Pick Axe IPA | Tommyknocker Brewery

280 Reviews
Read the review
Pick Axe IPAPick Axe IPA

Brewed by:
Tommyknocker Brewery
Colorado, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly called "Pick Axe Pale Ale".

A classic American India Pale Ale dominated by pleasant hop bitterness and aroma. Dry hops impart unique aromas and flavors that add to the complexity of this ale. A blend of American hops melds into an award winning flavor that is our most popular draft in the pub.

Added by kbub6f on 12-14-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 280 | Ratings: 560
Photo of drtth
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a standard shaker glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a clear burnished copper/orange color with a ΒΌ" ivory head that recedes slowly leaving a ring of foam and spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Throughout most of the beer an interesting pattern of rings of foam and patches of lacing cling to sides of glass. For most of the beer sipping also leaves patterns of speckled lacing.

Smell: The aroma is fresh and clean with some citric character and with a fresh earthy/grassy character and traces of light caramel or toffee.

Taste: The flavor is predominantly tart and citric with lemon and orange zest, mingled with some spicy herbal character and even traces of pine. There is a nice sweet malt backbone that supports and blends together with the hops.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is light to medium bodied with a soft creamy character and with adequate persistent carbonation. The finish is moderately long with the dry bitterness supported by a persistent background malt backbone that provides a nice caramel/toffee sweetness through much of the finish.

Drinkability: This is a nice drinkable beer with lots of interesting characteristics from the combination of hops used and the sweetness of the malt that is always present and supports but does not dominate the hops. It seems a well made example of the style and I certainly could have another and will sample this one again next time I see it.

 1,487 characters

Photo of droomyster
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy dark orange with a small white head. Aroma has a big, bready, yeasty blast with a sharp, caramel sweetness with strong notes of freshly peeled oranges. All of this comes through on the palate but the overall effect on me is less than the sum of its parts because the are zesty to the point of overpowering the malts. The maltiness seems to out stronger as the beer warms. Would go well with bar food.

 415 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.06/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured golden color with decent white head. Nose is almost nonexistent. Taste has some light malt, not enough and some slight floral hops but pretty thin, astringent on the body. Mouthfeel is watery and thin. Will not try again or recommend to anyone.

 251 characters

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.59/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tommyknocker Pic Axe Pale pours a deep filtered amber body with a white head that dissipates somewhat quickly. The aromas are citrus and herbal hop characters. The flavor begin with caramel malt and immediately shift to the strong bitter hop flavors. Tea and herbal notes stick to the tongue. Maybe it is the warm weather, but this seems quite bitter for a pale ale. 6.5% seems a bit high too for this beer. The mouthfeel is medium with ample carbonation. Not a great pale ale, but a decent one nonetheless.

 507 characters

Photo of LittleDon
4.57/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cloudy dark golden with a fair amount of carbonation. No noticeable head (probably because of the pour or glassware) or head. Strong grapefruit aroma from the Cascade hops. Taste is similar to the aroma. Lots of citrus. Medium mouthfeel, nice bitter finish.

 257 characters

Photo of morimech
3.76/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a large off-white head that had great retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass surface. Does not smell much like an Englsh stle pale ale but very American. Heavy caramel, almost toasted malt aroma with some citrus hops. The flavor is sweet with the malt playing the biggest part. The hops add some citrus, pine, and herbal components. Medium body with a really nice, soft texture. Just enough carbonation so it is just above flat. A nice pale ale that I would drink again. Not really English as it lacks the awesome English hop aroma and flavor but good otherwise.

 651 characters

Photo of katan
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint

A - Pours a dark golden brown hue - a slight amount of hazing, but no yeast suspension. Head formation is quick, but light. Leaves behind a full film. Little carbonation bubbling.

S - A combination of light smoked british malts and some lightly aromatic, earthy british hops. Further smells indicate a strong nutty complement to the hops.

T - Starts off with a smooth and sweet malt flavor - light smokiness. Mid-stream develops some bitterness, but no direct hopping. That is saved for the strong aftertaste where a grassy hop edge comes through. Aftertaste is sweet.

M - Moderate body - clinging. Carbonation bite is non-existent. A bit of an oily texture in the aftertaste.

D - The full body has a downside, a somewhat filling beer. The calories in this thing must be fairly hefty. ABV is pretty potent as well.

 844 characters

Photo of Norfawkers
4.13/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A balanced complex beer that's good for sipping

Appearance: Cloudy, golden with little head and sufficient lacing

Smell: Hoppy, citrus, malt

Taste: Similar to an IPA with a hoppy kick followed by malt and finishing with a honey-wheat finish

Mouthfeel: Little bitterness towards the end but otherwise smooth with a lingering sweetness

Drinkability: Balanced; quite drinkable; a quality sipping beer

 402 characters

Photo of bonsreeb85
3.99/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - cloudy burnt orange body w/ a quickly vanishing head. not quite a looker, not bad though

S - citrus/floral hops, orange peel, pines and berries. apple esters also come through w/ some toffee/caramel malt hiding quietly behind the hops.

T - bittersweet upfront w/ hops and malts both adding a fruity yet floral and bitter taste. my taste buds also welcome the candied fruit that comes somewhere in the middle of this barage of flavor, before closing more on the bittersweet side of things. there is a definately buttery richness to it. I like this beer because it takes your traditional English pale, but turns the hops up a notch. cheers to that!

MF - low carbonation, medium body and a smooth mouthfeel

D - high abv for session, but after 1 I could definately go for a few more before i'm done and on to other things. delcious tasting, and flows down the throat rather easily, we have a winner!

 904 characters

Photo of BeerMark
4.1/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pick Axe Pale Ale from Tommyknocker Brewery pours a deep amber in my glass. I must say that this beer smells and tastes terrific. It's really nothing like an English Pale Ale to me. I'd call this one an APA. It's a very well balanced beer with citric overtones. My favorite brews are balanced with equal attention given to malts and hops. Very tasty and recommended. Hops and malts on the tongue at the same time.

 413 characters

Photo of KarlHungus
2.85/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a hazy orange-red color. The head is a half inch in height, and recedes rather quickly into a small cap of lacing. The aroma is a balance of grapefruit and caramel. The taste is balanced too, but the hop character seems a bit off. The mouthfeel is medium bodied low carbonation for the style. Overall, this is a poor example of an Pale Ale. I will not drink this again.

 385 characters

Photo of Natural510
3.97/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light orange-red color with soda-pop bubbles and a large, porous head which quickly dissipates into nothing much.
Fairly strong scent of oily, piney hops with an overall breaded quality. Inviting.
Malty, citric forefront with a decent hop kick. Hops are subtle and creep in later. Not overwhelming, but nicely balanced. Reminiscent of a British Pale Ale.
Crisp & creamy in the ale sense; goes down smooth with a nice twang from the hops.
At over 6% too strong to be a true "session" beer, but I'd definitely order another.

 530 characters

Photo of therica
3.32/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Bottle brewed one year ago this month, for reference)

A= dense opaque orange-amber, little head, some lacing.

S= nice aroma of bready malts, citrus florals.

T= too much grapefruit-rind sour bitterness for my preferences, although nice floral and citrus hops varieties but they just don't balance out; bready malts, occasional liquor taste. Some sweetness that's more of a contrast to the bitterness than a combined balance. It seems like good ideas that just haven't come together in a balanced whole in this Pale Ale.

M= very sour-bitter; a little sweetness on the tongue.

D= too unbalanced and sour-bitter for my interests but if I was drinking only this at a meal I probably wouldn't notice.

 700 characters

Photo of Beefeater57
3.24/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Burnt-orange/dark honey color. Very bubbly, carbonated. Cloudy. Thin clumpy off-white head with not much retention but lacing does stick to the glass.

S: Sugary citrus smell. Mandarin oranges, traces of peach. Fruity smell overall. Hops give it a slight floral smell.

T: Very sweet and tangy. Right away, I get the fruity flavors - orange, lemon, and a little bit of grapefruit. Drinks almost like a wheat ale. Hop bitterness washes over the tongue. It's noticeable but not strong. Hops are very earthy/grassy. Some acidity is there too, slight astringency. Get some metallic flavors on the tongue in the aftertaste.

M: For as carbonated as it looked, it felt rather flat. Metallic.

D: Didn't really enjoy this one. As mentioned before, drank kinda like a wheat ale with its mellow malt flavors, high citrus character and low hop amount. Would drink if offered or if bought in a sampler, but probably not buying again.

 925 characters

Photo of donteatpoop
3.84/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tons of head on this, foamed right the fuck up like I dropped a mento in a bottle of diet coke. Don't know what that was about, glass was cleaned without detergent or soap so it wasn't soap suds... Ah well, whatever. Cloudy amber color.

When I cracked the beer open it had a sweet citrus and hops aroma that wafted up to my nose without me having to put the old schnoz anywhere near it.

The taste has a nice hoppy presence up front, washed over by the vague citrus and finishing with a bite. Delightful.

 505 characters

Photo of Tone
4.15/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy, golden color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of hops, sweet malt, some sweetness, and slight lemon aroma. Fits the style of an English Pale Ale. Mouth feel is really smooth and slightly chewy with a high carbonation level. Tastes of strong hops, slight lemony zest, and a slight sweet malt background. No strong bitterness, but some dryness associated with this brew. Wow, this is a lot better than I remembered. It does have a lot more hops than I'm used to for an English Pale Ale, but that's alright by me.

 570 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this out of a bottle a couple years ago, and as I frequently find it tastes better on-tap. It pours a semi-opaque amber with a decent off-white head. Malty aroma has fruity and hoppy undertones. Lively flavor is mainly malty and rather hoppy but not too bitter, and has an evergreen tone and fruity hints. Sassy, lively texture makes this beer dance on the way down.

 372 characters

Photo of shivtim
4.07/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.
Crystal clear orange/amber, with a great bubbly, soapy eggshell head that leaves a nice ring.
Nose is west coast hops, slight pine sap and thin malts.
Taste is subdued but lingering resinous hops. Nice gentle good flavor. Mild floral accents. Good without being overdone.
Mouthfeel is great for the style. Slight dryness matched with creaminess.
Highly drinkable. Nice brew from Tommyknocker!

 418 characters

Photo of Voonder
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours copper color with huge foamy off-white head. Tons of lasing. Smell - sweet fruity pear-like, some citrusy note, bitter hoppiness, great stuff. Taste - fruitiness upront, then some grapefruit, spices and perhaps pine, finishes hoppy. Great tasting peer. Very smooth and easy to drink, would be an excellent session beer.

 325 characters

Photo of stockingcpl
3.76/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Upon pouring, this brew had a nice creamy thich head. The beer color is a coppery amber. Lacings are plentiful and surface head retention is high. Impressive.

Smell: A nice aromatic hop presence permiates the aroma signiture. Minor malt and alcohol presence detected. Aroma was light but relatively pleasant.

Taste: The flavor signiture of this brew is interesting. One can tell that there is a strong hop presence, however the hop flavor is not so strong as to overpower the palate. Malt presence is detected in mid flavor but dissipates prior to sustain. Enjoyable and interesting.

Mouthfeel: This selection is not oppressive to the palate. There is a lack of sharp alpha hop snap, but there is a hop bitterness. Perhaps the brewer is using aromatic as opposed to alpha hops??? Hmmm...in any case, the mouth feels relatively clean even after this high hop selection. This would be a good selection for a summer pool party.

Drinkability: This brew is a little heavy on the stomache....nothing to be alarmed about, but heavier than some beers. This would not be a good session selection, but it would be a god selection for hosting a party.


 1,171 characters

Photo of sonicdescent
3.86/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky gold/red with a very frothy two finger head that has some resilience.

Smells very citrusy with a hint of some kind of spice. Good but a bit weak.

Tastes..rather good. I can tell right off the bat this would be a hell of a session beer. Nothing offensive, but perhaps to a fault. The citrus hop smell comes to life here and is front and center, but not overpowering. A very balanced beer.

Mouth is thin/med with med/high carbonation. Good combo.

As said before, this is a nice easy drinker. Non-challenging, but since when does everything have to beat your palate into submission? Good stuff.

 610 characters

Photo of orangemoustache
3.97/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a heavily hazed orange that glows when back lit by sun light. The cap is a little on the small side, but leaves nice lacing as it drops to a inconsistent covering. The nose smells like pureed baby food,banana and citrus. The flavors are balanced for the most part, pretty hoppy and leaning a bit more in that direction than to the malt side. Citrus,grape fruit and sweet earthy green flavors round out the hop profile. The malts add a third dimension that keeps this from being overly hoppy if that's possible. For the style this is pretty hoppy and I don't mind at all. Seems nearly perfect as far as the mouthfeel, light for the hop bill and full on the malt end. Creamy and finishing sweet and clean,this is very pleasing to the tongue. Tommyknocker Pick Axe is not top notch, but it is damn close and for a style so broad Pick Axe is on the right track.

 863 characters

Photo of ncbeermonger
3.93/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours almost amber into my trusty Sam Adams beer glass

The smell of the saaz hops is the first to hit your nose.

The taste of an old time Pale Ale, not sour but almost

The mouthfeel is good, and crisp

This is a very drinkable Pale Ale, one worth checking out!

 263 characters

Photo of sjohansen
4.5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sticky icky lace, practically covers the pint glass. Small tightly packed bubbles forming an overflowing head. Cloudy dark reddish amber.

Great piney hop stink.

There's a nice sweet malt balance to the hop bite. But hops are definitely the headliner.

Lots of resiny oils cover the tongue in the best possibly way imaginable. Prickly carbonation. You could almost chew on it at times.

This review was pretty simple for me. Pick Axe is what it is... an extremely decent, drinkable EPA. Definitely a beer for hop heads. It's not a bomb, but definitely subdued the hop hound in me...

 583 characters

Photo of colts9016
3.6/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is golden with orange tinting. little to no head. The smell is citrus, hops, and yeast. The taste is very hoppy, clean with a bitter finish. It is similar to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I felt that this beer need a malt backbone so it can hold up to the hops in it.

 271 characters

Pick Axe IPA from Tommyknocker Brewery
3.51 out of 5 based on 560 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

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