Freshchester Pale Ale | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

very good
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Freshchester Pale AleFreshchester Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Billolick on 02-12-2006

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Reviews: 160 | Ratings: 601
Photo of TheRougeBastard
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz drank straight from the bottle (being lazy tonight) so the color score is a guess (like it really matters). Scent and taste is what counts and IMO Freshchester delivered. Nice, solid pale ale. Thanks to my pal Steve for driving it down to NC...doubt it would have been on my radar otherwise.

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Photo of YoungMtn52
3.37/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I like a lot of the beers from Capt. Lawrence but this isn't one of them...kind of has a bitter bite to it....give me a Kolsh or a Liquid Gold instead...this tasted more like an IPA.

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Photo of avalon07
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a cloudy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: A good aroma of hops, light malt, and a bit of citrus.

T: Tasted of a little bit of pine, some malty notes, citrus (grapefruit, in particular), a fair amount of hops, a hint of caramel, and an odd bubblegum taste. A solid enough flavor that seems more like a IPA than an APA. Seems a little thin places, but on the whole a nice flavor.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a lively finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Freshchester is, in general, a well made, likable beer. It has its faults, but it's a well done beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.52/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Nabbed a six pack for a bit over $9.00 in Brooklyn.

12 fl oz brown glass bottle. Colourful (some might say loud) label art. Branded black pry-off crown cap.

45 IBU. 5.50% ABV. Pale ale. Bottled 02/23/2016.

APPEARANCE: Pours a muted murky dark orange with a foamy off-white cap in my nonic pint, betraying a lack of vibrance and liveliness. The head sticks around for a good 6 minutes, though, and boasts a nice thick creamy consistency. No lacing as she recedes.

While the beer appears adequately carbonated, the overall appearance leaves something to be desired. Not the clean clear vibrant copper-orange you'd hope for in a top tier pale ale.

AROMA: More resinous than floral, hinting at Simcoe with its subtle oniony character. Checking Captain Lawrence's website, it's evident I'm wrong: this is all Columbus, Cascade, and Palisade - though I wouldn't know it by the aroma (where's the juicy citrus and clean pine?). Sticky and hinting towards tropical - possibly the warm boozy kind of tropical fruit I've come to be put off by in IPAs, but rarely encounter in pale ales.

More malty than it should be for the style, with too much two row and pale malt sweetness creeping in. I suspected caramalt judging by the malty sweetness, but again (per the website) I'm apparently wrong; it's English crystal.

Aromatic intensity is average. Lacks the hoppy pungency you'd hope for in a good example of a pale ale.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Medium-bodied, smooth, wet, and overcarbonated. The body is fuller than it needs to be given the relative lack of pungent hop flavours in this beer; maybe the seven months of age have made the hops fade or maybe it's just the beer itself (either way Captain Lawrence needs to start using best before dates), but it's an underwhelming expression of a pale ale in that regard. I do get some hoppy resins, an almost bubblegum phenol-like note, and a hint of muted pine, but it's lacking even in terms of fresh floral character (let alone the juicy citrus you'd expect in a Cascade hopped brew). Pale malt/2-row sweetness runs rampant throughout. I'm not sure English crystal malt was a great choice for an American pale ale.

Imbalanced (towards the sweet side), lacking the assertive hop profile a pale ale requires...even a pale ale by the standards of twenty years ago. This build fails to hold a candle even to classics of yesteryear like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and I can't see this beer competing for market share in a state with access to the hot new things from Vermont all the kids seem to be after these days - let alone tried and true beers from Troegs, Lagunitas, and Victory.

OVERALL: A forgettable pale ale from Captain Lawrence if only on account of its fundamental absence of pungent hop flavour, Freshchester is a pale ale for the pale ale fan who arrived in New York via time machine from 1978 Cardiff - which is to say it isn't really a (contemporary) pale ale at all. Not a beer I'd recommend to others, though I would like to see Captain Lawrence start using best before dates instead of just throwing the word "fresh" in their beer names as a marketing ploy.

At least this beer's IBU has increased from 35 to 45 since the last time the brewery updated their website...

Low C- (2.52) / BELOW AVERAGE

01.03.17 2nd impression (a friend gave me a couple leftover bottles (which are 8 months old, so I won't count these impressions towards my rating):

Overcarbonated - almost bitingly so. Some faint oily hops, some floral hops...there's not a lot to it, but it isn't unpleasant; I actually think I like this better aged (not exactly something I'd expect of a pale ale...). Unfocused and unbalanced, but not an unenjoyable or undrinkable brew.

The overcarbonation reduces its drinkability compared to most pale ales, but it's decent fare for what it is.


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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Most remarkable thing about this is the lacing.
Hops dominate the taste and smell - somewhere between citrus and pine. Somehow though the finish isn't that bitter. Feels light and almost sessionable.

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Photo of Bluecrow
2.88/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

-bottle to glass (dated 4 May 2016, so less than 2 months old). Normative head and carbonation, lacing is prominent over a medium amber pour. Malt aroma is more prominent than hops. This bottle has an off-putting flavor, somewhat plastic-like, that is detectable in the nose too. Others have mentioned something similar, but there are some much better descriptions. I'll try it again as it is available nearby.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange in color with a two finger eggshell head.

Smells of rich caramel malt, vanilla, bitter tropical citrus hops and fresh grains.

Upfront its slightly bitter and grassy. Midpalate I get notes of sweet toffee and caramel from the malt. It finishes with an orange sherbet/ sugar cookie taste on the finish - once the bitter tropical hops finally catch up to the malt on the aftertaste. Notes of banana bread and honey become more apparent as it warms.

Has a light body and is lightly carbonated. Slightly watery so as to be sessionable. Balanced, but leans towards the bitter side.

Overall I'm pleased with this purchase, but I doubt I would buy again.

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Photo of BrewMaven
2.8/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Had trouble pouring since the head would blast over the top of the glass before the bottle was 20% empty.

Nose was best described as "plastic".

Taste gave a hint of same with a bit of rubber thrown in...Some hops too.

Medium bodied with mild carbonation. Too weird to even consider again..Maybe a bad (outdated) bottle..Stop and Shop might want to take the beer section more seriously.

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Photo of BWED
2.51/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into willibecher.

A- Semi-hazy copper/orange. Off white head is dense and lumpy. Good, one finger retention and lacing.

S- Hop aroma quite off and muddled. Citrus and pine, with a hint of something rubbery.

T- Dull pale malt, some watery piney hop.

M- Medium light body, with a dull bitterness in the aftertaste.

O- Something was just off on this. I hope it was just the one bottle.

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Photo of Kinger22
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A strong amber color, with a small white head that fades with time. Leads with a malt flavor, follows with a slight bitterness. Not an overpowering smell by any means. Slight carbonation that is very drinkable. Overall a good pale ale.

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Photo of generallee
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It’s body has a medium amber colored with good clarity and some visible carbonation. It is topped off with a small white head that fades to wispy thin film layer with a thicker ring of foam at the edge of the glass.

Smell: In the nose I get some light notes of sweet bready and caramel like maltiness. Hops are light and offer a slight herbal and pine like background.

Taste / Palate: The flavor has a base maltiness with light caramel notes and bready sweetness. The come in quickly and balance with some herbal and piney notes. The overall feel is a light middle weight with good carbonation.

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Photo of ManapuaMan
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Solid pale ale. Picked up while in Mt Kisco, opened within three weeks of bottling. Smooth malt foundation lays the groundwork for the aroma and taste profile. Slightly woodsy, earthy and grainy taste precedes light floral notes from the hops.

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Photo of scotorum
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75


Yet another selection from the mixed sixpack I composed on a recent trip to NY state. Captain Lawrence products are not distributed in my state.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Lawson's stemmed tulip.

a: Clear copper with a finger and a half thick offwhite head which receded to mainly thin surface foam and patchy lacing.

s: Alcohol with a few light fruit notes

t; Biscuit malt under slight plum notes, light to moderate hop bite balances the dry finish.

m; Light to medium, ok body, heavy carbonation tingle.

o; An easy drinking pale ale. More a dinner beer than a sipper.

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Photo of BranfordBound
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at the Wood'n'Tap bar in Wallingford. Decent craft selection there! Was a really nice APA, definitely an all-around balanced kind of beer, but when fresh it leans towards hoppy. Light on the body and very drinkable.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Blazer's Pub in Purdys, NY

Appearance - Served up in a pint glass, this brew is crystal clear and copper orange in color. There's a half finger of off-white head that displays good retention. Dissipates to a thin, consistent layer of suds across the top. Leaves a fair pattern of lace around the glass with great stick.

Smell - Citrusy aroma with a strong bready undertone.

Taste - No tricks here; citrus flavors hitting on orange oil and faint lemon. Nice spice bite hits mid-taste, and that bready undertone comes through shortly after to help deliver a bittersweet finish. Mild pith bitterness lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with bitey carbonation. Slick on the swallow.

Overall - Pretty darn good pale. Assertive flavor profile with nice, drinkable qualities. A shame it will likely be my first and last glass.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Hazy red/burnt siena color. Off-white head sits an
T a half inch in height and leaves sticky webs of lacing.

S: Earthy American hops. Pine, tea and tobacco. Pithy grapefruit and orange. Lemon zest. Solid toast and caramel malt base.

T: Citrusy hops jump out. Orange, ruby red grapefruit, and lemon, all zested. Marmalade. Hop flavors morph on the mid palate as flavors of pine, bark, tea and tobacco come forward. Hints of ripe red berries, bubblegum, and marmalade. Fat toast and caramel malt base shows some English flare. Earthy and toasty finish.

M: Medium bodied with some rich malt texture that presses in gently. Round and creamy. Tight, acutely scrubbing carbonation. Some gritty hop astringency.

O: A well-brewed American Pale with a very classic feel to it. Textbook and pretty tasty.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: crystal clear; copper colored; 1 finger off white head that receded slowly to a thick cap; very nice lacing;

S: bready malts; citrusy hops;

T: nicely balanced; lightly sweet malt up front; a little bready at mid-palate; lightly bitter on the long lasting finish;

M: medium bodied; low to moderate carbonation;

O: easy drinking;

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Photo of CHickman
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 review: on tap Fresh Chester Pale Ale pours hazy orange in color with a small white head that left great lacing that really sticks to the sides. Smells of floral hops, piney hops, caramel, sweet malt, citrus like grapefruit, grass or herbs and some yeast; nice floral aroma that smells like flowers. Tastes like it smells, with floral hops, piney hops, caramel, sweet malt, grapefruit, orange peel, grains, grass, light spices that give a little heat; very sweet beer that has a great balance between the malt and abundant hops, it's pretty tasty. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with very little carbonation and slick feel on the tongue with a semi-dry finish. Highly drinkable and extremely enjoyable, this beer was great on it's own and went well with dinner.

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Photo of seedyone
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%

03/20/13 At Rattle N Hum, NYC. On tap. A bit too bitter for my tastes. I'm hop shy, so it's no surprise. I'd say this is at the high end of the Pale Ale IBU scale. Not hair curling, but once was enough for me.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light golden brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, earthy hops and some citrus.

T: The taste starts out with a nice grassy burst of hops bitterness. Then some sweetness comes in from flavors of citrus and caramel. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a solid beer to pound down for a while.

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Photo of Brenden
4.49/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This pale ale is amber in color, deep, bright and clear with a tan head fully two fingers tall. It's a tight and dense foamy cream, very strong, that fully sheets the glass for the first couple inches and follows with heavy lacing. This is one of the most beautiful beers I've seen.
The aromatic bouquet coming out of this beer is strong, presenting fresh and oily hops with juicy citrus and a blend of sweetness and zest accompanied by honeyed biscuits.
I'm hit by fresh grapefruit right up front on the tongue, and this is a flavorful and well-hopped beer. There's some depth, too, as some more nuances come out regularly. The flavor is tropical and citrus fruit-driven with good balance from malts.
This firmly medium-bodied pale ale is crisp, smooth, clean and almost creamy as carbonation rolls on the palate. It seems to hit the exact median between sweet and dry. A bit of mineral develops on the very end as it goes.

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Photo of Gajo74
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Pours a lovely darker golden/amber color. Aroma contains hints of peaches. Mouthfeel is crisp and pleasant. Strong citrus taste with bitter grapefruit finish. Refreshing like a lighter beer but with more medium body. Overall this is a quality beer versatile enough to drink by itself or with a light meal.

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Photo of logicalparadox
2.25/5  rDev -41.9%

Did not dig this one. The maltiness is meant to balance the hops, but the brew misses the balance. Too malty for me, not quite sticky sweet, but sweeter than the rest of the beer is prepared to support. The hops are there: sappy, with a mostly pithy bitterness and slight pine background. Some orange blossoms and hints of various cirtus rind can be found. But, it didn't gel for me. Bitterness was high, but nevertheless overwhelmed by sweetness, tasting like grapefruit rinds covered in malt syrup. The rest of the beer fell flat for me and I was eager to be done with it.

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Photo of Glennlawless
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Darker orange-copper color. Poured a once inch frothy off white head. I smell a touch of hop presence but mainly a lot of sweeter caramel malt notes pushing the hops out of the way. getting a crazy amount of barley grainy stuff a touch of bud light. haha. smells good though. getting faint grassy hopes but this beer is suuuuper malty and sweet. not what i wanted since i like hop forward brews but this none the less is pretty tasty and could definitely drink one or two more. Nice creamy mouthfeel as well. It's a pretty solid beer but since I'm pro hop i wouldn't buy it again.

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Photo of Samp01
3.64/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden amber a large off white slowly fading head. Aroma of floral and citrus hops, caramel malt with some grass and grain notes. Taste same as aroma with mild hops bitterness. Palate is a medium body with moderate carbonation. Finish is sweet caramel, some grass and grain notes, fruity with floral citrus hops, has slightly tangy citrus aftertaste on the end. Overall a pretty solid brew for the style.

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Freshchester Pale Ale from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
3.87 out of 5 based on 601 ratings.
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