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: 136 | Ratings: 263
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 kmpitz2
3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. This pours a solid golden color with a finger of head that falls to a full coat over top of the brew. Clarity is fairly good and there is very little carbonation apparent. The nose is orange citrus with a caramel and light grainy base. There is a lot of sweetness in this one. The flavor is interesting. I get orange citrus sweetness from the hopping, with a moderate grainy and lighter caramel base, but the alcohol is very apparent, though I don't think it is very high in ABV. I think this detracts from the brew. Mouthfeel is moderate with a light carbonation. Overall, this one has nice aroma and flavor, but the solventy alcohol really takes away from the beer.

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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 Wasatch
3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to slcbrewer for this brew.

Pours a cloudy dark orange color, some carbonation, tiny fizzy head, no lacing at all. The nose is malty, slightly hoppy, and some caramel. The taste is malty, hoppy, and some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, not bad, but would not seek out again.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mild floral hops and sweet malt. Nice and tart.

Orange golden pretty color. Clear. Mild head with decent retention.

Bitter sweet ant beginning. Medium tart hop - floral with citric notes. Medium-light malt flavor – lightly sweet. Chunky and clean. Medium bitterness. Finishes lightly bitter/dry.

Medium body and carbonation.

Easy APA, pretty good. No faults and no outstanding merits. I would like to have it on tap sometime.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
3.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quite a nice surprise. I didn't have much hope for this since it was showing up at HEB (local grocery store for those you are not lucky enough to have one) before I got it at Grapevine. Figured light, no hops and even less color. Wrong, nice almost amber darkness to the brew with lacing that sticks around. Nice malt and hop aroma is pleasant. Taste is almost similar to Sierra Nevada without the bite and a kick from some malts. Smooth and quite satisfying. Very drinkable & enjoyable. Need to see what else I can find from Santa Fe Brewing.

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Photo of russpowell
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours sort of a peach tea color with 3 fingers of rocky sand colored head. Average lacing & above average head retention

S: Slight citirc hops presence

T: Citric hops (lemons & alittle grapefruit), plus some breadyness up front. Finishes dry with a lemony piney hop florish

MF: Medium bodied with lively carbonation. I figure it helps the hops pop

Drinks very easy, a nice simple, but enjoyable APA. Very pricey at $9 a sixer though

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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 jasonjlewis
3.54/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Decent stab at a pale ale, but needs more hoppiness and the malt flavor is a little weak. The only thing impressive about this beer is that it has a great head that sticks around for a long time. The smell is weak and very faint. I get a tiny caramel malt smell with little hop presence. Mouthfeel is crisp upfront, but doesn't finish off that way. THis beer is very very simple, however, and there are no real off flavors. Therefore it is fairly drinkable. Nothing to write home about, though.

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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 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 ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The head on this one was huge! I poured very carefully because I knew this one was bottle conditioned but I still got a major chunk of qwhite foam. The beer was a hazy orange in color with scents of citrus and malt. The taste was very mellow with the citrus showing up but it seemed very balanced between malt and hop. Good stuff but for $9 a sixer I can find much better beer.

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Photo of flexabull
3.2/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one pours an orange cloudy color with a decent head.

Aromas are malty, tea like, sour and dusty. Not quite what I expect from a Pale, but not bad.

Surprisingly, I thought this was a lager when I first sipped it. It reminds me a lot of an Alt. Malty, slightly sweet, and crisp. Not much hops here.

Mouthfeel is quite nice. A full flavored and well rounded beer.

All in all? This is decent. Not unpleasant, but not all that interesting either.

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Photo of kdoc8
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Catamount in Santa Fe, NM. It was a deep red color, which surprised me for a pale ale - I would have guessed it was a red by its color. It didn't have too much of a smell or a flavor. Mainly the flavor was of sweet hops - I found it to be very refreshing and drinkable.

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Photo of beeragent
2.68/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The beer poured a deep gold, forming a very thin head, that quickly faded, leaving medium rings of lace. The aroma is more malty than hoppy. Not what I expect a pale ale to smell like. Sweet smell, but not floral or fruity like the hops would give. The taste is also wrong for a pale ale. Very little hop presence, lacking in the sweet citrus flavor, and mostly dominated by a malty caramel taste. The mouthfeel is medium, being a little thicker for the style. Overall, I would have to say that this taste closer to a brown ale, than it does to a pale ale. Maybe I got a mislabeled bottle, but this is definitely not my idea of a pale ale. I guess I am more used to the style being more floral in aroma, and a heavier citrus flavor. This just may tell me, that I havent explored the whole spectrum of pale ales yet.

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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 BeerSox
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Hazy with a dark amber color, on the verge of brown. A light tan thick head lasts for a while with a little bit of brown yeast resting on top. Solid layers of lacing at the top, thinning toward the bottom as it turns into a mix of stringy and spotty lacing.

Very light aroma, with a little bit of the piney hops, but also some spice similar to allspice, with a little bit of a walnut smell.

Grainy malts with a little bit of an earthy nutty flavor. Some diacetyl makes its way through in the middle, with a little bit of hop bitterness showing up in the end. Medium bodied with good carbonation. The finish has a little bit of honey and hoppiness.

Bit of an odd American Pale Ale. No bad flavors, but the nut-like flavors are an unusual characterstic. When looking at the bottom of the bottle, there is a good amount of yeast sediment. I assume this is responsible for the earthy flavors such as the nut, butter, and honey.

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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 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 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 goochpunch
3.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a slightly orange-tinged golden color with a moderately sized white head that thins out. Smells of regular old pale base malt with some slightly citric hops and some earthy aromas from the hops. Flavor is overly sweet from the malt with a slight hop kick toward the end. What makes this interesting is the earthy hop flavors I get from this, whereas I'm so used to the typical citrus hop overload. Mouthfeel is a little syrupy but overall decent. Carbonation is nice. It pricks slightly, but still manages to please. The sweetness kills this for me drinkability-wise. Overall it has an interesting flavor, though.

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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 Vancer
3.59/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Welp, have a real paradox here – the label on this one clearly states “pale ale”, but it’s not close to a PA. However, it would make for an excellent amber ale. Still very tasty.

A hazy amber pour was topped by a thick ivory head – nice sheet lacing all the way down.

Now the aroma – here we go: a woody, earthy aroma with some nutty notes. Then the taste followed suit; very malty and grainy. Not PA-like at all, or balanced with the proper hops. Very good tasting brew, though.

Medium bodied, I would go for this one again, and as a session brew with the 5% not overpowering by any means.

Thanky to Solomon420 for the desert treat.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, amber copper color that would probably cleared quite a bit if I had let it sit for a day or two in my fridge. The head is a billowing, frothy mass of varied-sized bubbles that form to make an initially three-finger thick, light tan colored head. The aroma smells of sweet caramel malts and a bright fruitiness that seems to be a mix of berries, sweet citrus, apricots and something definitely like a tropical fruit notes. Towards the end is a dry toasted malt note that is only noticeable if you really search for it. The aroma is quite interesting, much more fruity than I was expecting.

This beer has a smooth, almost creamy, mouthfeel that makes this quite easy drinking. The fruity notes, that are in the aroma, are here in the taste, but quite a bit muted from the vibrancy that they have there. The finish has a bit of a muddied malt character to it, it just doesn't seem as bright as it should. Malt notes of caramel, toffee and toasted grain intermingle on the tongue and add some contrast to the fruity notes. This beer has some interesting hop character, while a bit more muted than I would like, it has notes of apricots, tangerines, tropical fruit, and sweet orange peel. Ultimately this beer, while tasty, seems to be lacking something that would give it a better balance. Perhaps it is that muddy note, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

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Pale Ale from Santa Fe Brewing Company
3.48 out of 5 based on 263 ratings.
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