ACME California Pale Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

293 Reviews
Read the review
ACME California Pale AleACME California Pale Ale

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 10-29-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 293 | Ratings: 551
Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at St Augustines in Vancouver.

A: 1.8" white head over nearly transparent straw coloured liquid.

S: Citrusy hops and yeast with a hint of malt.

T: A faint, disappointing taste given the inviting appearance and smell. Citrusy hops which gives way to a sweet malty aftertaste.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: A good pale ale with a sweet aftertaste but it doesn't particularly stand out.

 429 characters

Photo of mjyoung
3.13/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank 7/10/11.

A: A dark amber color with a measly off-white head. It's not a bad look, but it is slightly underwhelming.

S: The smell is a little bland and hard to discern. I can pick out some strong citrus-y hop notes, but other than that there isn't much here. Upon additional sniffs I can get a hint of smooth malt, but it's not very robust.

T: Where did the beer go? It's certainly not offensive, and actually the tastes that come through are quite good (clean citrus hops and a malt backbone) but those tastes are so muted as to be almost invisible.

M: Thick and slightly malty. It's actually a really nice texture, but the carbonation is a little low. Delightfully clean finish though...

O: Overall? I'm not that impressed. It's quite drinkable, but mostly because it goes down so easily and not because the taste is very memorable.

 846 characters

Photo of MrKennedy
2.59/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a Redoak globe style glass and purchased from Warners at the Bay.

Moderately deep golden appearance, pouring with a white, 2 finger, head of foam that dissipated quicker than expected.

The smell is exactly what you get when you open a can of corn kernels. Add a little bit of sweet malt and that is what you have. Not expected, not wanted!

Taste has the sweet malt hit first, balanced out by a small touch of citric hop flavour. Not really true to style and not great at all.

The body of this beer suits the style with the usual level of North Coast drinkability and feel to it. Definitely the best feature.

Overall, you drink the beer for what you taste and smell predominately and this is below par on both. Would need some major changes to this brew to see me contemplate grabbing another.

 822 characters

Photo of jarmby1711
2.86/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ah , a chance to sample another American craft ? beer.
No expectations , no background knowledge to influence one.
Verdict , a beer of moderate enjoyability.
It looked the part , nice darkish hue , 1-2 finger head with some no tracing bubbles , but there was an underlying kerosene/creosote taste that was a bit off putting .
As Jim Carey so famously said in Liar Liar , " I've had better"

 389 characters

Photo of dgilks
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark gold colour with a small off-white head. Decent head retention.

Mild aroma with a hint of mango and orange hop aroma. A touch sweet.

Mild pale malt flavour with a touch of wheatiness. Mild fruity hop flavour. Very mild bitterness. Simple yet tasty.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Fine.

A decent, crisp Pale Ale with mild hop flavour. Easy drinking but just a little on the dull side.

 407 characters

Photo of kagent777
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from the Utah State system poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Crystal clear light golden/copper. Tiniest little bit of head that settled and went a way really quickly.

Smell: Sweet corn and honey like smell. A hint of earthy hops in the nose.

Taste: Not as sweet as the nose would suggest, this beer actually has a bit of hop bitterness. There is some grain and corn flavors in the taste. One dimensional but pleasant.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is prickly and the body solid, not too thick or too thin.

Overall: A tasty beer at a reasonable price point. This one simply is not exceptional, but solid. I will get this one again. May be a good gateway beer for BMC drinkers.

 691 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was decent, nice even amber in color with a modest head that settled down slowly and evenly over the course of the session, but left little in the way of lacing or any formative layer of foam. Light malted grains open up as it warms. Caramel, hints of piney hops, a nice touch of rich bready malts and a definite herbal quality to it.
Smooth and even with a nice soft and even consistency to it. Rich, warming hop notes great me across the palate and melt into a fine mix of caramel and smooth, subtle and lovely buttery notes. Final smack down comes from the hops which are nice and prominent in the finish and really go a long way into the final taste. Easily session able and much easier to put down then I thought it would be. I have to admit I grew quite fond of this one.

 786 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with two fingers of white foam on top of a perfectly clear, copper colored body. The head exhibits excellent staying power and leaves very nice lace as it recedes.

S - Light, spicy hops with some bready caramel and fruity, almost british, yeas notes of red apple.

T - Biscuity notes of malt and toffee up front with a bit of apple. The fruity, red apple yeast flavor swells in the middle where it is joined by a bit of spicy hop character. The beer finishes with dry biscuit malt flavor and a bit of mild caramel, all of which is balanced by moderate bitterness and lingering herbal hops.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - Very drinkable, this is a finely balanced beer with a thick, rich malty quality and just enough hop character to keep the sweetness in line. It is not as, well, "American" as I would have expected with a kind of neutral hop flavor and a distinctly British quality to the yeast and malt character. Aside from the carbonation and strength, this almost comes across like an ESB or a mild. Regardless, it is very drinkable and quite good.

 1,113 characters

Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a bottle as part of of a "Craft Your Own Six-Pack" at Wegmans, Warrington, PA

Enjoyed in a DFH Signature Glass

A - Pours a hazy, opaque golden color. Pours to a one finger, foamy head that fades rather quickly to a thin white coating on top of the beer. Little bit of lacing left on the side of the glass.

S - A slightly sweet, bready, malty smell.

T - A rather tangy, malty taste. A sour. tart finish. Very malt forward with a hint of hops. The alcohol is not noticable at all.

M - Decently carbonated with a tingly mouthfeel.

O - A tasty yet uninspiring beer. I could easily put a few of these away with no problem. Actually a very quaffable and sessionable beer but ultimately it falls a little short on complexity and overall taste, in my opinion.


 776 characters

Photo of brewemstrong
3.37/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep yellow that shows limited carbonation. Poured without any head and does not lace.

S: Solid malt but with a nice fruity complement to it. Orange with almost a strawberry touch. Lack of hop notes or alcohol overtones.

T: Light malt but it's the main flavor. A bit straw-like before that citrus note and a slightly bitter finish. Maybe a bit salty..

M: The tastes don't blend extremely well, leaving 3 distinct periods of the sip. Finishes a bit dry as well

O: Not a bad beer, but it could be improved. Maybe a different spice blend to improve the middle

 564 characters

Photo of chicagoabbot
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz into a snifter...pours a clean and clear golden with a sizeable head. I like how light and pale this beer is; it seems like a lot of pale ales have been getting darker as a style lately.

Aroma is pretty sweet, but most pale ales are a little on the sweet side. Not a ton of complexity, but nothing objectionable and it's an enjoyable nose.

It's good on the tongue, some hop bitterness comes through with the malt and this balances out the aroma nicely. Decent complexity here, there are a number of things I can appreciate about this malt profile.

Mouthfeel is good too, zesty and light. I'll probably continue to buy more reasonably priced pales like SN more often, but I do like this beer and will get it again.

 722 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is a clear, bright gold with a deeper orange hue in the light. Activity looks spritzy, but the off-white head that forms is rich and dense. Retention is good and the head immediately begins to stick in heavy patches at the top of the glass, thinning from there down.
Hops are present on the nose, but also light. This beer seems to focus on balance, and isn't heavily hopped at all. There's plenty of orange in a background of grains and a particular malts blend that seems to offer a light fruits (think apricot) and breads balance.
The flavor is light but good, though lacking a bit in depth. Lightly floral notes with citrus and a touch of rind go against bready malt with just a slight touch of sweetness. There's a bit of an herbal element as well and almost that aspirin flavor just lingering toward the finish, where a light mineral character also kicks in.
The body is light, and it goes smooth and a bit more filling after just a light crispness. The smoothness and light carbonation almost distract from the thinness of it, but not quite.
This is easy drinking and sessionable, but it's a tad weak in depth all the way around, and certainly not what I expect from North Coast.

 1,196 characters

Photo of dbaker61
3.22/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orangey-amber color, poured with about a finger of head which dissipated quickly. Left little spots of lacing down the glass.

Aroma: Sweet and malty, with a touch of floral and pine.

Taste: Malt sweetness up front, then some hops bitterness. Good balance to the flavors. Overall, just a shade on the sweet side.

Mouthfeel: Good. Light carbonation, which is fine with me.

Drinkability: At the first taste I could tell this would be a good repeat beer. I could see having this as a session beer.

 509 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. "stubby" bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear, copper/gold in color, with a moderate head of white foam.
Aroma-Toasted malt
Taste-Toasted malt, faint mineral note, nice little hop bite. Tastes like an "English" style pale with the mineral note.
Overall, decent character and good drinkability, a nice pale ale.

 334 characters

Photo of shand
2.88/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic.

This is a beautiful looking brew. Pours with a healthy two and a half fingers of head over a hazy straw body. Retention and lacing are excellent. The smell on this is also quite nice. It's fruity with a touch of floral hops and a bit of grapefruit. A little touch of graininess drags it down a touch. The taste isn't quite as good as the nose though. Grainy malts are really the star of the show, along with some cloying sweetness that unfortunately pairs with some bitterness on the backend. There's just a touch of hop character. Just not the best taste character.

The mouthfeel is pretty good, it's decently carbonated. This beer's saving grace is probably it's drinkability, which is enough to drag up the average half a point or so. It's a decent brew that might be marred by the lack of freshness dates. Date your beers!

 872 characters

Photo of magine
3.16/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic glass.

Pours a hazy orange color, fluffy white head. Head settles to a nice island and has good lace. Good looking brew.

Brew smells of grainy malts, slight floral or fruit hop profile. Average pale ale smell.

Brew is light; thin and grainy malts. Sweet malty profile. A bit thin and underwhelming. A crisp drinking brew. A little dryness in the finish. Maybe some honey on here as well. Brew is average at best in the flavor department. Meh.

Brew is drinkable; but rather ho-hum, so why session this one. A very unoffensive, but forgettable pale ale. Not much to this one.

 597 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
3.16/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured golden orange with yellow highlights that had a very thin head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was really malty but with subtle caramel citrusy notes aand not anything else popping out. The taste was moslty malty sweetness like the nose but had subtle citrusy and honey notes. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet and malty finish. It drank good but was basicin flavor and IMO would make for a pretty good session beer.

 495 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.76/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy dark amber colour with an average size frothy and rocky off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation, and there is some good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for several minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - Breads/grains, hops, dough, tangerine

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation on the tongue and the beer feels every creamy. The most noticeable flavours are breads/grains, light hops, a grassiness, and a hint of fruit sweetness.. perhaps melon? The beer finishes with a light hop aftertaste.

Drink - The beer didn't have a very powerful smell and doesn't have a whole lot of hop taste. But it does have a nice flavour and is extremely easy to drink. The light fruit sweetness adds a nice touch as well. This would be an excellent session beer.

 869 characters

Photo of bishopgary
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured clear, golden to copper. About one inch of relatively thick off-white head. Took a while to dissipate, left some lacing.
S: Not much aroma, light malt and a bit of citrus or hops. I was expecting more here.
T: Overall good. Plenty of smooth malt, just a hint of hops and a slight bit of spice at the end.
M: Nothing extraordinary. I was not expecting quite as much carbonation.
D: Good. This is light, with enough complexity to keep it interesting. Good session beer in my opinion. Plenty of other folks must find it very drinkable because North Coast has been brewing this for a while.

 597 characters

Photo of bmwats
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint.

A: Deep golden hue. Pretty heavy carbonation. Lots of bubbly carbonation clinging to the insides of the glass. Pours about a 2 finger, foamy, off-white head. Settles pretty slowly, leaving behind some sticky residue as it does. Just a touch of sparse lacing.

S: Malt, piney hops, and caramel.

T: A little sweet-ish malty flavor with a subdued hop. A touch of licorice in there, too.

M: Full flavor, but has a bit of funky sweet/washed out/grainy feel. Not really bad, just unusual.

D: Full and refreshing.

Atmosphere is pretty decent. Really nice appearance, and grain nose with an interesting compliment. Flavor is full with a bit of a different feel. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

 746 characters

Photo of NODAK
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The aroma here is quite malty and creamy...some caramel there...certainly a bit sweet. Surprising for style.

For an APA, this is pretty unique. There isn't much of a hop profile on this one at all. In fact, it reminds me more of an English Pale Ale. Taste is a malty combination of some caramel with a bit of biscuit...a good deal of creaminess. Tastes a lot like some red ales I've had. Finishes very clean, with basically nothing lingering on the palate.

This beer is light in body, and somewhat light on taste, but is very drinkable because the flavors present are tasty. I can imagine some people may wonder what the heck hoppened to any semblence of hoppiness here, and I wouldn't blame them, but I am just fine with it.

 728 characters

Photo of Nerudamann
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look - murky, light amber in color. About a finger's worth of head that dissipates somewhat slowly. Good carbonation.

Smell - Slightly malty with a hint of fruitiness to it.

Taste - crisp taste, slightly piercing the sides of the palate with with an earthy taste from the hops being used. In this case I would agree with the labels boasts of being clean-tasting. Despite the murkiness, this brew tastes very refined. Texture is fairly well-balanced.

Drinkability - this brew isn't terribly complex, but nonetheless has a nice quality that I like enough to keep coming back.

 577 characters

Photo of cmannes
3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz poured into a Pint Glass.

Appearance: Beautiful golden color. Slight haze. Puffy White head. little bit of lacing.

Aroma: Light, citrus.

Taste: Citrus, very light hop flavor. Rather subtle for an APA.

Mouthfeel: About right. Not too fizzy, fairly light.

Overall: A good session beer. But I think there are better.

 323 characters

Photo of twelvsies
4.17/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale orange amber, actively bubbling and a smooth finger of head. Great representation of grains in the nose - lightly sweet and toasty malt, doughey, milk and honey, and a faint hint of herbal tea hops. Really inviting. Nice malt profile to this one - lots of flavor coming through, grainy and fresh, warm biscuit, cream soda, subtle but tasty. Very restrained on the hops, interesting. Excellent, smooth soft and creamy on the palate and the winning bright malt profile here make this beer a real session beer and quite the nice change from the normally hoppy west coast pale.

 586 characters

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

A mostly yellowesque beer, a little bit of orange in with it. Above average fluff in the head. Aroam was grapefruit hoppy, yet restrained.

Taste, very sessionable, easy drinking, yet plenty of bitterness and hop mouthfeel, seemed to be cascades. Never heavy on the palate, even on the rare occasion when I could tell the beer I was drinking wasn't the freshest. Just gets a little more bitter without as much hops. Is pretty distinguishable, has elements of both British and West coast pale to it.

 498 characters

ACME California Pale Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.45 out of 5 based on 551 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.