Cream Ale | Empire Brewing Company - Brewpub

very good
20 Reviews
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Cream AleCream Ale

Brewed by:
Empire Brewing Company - Brewpub
New York, United States

Style: Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Empire Cream Ale is carbonated with nitrogen so it cascades as it pours. This golden pub style ale has an extremely smooth mouthfeel, and a crisp hop flavor.

Added by kkosmoski on 01-23-2009

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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 100
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A go-to for me from this brewery.

I enjoy cream ale's. I concidering them a rather underrated American beer.

This one is spot on style wise, light body, creamy malt aroma, feel and flavor , subtle marshmallow effect, wonderous, creamy, yet light feel.
A bit sweet, creamy with the most silly. Subtle hop charechter way down deep.
If beer was served at Carnivals and mid west style State Fairs, this should be on tap.

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Photo of seedyone
4.55/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On nitro at Rattle n Hum, NYC. A very pretty beer. Nice color & of course the nitro head stands tall. A cake of tiny pure white bubbles keeps things festive. Creamy as advertised & the taste is well balanced. Aftertaste lingers. All in all a real treat.

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Photo of logicalparadox
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on draught with nitro. What a treat.

Pour took a loooong time. The effervescence of the head just... oozed forth, unstoppably. The only remedy was time and patience. What met me in my glass when it was finally presented to me was light straw in color, with brass tones, and an impressive head. 3-4 fingers of the most unctuous, succulent, souffle of a head that I've possibly ever seen. Resembles a mousse, and has the texture and structure of whipped cream. And so it stays. For a long, long time. Mmmmm.

The nose has a clean, and characteristic profile. If there are hops in this beer, they are so well integrated in support of the malts that it's difficult to find the individual notes in the medley. I like that.

The flavor is spot on: clean, rich, while being every so slightly crisp. A bit of toast and cracker, meld together into the overall doughiness. I dare say, if "pretzel" was a flavor unto itself, that would describe this beer fairly well (minus the salt, of course).

Mouthfeel is, for once, the star in this show. To call this beer creamy would not just be a tautology, but an understatement. It gives the impression of some kind of heavenly emulsion or perhaps a mousse or perhaps just whipped cream beaten to soft peaks. So very succulent and smooth, with such a find texture. A pure treat.

Overall, I could call this a dessert in a glass, but it's not that rich. It's light and yet decadent, just like the whipped cream which I've been comparing it to since my first sip. A treat to be sure, but a treat that you can gobble up without overloading your senses... just savor every sip, from the first, to several pints later.

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Photo of Budinetz
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on nitro tap at Eataly is NYC. Great looking beer in a pint glass with a nice creamy head from the nitro pour. Not a whole lot of aromatics but it tastes delicious! Awesome drinkablility at 5.2% and a great session beer with a nice hop bite.

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Photo of tjscott
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

This beer got me on the second date. The rich clingy head is the first thing that gets your attention. Nothing in the odor that entices or turns you away, but it has a spectacular mouth feel, great flavor... Smooth drinking, a bit hoppy, maybe a little citrus and virtually no aftertaste. An easy drinking session that sneaks up on you. My new go to.

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Photo of Brenden
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

On nitro; I guess this is always the case (?)

This cream ale is a pale-medium yellow. It has an exceptionally dense, creamy head that's bone white. It sits heavy at one finger and doesn't move much at all. As the beer drops down the glass, the head sets down lots and lots of creamy lacing.
The aroma is malty, some sweetness to it but leaning dry. It's a good aroma, but nothing stands out.
The flavor, on the other hand, as well as the feel, are what this beer is all about. It's creamy smooth on the tongue with a lighter graininess than many lesser versions, enough malts to lay a base, outstandingly balanced and flavor with hops that give a soft, stemmy bitterness. This one ranks up there with some of the best cream ales I've yet tasted.
If the point of a cream ale is to taste and feel creamy, this one might exceed all. This may be the creamiest and smoothest beer I've ever had; by recollection, it's certainly at the top of the list.
I can't drink this without saying that someone who doesn't like this beer doesn't like cream ales.

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Photo of DuaneL
4.75/5  rDev +26%

I would echo kkosmoski who said:

It is fresh, clean, well-brewed, and displays an amazing delicate malt character, not to mention the great nitro feel. This beer was nailed!

Only diff - I gave it a higher rating!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

perhaps the best cream ale I have encountered. on the nitro tap at blue tusk. it pours a cascading deep honey color with a lavish white head as thick as they come. perfect ring lacing behind in my schooner after every sip. the nose is rather subtle, a blend of malts on the lighter end of the spectrum, and a prominent English smelling ale yeast. I feel this before I taste it, smooth and refined, clean and bright, exceptional mouthfeel. the taste is just a peg less exciting. a straightforward light malt beer, very fresh, with just enough hops to keep it a beer. slight sweetness as it finishes, but a mute bready swallow is what is best describes this brew. maybe empires best offering. id like to see more of the cream ale style around. also, the nitro tap is the absolutely perfect format for a beer like this. great all year round, one of my new favorite Syracuse sessions.

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Photo of ChrisKayler
3.14/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Golden, clear as crystal. Thick 2 finger head of creamy, dense, white head. A truly gorgeous looking beer.

Smell: Not too much going on here. Light wheat smell, tiniest bit of hops. Maybe a bit of corn.

Taste: Weird soapy taste. Ugh. Otherwise, bready, corn, sweet in aftertaste with a slight bitterness. The soap, though!

Mouthfeel: The complete opposite of the taste. A damn masterpiece. Light body with medium carbonation and SMOOOVEEE Creaminess. Super, super, awesome.

Overall: If only the taste was as good as the mouthfeel. Honestly, this one is still worth trying just for the smooth feeling it gives. But, alas, I can't get past that weird soapy flavor. For the record, no, the glass was not dirty with soap!

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Valhalla in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear medium golden yellow in color with a light amount of carbonation and some medium yellow highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy off-white head that very slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of bready malts with just the slightest hint of sweetness.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of sweetness from the bready malts which fades into a light amount of bitterness from some lightly grassy hops.

M: Light bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O: Easy to drink and sessionable, a great beer for a hot muggy summer day.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

From 02/22/13 notes. Had this on tap at a bar right next door to Houston Hall in NYC; forget the name. Served in a pint glass.

a - Pours a murky medium orange color with one finger of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, fruity malts, tropical fruits, bready malts, toasted malts, floral hops. Nice and fruity, with lots of citrus.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, fruity malts, vanilla, roasted malts, burnt malts, and toasted malts. Less fruit here, but still quite nice.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Body is super smooth creamy; really awesome mouthfeel. They nailed it for the style.

o - Overall a pretty solid cream ale. Nice citrus and fruit in the nose and very malty taste, with an amazing mouthfeel. Would have it again.

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Photo of soju6
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nitro-tap at Maggies On The River in Watertown, NY.

A: Served a golden color witha head that slowly fades to nice lacing.

S: Mild aroma of bread, eith some malt sweetness and bit of fresh grain.

T: Mild flavor of fresh grain, a muted sweetness and a trace of bitterness to a clean finish.

F: Fairly light body, smooth and creamy.

O: Very easy drinker, could pass for a good session beer. Nice for the style. A bit more flavor would have brought it home. Worth a try.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on nitro-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY on 5/27/11.
Review taken from notes.

A - This beer pours a clear golden color. It has a small creamy white head on it. The head has decent retention, and it leaves some specs of lacing behind on the glass.

S - It smells of light grains and has a mild hop presence. Not much more than that.

T - It tastes of light grains and has a mild hop presence to it. There is a nice sweet backbone to it. The finish leaves some lingering bitterness on the palate.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation. it goes down smooth, and has a creamy feel to it. There is some lingering bitterness in the finish.

O - This has decent drinkability. It is really creamy and it goes down quite easily. I think it being nitro-tapped really enhanced the creaminess. It isn't the most flavorful beer, but its pretty good for the style.

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Photo of metter98
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear yellow in color and poured with a thin creamy white head that slowly dissipated and left lacing down the edges of the glass. No signs of carbonation are visible.
S: There are aromas of bready malts in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell; the initial taste has some hints of sweetness and the finish has a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels light-bodied and very creamy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and is also very sessionable.

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Photo of david18
3.12/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this at the new Taproom 307 in New York City, which will ultimately be one of the top beer bars in the area. I thought a cream ale is typically a lager brewed with ale yeast. Adding nitro would definitely enhance the cream effect, and it did. Unfortunately for me I missed the bite that one typically gets from CO2.

The beer pours with a typical waterfall cream effect and then settles into a cloudy light copper/dark straw color.

Aroma is somewhat bready, almost like an English ale. Not much hops to speak of.

Flavor is also bready, a little heavy on the palate and, again, not much hop or carbonation bite.

The beer is pretty drinkable but not really what I like. If you like cream ales or nitro beers you should try it.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After the standard nitro-waterfall effect that comes from the pour, the body of Empire Cream Ale settles into a clear yellow color with a creamy white head. The lacing is of course very good.

The aroma is bready and sweet, dominated by pilsner malt.

The flavor, like the aroma, is dominate by the malt. A wave of sweet malt is followed by the bready pilsner malt. One thing the flavor has that the aroma lacks is a pretty good kick from the hops, which I enjoy.

Mouthfeel is big and smooth from the nitrogen.

Empire made a pretty good cream ale with this one, it certainly did not take long to get through.

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Photo of halo21
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: The golden, nitro fueled beer was poured into a pint glass on tap in the brewpub, releasing micro bubbles that cascaded to the top, forming a thick, heavy, creamy head, that lasted the whole pint, and then coated the bottom when done.

Smell: Very light smelling; mild sweet malts, with a little yeast.

Taste: Mild and sweet. To me, this is how an American cream ale should be. The flavor almost takes a back seat to the mouthfeel and drinkability of the beer. Not that they should forgo flavor, just in terms of the dominating characteristic. I think this beer has the perfect balance of flavors and size.

Mouthfeel:Creamy and big, but light. Almost like a meringue would be. Fills your mouth with this airy whipped texture.

Drinkability/Palitability:High; this is a session beer. One went down easy as can be; I can drink nitro beer one right after another. The CO2 does not set well with me.

Notes: This is a perfect example of an American Cream Ale to me. Where something like Genesee Cream Ale falls short, this brew covers; "mouthfeel THEN flavor", rather than "slightly more interesting mouthfeel than mainstream beers, with the same flavor." I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of WesWes
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a beautiful pale gold color with a creamy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a light pilsner malt scent as well as some mild hop bitterness as well. It has a touch of malt sweetness. The taste is decent. Again, it has a light, easy drinking pilsner malt flavor as well as a good shot of hops. It seems as though it's a bit too hoppy for the style. The mouthfeel is fine. It's a low/medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an easy drinker. I can't help thinking that this is their Skinny Atlas Light brewed with ale yeast.

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Photo of tempest
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewpub for $5 a pint. Appeared to be served on nitro with a tall white head that slowly faded into a clear blonde body. This is a simple and well-made cream ale, a real throw-back session ale. It just has a light bready character with a touch of earthy salt and pepper. The aroma is a little dusty, but this is a respectable brew.

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Photo of kkosmoski
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The nitro pour takes quite a long time to rise and settle into an extremely dense and silky white head. It looks more like a thick layer of homemade whipped cream on top of the beer rather than bubbly foam. Big clumps of lace stick to the sides of the glass on the way down. The beer color is a clear golden. Aroma is pretty faint and clean with notes of light biscuit and cereal grain. Flavor starts out with a light and delicate malt profile including biscuit and light bread. A slightly metallic bitterness pokes through midway, followed by light candi sugar and a soft grainy finish. Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth carbonation. The beer is easy to drink with a great delicate and pronounced malt profile, moderate alcohol content, and clean character.

To me, this beer characterizes what brew pubs are all about - experimenting with beer styles that are not run of the mill, and brewing them well. I wouldn't have expected that I could feel this way about a cream ale, but this beer is awesome. It is fresh, clean, well-brewed, and displays an amazing delicate malt character, not to mention the great nitro feel. This beer was nailed!

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Cream Ale from Empire Brewing Company - Brewpub
3.77 out of 5 based on 100 ratings.
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