slightly watery but it gets the job done and is enjoyable.

 434 characters

Photo of Phatz
3.51/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for supplying the bottle and to weear138 for facilitating the tasting at his home. review from notes taken 3 days ago.

Presentation: a 1 liter, flip top bottle may be considered a growler or a bottle.

Appearance: Massive carbonation. Even a very gentle slow pour resulted in a massive 5 finger white fizzy head. One speculation is that because of the swing top bottle they intentionally uped the CO2. Who knows; but the head was massive, the lacing generous and the body very active.

Smell: With everything going on in the appearance the aroma the aroma was less majestic. It was very reserved and plane. A touch of peach and citrus orange, parallel a light floral hop aroma but I really had to dig for them.

Taste: As a Pale Ale this is inoffensive but if fails to wow. It had a simple sweet malt attribute, leans slightly toward the fruity side and a very mild suggestions citric hops. The nice dry finish is the best thing it has going for it.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: The body is very light and fizzy, so paired with the dry finish it was quite refreshing and about as drinkable as water.

Hope this is helpful.

 1,159 characters

Photo of marc77
3.16/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear light copper hue. Tall, dense, steadfast pitted ivory white head yields thick lace. Hop nose of soft grapefruit with a minty edge. Malt character in aroma is of mild, light lovibond caramel with a trace toasted pale malt twang. Clean and understated aromawise. In flavor the prevalent malt presence is of dilute light toffee with a bready base malt undertone. Hop bitterness is mild, but appropriate due to the high attenuation and paltry residual sweetness. Meager grapefruit hop flavor. Devoid of yeast esters, and nearly lager like in its neutral yeast presence. Lightly bodied, with a parching, but softly dextrinous mouthfeel. Finishes dry and abrupt, with only a brief snap of caramel sweetness. A rather ho hum pale ale, but its squeaky clean overall profile facilitates decent drinkability.

 804 characters

Photo of bunnyhustle
2.94/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

One of the more "average" beers I've had in a while. Pours golden and hazy, some sediment, but a massive, massive head. Way overcarbonated. Smell was fine. Little hops and malt but slightly soapy I thought. Taste was ok, not as bitter as I'd like even in a pale. Some caramel and grassy hops but all slightly muted. Mouthfeel was fine, lighter and somewhat crisp. Overall ok, but nothing I'd revisit.

 400 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.31/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A finger of thick, bone-white head with decent retention. Color was a medium-amber with NE-plus clarity. Nose had a crisp, citrusy scent. Mouthfeel was medium with a wild lemon zestiness on the tongue. Finish was crisp, dry, and really refreshing. Pale ale?!? In the south, they would call this an IPA, if they could make such a beer. What a find!

 347 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.1/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a white three-fingered head, fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Medium carbonation and body. Orange-amber color, not completely clear. Very citrusy hoppy nose. Starts slightly sweet but hoppy and finishes citrusy with a bite. Surprisingly good flavor after being frozen solid.

 289 characters

Photo of moulefrite
3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Orange/amber color moderate creamy beige head-numerous not overly exciting floaters.. Tangy hop aromas and bisquit malty sweetness in the nose. Flavors favor hop yet there is a good dose of, again, malty/bisquit like sweetness. Nothing to complex, perhaps a little diluted, yet a sound brew that will find some friends in the desert sun. Send some to Yuma-it is sure to refresh the folks over at The Back Room-that is if the place still exists!

 444 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear light amber appearance. Thin head of foam that leaves a very light lace.

The aroma is decent: the malt and hop are well balanced, nice bouquet, probably dry hopped.

A higher level of oily-alcohol than expected. The malt dies quickly on the initial taste then the hop starts soft and builds to the predominant flavor in the aftertaste. Astringent and dry, this is a tasty beer but not very complex. The flavors are fairly two dimensional.

 449 characters

Photo of PhxHorn
3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I drank this two days after buying it from AJ's in Chandler, AZ. The color is a very light orange with almost no head. Looked great, but no matter how hard the pour, I just couldn't get the stuff to foam much at all. No lacing at all. Smelled of caramel and malt. Tasted of caramel, malt, and (disturbingly) a wee bit of vinegar which was somewhat off-putting. Not really much hop flavor at all. Carbonation, as mentioned earlier, was not what it should have been. I really wanted to like this beer more than I did, but it's just too off-kilter for me.

 552 characters

Photo of gnaussea
3.82/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice, amber-orange, with a full head that settles, leaving some off-white lace. Smells are of citrus hops over light, sweet pale and amber malts (i sense some crystal in there.)People certainly haven't missed the citrus, grapefruit quality of this. Perhaps it is because grapefruit is mentioned on the bottle's description. Either way, it is a bright and interesting brew. It is not spectacular in any way, but there is certainly a unique personality to it. I'm glad to have tried it, and would get it again if it were available. Also, the Burning Bird title is well deserved. The taste of this beer seems fitting to both the area in which it was brewed and the legend of the Phoenix. I don't know; maybe I'm just crazy.

 728 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sample courtesy of Gueuzedude via BIFx. Many thanks.

Initially a fresh citrus aroma, then briefly a duller flatter quality, but settles into the initial aspects.
Bit of an excessive head that settles around the rim first leaving a mound in the center. Solid and persistent. Orange amber with gold. Clear. Plenty of lacing.
Nice mix of subtle malt sweetness and citrus flavors and bitterness. Good combination and mix. Nice long somewhat dry bitter finish.
Quite thin and watery at first, yet it seems to improve in time. Some fullness from carbonation.
Well balanced. Nice refreshing qualtiy. Good standard. Easy one to make a staple.

 642 characters

Photo of jahred
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Many thanks to drweizen for this tasty treat! Pours an orangeish yellow color with quite a thick head. There's a nice amount of carbonation in the beer, so the retention is good as well - and after a bit of consumption there's some nice lace on my glass.

The smell is probably stronger than I'm expecting from a pale ale (not necessarily a bad thing) - pine, hops and a hint of citrus.

The taste is creamy and malty at first, though these flavors disappeared for grapefruit, lemon and that tingling pale ale grassy-hops taste. The last 2/3 of my beer was a bit thin, but this was quite refresing and very easy to drink.

 625 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.79/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl.oz stubby brown bottle with a rather eye catching colourful label depicting (surprise) a burning bird, phoenix like set amidst flames holding a hop vine in its beak.
Pour is controlled, revealing a slightly cloudy orange beer with some ‘floaties’ set amidst a deep orange hue as I hold this to the light. Head is initially massive, but it settles down to a consistent sized rocky white mass that stays. The deflated head produces some wondrous lace coatings on the glass sides, a fine smattering that clings well. Carbonation is quite good revealing a reasonably fresh beer at least.
Nose is very subdued, deep nasal inhalations were required to extract the feint hops that are evident, as the beer warms some soft peachy aromas are detectable, but overall it rates low in the smell-strength stakes.
Tastes are strange, not what I was expecting at all from a “Pale Ale”. Introduction is of a sweet maltiness, which has a soft sweet fruitiness like biting into a fresh apricot. This then leads to a rather dryish middle that has a hop-bitterness, mouthfeel is average, and the end is astringent. The finish has a strange acetic twist to it, almost a vinegary hint which lingers in the mouth some time, and is rather off-putting.
A confusing beer, from which I expected more hop-bitterness.
Not for me, just a tad too sweet at the beginning, and I don’t like the vinegary end.

 1,391 characters

Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium orange gold color. Medium head. Aroma is malts, floral and grapefruit. A medium bodied pale ale. Malts are fruity and sweet. Hops are grapefruity. Well balanced. Really fruity for a pale ale, but its balanced by some fairly aggressive grapefruity hops. All in all, a nice taste. Mouthfeel is full and round. Aftertaste is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter

 376 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to hopdog for sharing this.
Dark gold beer, fairly clear, topped by a soapy white head. Just a little lacing with decent head retention. Mild aroma, some floral and orange hop notes. The flavour followed suit - light bitterness, a little citrus and mild malting. Medium/light body and carbonation. Quite drinkable, but simple and plain.

 348 characters

Photo of Countpopeula
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – a clear orange/amber color. Stable white head, with moderate thickness.
Smell – hoppy and citrusy
Taste – Apricot flavor with citrusy hop notes. Moderate malt flavor with a more aggressive hop bitterness. Very low Diacetyl.
Mouthfeel – highly carbonated. Starts dry and finishes smooth and bitter
Drinkability – crisp and refreshing. A good beer after a long days work.
Overall – A good example of the American pale Ale style, with the exeption of the apricot flavor. However that sort of thing is what makes craft brewing so great!

 560 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.72/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Solid, but a bit lighter straw yellow in color, an inch high head of white froth, lumpy top sits long, fading slowly leaving lace in small sheets. Makes up for the lighter color.

Smell is so yummy of citrus fruits - strong grapefruit, some peach, and light lemon, quite juicy and a slight piney fatness, good , no, make that great hop nose. Wiff in, ahhh....

Taste is quite excellent, smooth, but tight of quick malts then the hops enter with super smooth grapefruit, a bit of peach and a nice airy light finish of more grapefruity sourness and a pucker of drying. Quite a decent medium body close to full and lightly textured with some creamy features in the front and finish. One hell of a great pale ale, nearly beating out some IPA's I've had. Phoenix has a winner here in my book!

Big thank to Gusler for the bottle! Wish a had another!

 852 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a copper color with a thick cream to tan colored head. Fairly clear with a bit of chill haze when it first pours. Smells like American hopes, an orange-marmalade / grapefruit aroma to it. Smells sweet from the hops as well. There is a full amount of hop flavor that seeps through as this beer passes through my mouth. Citrus flavors, lightly malty sweet, just wonderful. A fine example of a pale ale, which surpasses many of its more popular brethren pale ales. Finishes with a good hop bitterness. As the beer warms up a bit it becomes quite clear. This beer and the hops definitely remind me of orange-marmalade, yummy.

 634 characters

Photo of BigHead
3.41/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A yellowish red copper ale with a decent head from the pour. The aroma has a hint of fruit as well as hops. The first few sips are undertoned by a hint of fruit and nuttiness. The beer picks up in bitterness as you go and kind of makes it hard to put your finger on. The beer is relatively smooth and drinkable, since the brewery is right down the street, I drink it on draught more than I do from the bottle.

 409 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Burning Bird Pale Ale from Sonoran Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 27 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.