Pale Ale | Santa Fe Brewing Company

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Pale AlePale Ale

Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company
New Mexico, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Anything but a typical American Pale, Santa Fe Pale Ale is as full bodied as its most robust English counterparts, while asserting its American origin with a healthy nose resplendent with Cascade and Willamette hops. It finishes with a well-balanced combination of the subtle, almost Pilsner-like maltiness accentuated by the German yeast used to brew this Santa Fe classic, and a hop bite sufficient to leave a lingering smile on the face of any fan of American Pale Ales.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-03-2002

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Reviews: 135 | Ratings: 259
Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.6/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Man I love this beer -- one of my all time favorite session beers. I've been in Santa Fe all summer drinking this stuff (and some other very good Santa Fe Brewing ales), and I just opened up a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: I prefer the Santa Fe -- more interesting character and much more flavor. Sierra Nevada is another one of my favorites, but the Santa Fe is awesome! I'm buying a few cases ($20 a case) and driving them back to NY and I can't wait to show more people this beer.

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Photo of Bobikel
4.13/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pourd a cloudy amber with little bits of yeast floating around. Didn't realise this was bottle conditioned. A smooth head built up to around 1 inch and slowly receded leaving gobs of lace in its wake.

Smell - Bitter/soapy hops dominate, with just a touch of maltiness underlying. Almost lager like?

Taste - A delicate dance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness forms quite quickly, with the hops winning just after swallow. Piney, earthy, and quite good.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with a prickly carbonation.

Drinkability - This was a nice addition to my local liquor store, it is very drinkable and highly refreshing.

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Photo of beeritron
4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big, off-white foamy head starts off Santa Fe Pale Ale. The color is a medium copper that is slightly hazy with a noticeable effervescence. The foamy head diminishes slowly leaving immediate lacing at the top of the glass. A fresh hop smell with notes of citrus and pine is apparent, as well as a slight malt aroma. A minimal yeast smell is apparent, as well. The first sip of this beer leaves foam on the upper lip and is sweet with hints of grapefruit. A nice bitterness works well with the maltiness to create a nice haromony of ingredients. As the beer is drunk, the head stays around leaving heavy lacing on the inside of the glass. There is also a rye taste just after the swallow. Santa Fe Pale Ale has a medium mouthfeel with an assertive carbonation level. Drinkability is good. I really like this pale ale. It is a very good representation of the style.

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Photo of Realale
4.07/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear medium gold, with a touch of bronze. Bright white fine head settles to a thin cap.

Nice slightly fruity juicy hops lead the nose, with a good underlayment of citrus. The malt is apparent, and firmly in the cracker department, with a touch of biscuit. Everything is well-balanced, with the hops taking an appropriate leading role.

Well balanced again in the mouth, where the juicyness of the hops flavors blends very well with the malt. Nice length, finishing with a good snap of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is okay, with sufficient richness to balance the bitterness. Very drinkable, and an excellent companion to the local chile-rich cuisine. I drank a ton of this during my visit to Santa Fe.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a very hazy dark copper brown body with an orange glow of light at the base of the glass. There is a light tan head that is lumpy with some brown spots, possibly trub, floating on top. There is a strong carbonation of bubbles supporting it.

S- The green grassy smell of herbal hops is mixed in with a lightly toasted malt aroma that has a slight sweetness. There is a soft mint quality to the hops which is nice.

T- The sweetness of caramel has hints of biscuit malt in the background. There is a green grassy hop finish with some orange hard candy notes to it. Not much bitterness at all.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slightly creamy texture and a clean finish.

D- The malt flavors are stronger than the hops flavors but they both have good flavor. This beer has some nice subtle twist to the hops but they are still pretty muted.

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Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of my brother-in-law and his trip to Lincoln, NE.

A - Poured out a clear, amber color with a good deal of carbonation and a bubbly, off-white, two-finger head.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and grasses. Also, some floral notes.

T - It tasted of citrus and roasted malt. The hops provided some nice bitterness.

M - It was crisp and quite sharp. Medium-bodied and easy drinking.

D - This is a nice APA. I really enjoyed my first beer from New Mexico.

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Photo of Spider889
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First beer I had when I made my trip out to NM earlier this year. A classic pale ale with some West Coast influence.

Nice golden color, very clear and well carbonated.

Smells of crisp, clean hops. not much malt in the nose.
The taste is much the same. Reminds me of the hoppy, light bodied west coast IPA's. Lots of dry piney bitterness.

Easy drinking, this one is very sessionable, even if not particularly unique or captivating. In the heat of the desert, I'd be drinking this frequently.

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Photo of crookedhalo
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amberish copper color with a nice thicket of beige colored foam. Little bit of floaters. Sediment left in the bottle. Smells about as hoppy as an IPA, but the hop character is sweeter. Tastes rather sweet, too. Sweetened iced tea maltiness with a good hop profile. Very drinkable. Glad my friend shared a lot of what he brought back from a road trip.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle, served in a chalice glass. Pours a brownish amber color, quite hazy, though with a nice fluffy head and moderate lacing. Malty, nutty aroma with pine-resin hop notes. Bread-like malt flavor initially, with just on the high side of moderate bitterness, but lots of hops flavor, resinous & earthy. Finishes with a clean maltiness. Texture is creamy and smooth.

More of a British pale ale than American, with a good malt profile and restrained bitterness. Not bad.

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Photo of endincolorado
3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, amber with two fingers of fizzy, off-white head that settles quickly. Lots of lacing left behind.

Hoppy fruitiness up front with some citrus and a pale malt to balance.

Flavor is an excellent balance of pale malt, some caramel, and a more-than-adequate hop presence with sweet-orangey fruit.

Medium-bodied with adequate carbonation.

A very drinkable beer- pairs well with barbecue and salad. Refreshing and satisfying.

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Photo of weltywm
3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle.

Appearance: Light yellow with about 1/2 finger of white head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell: Biscuit and light citrus. Maybe banana or some other faint fruit.

Taste: Very grainy and biscuit-y, with a slight hint of banana, or maybe even bubblegum? It reminds me a bit of a hefeweizen. All balanced out by some yeast and spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, crisp finish, and actually a fairly long finish.

Overall: This really doesn't drink like a Pale Ale to me; more like a Belgian ale. But, that being said, it's still pretty darn good, and seems sessionable.

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Photo of Spineypanda
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To me this is a strange pale ale. It has all the characteristics of maybe Sierra Nevada, but the taste is different.

Has a darker golden color to it, a little cloudy. A head that dissipates quickly but leaves considerable lacing.

Smells of hops and a little sweetness, but not a whole lot.
Tastes like I ate a hop! Not as bitter as some of the most hoppy beers, but definitely the taste of what I imagined a hop to taste like. Refreshing but leaves just enough of that taste in my mouth that I would not mind having another.

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Photo of J_T_Arlington
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks Cloudy Bronze.

Smells light and toasty.

Neutral, hoppy, malty.

Smooth, but a little foamy.

I didn't think I liked this beer the first time I tried it, but I seem to keep coming back to it.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours from 12oz bottle a clear medium gold with a medium sized head of foam that shrinks slowly but hangs around as a solid layer for the entire session and it has some good lacing.

The smell is a delicate hoppy. I get notes of grapefruit.

The taste on first sip has a grassy flavour to it with just a hint of the grapefruit I noted in the nose. Further sips in and more of the same with *some* malt sweetness and graininess and even some honey in the background giving this Pale Ale some good balance and the mouthfeel is quite good. Pretty good stuff, I'd say.

The finish is on the dry side and it has a nice aftertaste. Solid example of the style, in my book.

I just poured the last bit from the bottle and now, it takes on a cloudy appearance(there was some sediment at the bottom) and the taste shifts a bit more to the malty side and that just adds to my appreciation of this Ale. Yum.

Bottom line: A darn good Pale Ale that fans of the style should find tasty enough to warrant a repurchase.. I'd buy it again, no question about it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a way underrated pale ale. pours clear but thick, polleny honey colored with an average white head. the nose is a balanced beer, caramunich malt smell, and west coast hops. the flavor is more hoppy than the nose, with plenty of fruity esters as well. a floral hop profile and a touch of orange. mouthfeel is good, maybe a little heavy in the summer, but this is mid october and its full body is just right. good carbonation keeps it moving, and this is an easy sixpack. one of the better main line beers from santa fe.

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Photo of orsulacp
3.87/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at their brewpub in Santa Fe. It looked nice, a cloudy copper color with a nice white head. The nose was nice; a citrus hop at first then sweet molasses-like malt. The flavor is a bit more on the sweet malty side, but there is a nice citrus hop flavor and a slight piney bitter bite at the end. It has a medium-light body, with good carbonation. This is one of the better APA's I've had. Looking at the other reviews I think getting this at the source is the way to go.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.86/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Notes only uses water, malted barley, whole flower hops and yeast. No other helpful info like a date or abv. The website lists:
Availability: year round
Starting Gravity: 14 degrees Plato
Ending Gravity: 3.5 degrees Plato
Malts: 2-row pale, 30-37 l. Carastan, 70-80 l.Crystal
Hops: Cluster, Crystal, Willamette, Cascade
Yeast: House Ale
Alcohol Content: 5.5%

Aroma: Cotton candy sweetness in the base with a firm floral hop. I thought I got a whiff of Fuggles, but guess I was mistaken. The blend made me feel slightly better about missing it.

Appearance: Deep orange/amber with good clarity. A slightly orange tinged frothy finger of head clung tightly and left very respectable lacing.

Flavor: Balanced, but in such a way as to cancel out flavors rather than compliment them. A mild bittering hop wins out in the end. The flavor has a light orange blossom note and a slight metallic edge that fades as a good hop flavor comes on stronger as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Light and dry with full carbonation.

Overall Impression: Good session beer! Clean, balanced if a bit simple. An honest beer worth a try. Glad to see it in Texas. Picked it up at Grapevine Market in Austin.

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Photo of mmciz
3.86/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had some great samples from Sante Fe at Phoenix's Strong Beer Festival so figured I pull this bottle out of the fridge where it'd been for a month or so...

As another reviewer says, it's almost more like an English Pale Ale than an APA which did not bother me at all. Nice malts for a Mountain timezone zone beer.

A: Pours a hazy copper with nearly an inch of soft foam. Left impressive lacing in the glass, too.

S: Strong citrus (orange, specifically) with a little pine.

T: Less aggressively hoppy than I was expecting -- not really a bad thing. Very balanced, actually, with a candy corn sweetness, especially on the finish.

M: Very full-bodied for an APA -- almost drinks like a milk stout. Could use just a tad more carbonation.

D: Satisfying but not filling with a pleasant, though definitely lasting, aftertaste.

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Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper with a thin white head that descends to a thin cover.

The smell is of caramel with underlying citric/touch of lemon.

The taste is of citric bitterness intermingling with sweet caramelish malt. Lemony, slightly piney. Well-balanced between bitter and sweet with the sweetness winning out by a hair in the finish. I was between two scores on the taste, but it's one of those that grow tastier as it progresses, leading me to give it the higher score.

The feel is smooth in a medium body. Nice texture.

A nice, well-balanced easy "session" pale ale. Mild, but tasty.

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Photo of
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Slightly hazy, amber colored fluid. Medium, off white head.

Citrus, of the grapefruit variety, primary aroma. A bit floral? Some honey and/or caramel in there.

Decent balance, a bit more sweet than bitter. Sweet came through as fruits, melons - sugared citrus. Honeyed wheat bread in the middle. Hops seem to pick up as the beer warms. This isn't the norm in my limited experience. Usually the malt comes through more.

Light in body. Carbonation about medium. Drying.

Enjoyable. Light & refreshing with good flavor. A nice session beer, which I proceeded to test fully.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy toned copper color, with a large white head, which retains very well. The lacing is thick, with few breaks; the carbonation is moderate.

Aroma: Lightly toasted malt aroma with herbal, citrus, and grassy hops.

Taste: Mild caramel flavors at the open, followed by citrus and pine hops, which intensify slowly as the taste progresses. By the finish, the hops are ascendant, and leave a lingering, slightly oily presence at the close of the taste.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, pleasant, just lacking a bit of body.

Drinkability/notes: Pleasant and quite drinkable, well-made, a nice example of the style.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass longneck bottle with a pop-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass.

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Photo of Zasty
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Read other reviews for details on this beer, I just want to mention something I found distinct about this brew. It has a skunky german pilsner taste, like that found in Jever or Bitburger, hidden under the APA formula. The brewers attribute this to the yeast they use. The spin of flavor is well worth seeking this brew out

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Photo of sinistermadman
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy sunburst amber in color with a nice foamy head. Aroma of citrus from hops, slightly floral with a sweet-bread malt background. Smell is subdued, but enjoyable.

Taste begins with a sweet citrus tinge with a bread-y malt backing. Actually the taste is pretty consistent throughout the duration of the drink. This brew doesn’t surprise you, but it has a nice solid flavor profile. Medium in body along with a slick, crisp finish yield a pretty respectable level of drinkability. There are plenty of other more complex beers in the same stratum, but this one is pretty solid. I’d recommend it.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the one this brewery is most famous for. The liquid was a copper color with some orange highlights when held to light and a khaki colored head. Lots of visible carbonation rising in it. The aroma was herbal and hoppy with hints of mint and sweetness. The flavors were at first sweet, caramel malt and some fruit followed by some green hops and citrus hops. Very little bitterness for a Pale Ale. The mouthfeel was average, slightly creamy and the carbonation on par with a clean finish. Sessionable to be certain but by no means remarkable.

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Photo of chickencoop
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light frothy pour and light amber color. Aroma was more pilsner than pale ale in my opinion. Very light and very drinkable in the AZ sun. Considering it's 5.5%, it's got a very light profile. Looking for a little more malt backbone, but not missing it, good solid brew from NM.

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Pale Ale from Santa Fe Brewing Company
3.48 out of 5 based on 259 ratings.
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