California Ale | Telegraph Brewing Company

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65 Reviews
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California AleCalifornia Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Telegraph Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Telegraph California Ale is our flagship beer and is our interpretation of the unique ales that were commonly brewed up and down the West Coast in the 19th century. It is an unfiltered medium-bodied beer, with a rich amber color and a rocky, white head. The beer is crafted using domestic American ingredients and fermented with a unique yeast strain that accentuates the hoppy spiciness, while also imparting fruity and subtly tart flavors. The aromas are spicy and earthy, reminiscent of the rich agricultural valleys surrounding Santa Barbara.

Added by SBPCGuru on 03-15-2006

BEER STATS
Reviews:
65
Ratings:
131
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
22.88%
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
23
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 131
Photo of ELDAVIS69
4.77/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is probably one of my favorite Telegraph beers. 750ml poured into my super classy HOTD tulip, the beer pours an intense amber hue with great head retention. Smell is that of yeast & honey with a dash of farm animal. Taste is superb I'm diggin the yeasty spiciness/funk, overall a damn good beer from an under appreciated local brewery.

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Photo of SBPCGuru
4.5/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer out of a growler at the brewery on 5/19/06 for a tasting party.

Color is dark caramel. Flavorful and delicious beer. Medium carbonation makes a great mouthfeel. Medium head retention with slight lacing down the glass. Very well balanced (malt & hops) beer. Would drink again for sure.

This beer fits the Amber Ale / Siason category and is not your ordinary beer by any means. This says a lot since I have sampled over 200+ beers from local and global breweries. When I find a beer that impresses me, I let everyone know it. Take my guidance and try this beer on draft or pickup a growler at the brewery.

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Photo of SBBeer
4.34/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Let me start off by saying this beer is a staple in my quiver. While mentioned repeatedly as a saison, it has a much maltier character then your typical farmhouse ale.

This one of those beers that you need to get to know. At first it may seem a bit strange in that it doesn't clearly remind you of a beer you know. In the same vein at first look it appears to be a brown ale with a thin white head. After your taste you quickly realize it is nothing like a brown ale but instead fits smewhere in the belgian world

After one or two you can really appreciate the subtle characteristics of this fine beverage. I highly recommend this beer and a trip to the brewery will make your SB trip.

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Photo of sloejams
4.3/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer now several times and each time I find myself enjoying it more. My brother now lives in Santa Barbara; so one fine sunny afternoon while visiting him, we biked over to the Telegraph Brewery. It's a small operation that offers tastings - I definitely recommend swinging by if in SB.

Since then I've been seeing their quality beers popping up throughout Los Angeles and more often than not - it's this one.

It's darker and a bit maltier than a traditional saison. In fact, there's no indication by Telegraph themselves that this is a saison. The rest of the elements certainly suggest it though. It has the pepper and citrus tones. A flavor that is quite complex but enjoyed so simply. The malty edge Telegraph infuses will probably be a bit confusing initially - for me the first two times I've tried it. But it warms up to you and you can easily see how this helps it transcend to a be a beer that can be enjoyed all year round.

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Photo of Grnmnstr
4.28/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beautiful ale from a tremendous shop. I highly recommend it, and it's brothers and sisters from this special little place in Santa Barbara.

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Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ML from the San Luis Obispo BevMo.

Near clear amber colored ale with a tall off-white to tan colored head that dissipates fairly fast. Quite dark for a beer in the Saison category. Amber might be generous and maybe I ought to be calling this a brown colored beer. But there is a bit too much orange in there to really call it brown.

The smell is a little sweet and spicy with the flowery aroma that you would expect from a beer of this type. Quite spicy for this beer type and much more like a Belgian pale in this respect. Lots of pepper and a little cinnamon and coriander.

The taste begins dry and quite spicy and a little bitter. Quite a smack in the mouth taste-wise this is certainly no mild and subtle beer this really gets your attention. Dry and peppery and solidly bitter this isn't a Saison with lots of subtle flavors this is the type that stuns you mouth with the power of it. Definitely at the extreme end of Saison flavor.

The mouthfeel is rather thick for the style.

Drinkability is always subjective to the drinker but for this beer it will be more so. Very powerfully flavored this is comparable to Imperial IPA in its flavor intensity. I would have to call this an extreme beer and the strongest flavored Saison I have ever tasted. If you want a mild flowery beer then THIS is NOT the beer for you. I you like EXTREME beers then this IS a beer for you.

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Photo of bbb099
4.2/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared w/ mjyoung

A - Cloudy copper color with foamy, white colored head.

S - Dominated by fruity aroma with citrus hops and toasted grains smell on the side.

T - Mild flavors of yeast, cereal, and sweet malt. Ends on a slightly hoppy note. More flavorful than the well known Anchor Steam.

M - High amount of carbonation. Medium bodied. Not bad at all.

O - One of the better California commons out there. Definitely recommend a try.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.19/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle,

A: Pours amber with a frothy almost gushing white head, fair retention.

S: Yeasty white pepper, almost Bretty, hay.

T: Candied oranges, rum, tangerine. Yeasty, rustic flavour. Saison like for sure.

M: Nice full carbonation, but not over the top. Full-bodied, crisp.

D: An intriguing beer. Very tasty, another winner from Telegraph. I don't know why it is listed as a Common, it's an ale and Telegraph says it's in the farmhouse style. Whatever its true style it's good stuff.

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Photo of rallison
4.18/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Z's Taphouse in Goleta. Served in a 20 ounce hefeweizen style glass. Served a bit too cold, although not as cold as some places do...at least the glasses weren't chilled. Thank you Z's.

A: Nice semi-cloudy brown/red color with a 1/4" white head that stays as lacing throughout the whole session.

S: This was the only area that was not too impressive. Picked up some standard maltiness, nothing out of the ordinary here.

T: Interesting. That is my first impression. It really is an amber meets a saison, like other people have said. And this exact description was used by me while drinking it, only to come on here and see that as a common thread. But it's quite true. You get a good amber ale basically in the malt bill, but then get just a hint of the funky characteristics of belgian saison yeasts plus a nice spiciness. It really is a nice combo. And it's perfectly balanced, with just the right amount of carbonation. If more ambers had these extra characteristics, I'd be drinking a lot more ambers!

M: Very good. Body is consistent with the good amber ales.

D: Definitely very good. The perfect balance of this beer keeps it very sessionable. Extremely drinkable.

I know this beer is very local, but I'm glad to see another Santa Barbara brewer doing some interesting things. I'm really looking forward to trying their porter. I have high hopes based on this beer and the reviews for the porter. I'd recommend giving this a try if you come through the Santa Barbara County region. Or trade for a bottle, as these are bottled (distribution is extremely limited though).

So yes, recommended.

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Photo of ILikeGoodCider
4.12/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on Saturday, 2/7/09 in Camarillo, CA.

Served in a 16oz pint glass. Served at nice temp. I ordered a seared ahi tuna app to compliment.

A: Quasi-cloudy reddish-brown color w/ a 1/4" white head. Lacing throughout.

S: This was the only dissappointment, really. Not much to be had here.

T: Is it an amber? Is it a saison? amber/saison? As this is my favorite style, it startled me. Amber, malt, spice - a nice combination. Well-balanced. Carb was good. Imagine if more ambers took a page out of this book...

M: An amber consistency. Wonderful on the palate.

D: Strong drinkability. A session beer through-and-through. If JJ Brewsky's didn't have so many delicious selections, this would definitely have been ordered again (& again)!

Let me know if you want to trade. These folks are very limited on distro. Well-recommended!

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Photo of crwills
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasting at biegaman's place with grub, viggo, lexx, blankboy (RB), and tupalev (RB). I didn't write down who brought what, unfortunately, so thanks everyone!

Poured a mildly cloudy brown with no head at all -- but still looks very nice, great colour! Aroma is floral hops and a slightly sour tinge, and the flavour carries this excellently. Funky saison aroma, more hops in the flavour than I'd expect, but the uniqueness made it great. Bitter, crisp aftertaste.

My highest rated beer of the tasting! Good stuff!

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Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprising beer. Pours clear copper with a big white head. Spicy hop and malt nose; akin to a Sierra Nevada. The taste is very smooth. Sweet malt and crisp hops, nice balance of citrus and resin, with a very distinctive finish. Sour, funky, bretty, and delicious. Its like a Flemish take on an APA. Neither overrun the other, but instead bring out the best in both.

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Photo of MiScusi
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica, CA. Poured light brown and had lots of earthy and spicy character to it. Thought there was quite a resemblance to the Russian River Perdition I had earlier. Carbonation was very lively and on the higher side. I have to go with an all around good for this beer because I think it could be an exceptional one to start a night out with. I will need to sample this again to pick up it's nuances.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very big thanks to a kind CA trader who sent me a bunch of these new beers to try. I was intriqued to say the least and dove into this one right first. Served chilled and poured into an oversized wine glass, this one was consumed on 12/22/2008.

The pour was very nice with a rich copper color coming through right away. Nice clarity to it really let the color shine through quite nicely. A small white head of foam rose up but quickly settled down into a light broken crown.

The aroma was very intresting I have to say. Rich notes of citrus hops, some light sour fruits and an abundance of grain notes. Carried over well into the flavor which I can only akin to a nice california steam beer with brett, super friggin cool. Smooth, mellow carbonation and a light body left this one with a nice clean taste to it. Very nice beer that was sippable despite low abv.

Overall I have to say this was a very nicely done beer. One of the most interesting light beers I have had and something of an enigma I have to say. Solid through and through and very much recommended.

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Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at biegaman's super extravaganza spring Saison tasting! Biegaman cracked this one open.

Pours a cloudy orange/brown, thin off white head, lace spots, settles to a thin layer, head lasts. Smell is neat, sweet, honey, bit of funk, sour fruity middle, citrus/lemons, kind of yeasty. Taste is similar, malty, wheat, citrus, sourness, floral and fruit, bit of vanilla, yeast and fruits in the finish, decent complexity, flavours work well together. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation, good drink, easy to put down and refreshing for the heat. Thanks Jan!

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Photo of bulletrain76
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draught at the brewery. Clear orange color with a white head. Fruity and tart aroma with some spice and herbal hops. The flavor is dry and tart, but has a nice malt backbone supporting it. Really clean tasting. Unique and flavorful is the best way to describe it. Nice stuff, and I can;t wait to try it again.

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Photo of Offa
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice Belgian-style pale ale with good complexity. I didn't know it was a Belgian-style when I had it, but I clearly noticed Belgian characteristics once I smelled and tasted it.

SLightly hazy bronze amber, it has a small airy off-white head soon thinning to small foamy ring & wisps.

Aroma is yeasty, fruity with plums, wet bread, earth.

Taste is yeasty, zesty, juicy with dry bread and grain, light fruity sweetness with turned plums, light peppery-spicy-earthy bitterness with hint of wood.

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Photo of RaulMatisse
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In the interest of full disclosure, I once called Santa Barbara home and am rightfully stoked to have a grassroots craft brewer in the area.

With that being said, we begin...

Enjoyed on tap on-site at Telegraph. The brewer (sorry, I've forgotten your name) explained that he was particularly impressed with this batch.

A :: Deep, unfiltered apple juice.

S :: Spiced cider and candied sweet potatoes. Swirl your Telegraph tulip and you'll be presented with orange peels, cinnamon, and cloves.

T :: Belgian candi sugar on the nose, followed by a quick, sharp hop bite, all mellowed by citrusy Belgian yeast. A long finish is complimented by maple syrup and sweet starches. 

D :: The modest ABV allows me to ride away swiftly on my bicycle to mercury lounge (great Belgian selection). As an aside, California Ale reminds me of a lighter version of The Bruery's Autumn Maple. But, to the task at hand, I'd quickly return to this ale as a highly quaffable and throughly enjoyable California/Belgian hybrid (unsure why it is classified as a steam beer on BA).

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Photo of weazal
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

SMELL: Overwhelmingly bright, pretty sweet tangerine aroma. Reminds me of a Belgium Triple.

TASTE: Mmm, nice full soft mouthfeel with a tangy, bright nature. A bit dry finish makes for a clean, yet not to quick tasting. Fun and a bit sour. Easy, flavorful, and drinkable. A good introductory "good" beer.

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Photo of RichardWalter
3.89/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours tall. My glass was cold. Full pint glass with a little bit of lacey white foam that stays on the glass during the drink. Lighter reddish brown color. Opaque. No noticeable aroma.
Tastes full, hops, earthey, citrusy, hint of orange. Mouthfeel was also full with carbonation.
Great with fish tacos.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Field Of Drafts held at The Hanger in Lancaster, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and caramel flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Telegraph California Ale has a hazy gold to yellow body with a small white head. Retention and lacing are both ok.

Interesting aroma. Some citrus hops, pale malt and a little bit of brett.

I've heard of Telegraph brewing before, but I knew nothing about this beer when I ordered it at a small beach-side bar. Based on the name I assumed it was a steam beer, and it had some steam characteristics, but it also has similarities to a Belgian Saison. The strongest flavor is the musty, horsey flavor of brett, which also makes this beer extremely dry. I like the brett, it was a pleasant surprise, and it is there in just the right dose. Besides the brett there is a little bit of lightly tart fruit, a light, pale malt backbone and just a little nip of citrus and bitterness from the hops.

Bone dry with fairly active carbonation.

This beer doesn't really fit into any style guidelines, but it was definitely enjoyable.

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Photo of dcscientist
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit - not a style I've had a lot of, but one that I would continue to explore if this beer is representative. Didn't get a very strong smell, but the taste was very pleasant and smooth. Got some of the spiciness advertised in the description but there was enough malt in there to balance it out nicely. I could see this being very popular in the local area.

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Photo of megahurts4
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Telegraph California Ale

Appearance: amber, huge head, some nice lacing.

Smell: yeast, grain, and malty hop.

Taste: mild yeast, a maltiness, mineral water, and a light sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium-light and smooth.

Overall:
This is a decent brew. It is nicely crafted but has a potent mineral water flavor. It seems to mask most of the other nice flavors unfortunately.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours quite clear and has a amber hue. A super tall white head sits atop a massively carbonated brew. The white foamy cap doesn't fade but instead grows, now thats a carbonated beer.
Aroma is malty with a tad of spice and yeast.
Taste is dry with some caramel malts. Hop profile here is low with not much flavor although there is some bitterness. Towards the end I can pick p some grains or bread and biscuits. I found this beer to be extremly over carbonated, perhaps to much sugar, that produced way too much foam. There was an easy three fingers worth the whole time. I think it taste good on the whole and by reading other reviews I'll put this in the rereview list and check at a latter date.

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California Ale from Telegraph Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 131 ratings.
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