Pale Ale | Santa Fe Brewing Company

135 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 135 | Ratings: 259
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A darker yellow color, minimal head, but the lace did stick.

A sweeter pale ale, definitely in check, hopping came off more like a good pilsner. Maybe it was the light roast/malt bill. This was definitely a mild, but appreciable beer. Not much bitterness, a good pale for a hot day. Price was more than you'd think $8.

After having had these a few times, I notice wide variation, even within the same 6 pack of these beers. They're pretty much an English style ipa, but with Cascade hops as well.

 499 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark copper in color, dingy white head, spurts of lacing. Not a bad sight.

Smells more malty than my preferred pale, but it's still nice though. A tad biscuity, faintly sweet, but with a hint of hoppiness in the back.

Taste is most of the same; slight bready, sweet and malty, but some nice finishing hop characteristics on the finish. Not fantastic, but its good.

The feel is good and medium. Smooth with a bit of crispness.

This is a solid, drinkable pale. Nothing fantastic, but It's still fairly tasty.

 510 characters

Photo of eclaycamp
3.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Pours a golden copper color with a fizzy quarter inch head with no real lace to speak of. Light pine and some citrus on the nose, as the aroma is all hops. Taste is of some caramel malts with citrus hops and a pleasing finish. No real mouthfeel in this beer, unfortunately, and it reminds me a little bit of a carbonated water - San Pelligrino for example. Second taste yields some mineral and alcohol notes. Decent pale ale, though it could benefit from a stronger malt prescence I think.

 506 characters

Photo of aval89
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper color with a bright white 1.5 finger head.. Typical APA appearance

Smell: picking up caramel, toasted malts, little bready.. Just a bit of citrus notes showcasing the hop presence..

Taste: again more on the malty side.. Lots of caramel sweetness, burnt sugars, bit grainy. Finishes with a citrus hop finish. Bitter but just enough to call it bitter. As I keep sipping I'm picking up a pear flavor.. Quite interesting.

MF is light to medium bodied with good carbonation for the style..

This brew is quite easy to drink and can easily be a gateway into pale ales.
Sessionable as well

 603 characters

Photo of Bizz88
3.77/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- hazy amber with a nice cloud like two finger head. Nice lacing.

S- nice malty fragrance with a citrus hint.

T- a citrus hops with hint of pine. Easy on the palette for the most part.

M- medium bodied with nice carbonation thru and thru.

D- Oh yes! A nice refreshing brew.

 278 characters

Photo of Haybeerman
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear copper-amber color. Poured a 2 finger fluffy white head with fair retention to a thick skim. Lightly decanted. Laced in patches.

S: Some floral citrusy hops. A little sweet malt.

T: Sweet malt; but very muted. Some resiny floral hops make a brief appearance. A musty finish into a light bitter.

M: Medium to light body. Moderate carbonation. Smooth and little resiny coating. Mild bitter finish.

D: A pale ale more like what's expected in an English Ale. Nothing wrong with the beer.

 496 characters

Photo of climax
3.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pale ale poured a pale orange with good clarity and a good sized head that faded to a sink hole depression in the middle. Retention was very nice.

There was a nice spiciness in the nose to compliment a typical yet good malt/hop balance. Gingerbread, and some lemon zest accompanied a citrus hop profile and a toasty/biscuit malt bakcbone. Apricot and caramel were prominent.

The flavor was a bit dissapointing, considering a good start. The hop profile was relatively weak, the the nice flavors picked up in the nose were dulled down in the mouth. The malt pretty much took over, and didn't have enough spunk to make me forget about what it lacked.

The body was on the medium side. The feel was cottony and frothy, the carbonation left a good lingering sharpness.

Refreshing on this hot spring Oklahoma evening, but lacking in the flavor department. This is an acceptable brew.

 887 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a thick, sturdy head that leaves a prodigious amount of lacing swirling the pint glass

Smell: Stone fruit aroma with an underlying toffee character

Taste: Opens with a finely balanced toffee and stone fruit flavor that bends toward the sweeter side; by mid-palate, a metallic element arrives as well; after the swallow, the flavors blend nicely, but the hop character is somewhat restrained

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not among the great pale ales, this is a rather enjoyable mainstream example of the style; easy to drink and to like

 616 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A simple Pale Ale that balances well the elements of hops, esters, and soft caramel flavors.

The beer pours with a bright copper-golden color, mild haze (typical of dry-hopping) and soft carbonation that forms a medium but firm head that remains the session while leaving light hints of lacing behind.

Sweet aromas of caramel are backed by more fruity esters that normally found in an American Pale. Citrus and floral hops provide a delicate blend to accompany the esters and caramel. Peaches, appricots, and apples give a hint to the fruits while honeysuckle and nectar give light to the floral character.

The estery and caramel mix keeps the beer a bit sweeter and lingering a bit longer than drier, crisper versions. A mild slickness forms making me think buttery compounds. Hop bitterness provides a nice balanced compliment to the sweeter notes. Otherwise, the beer is medium weighted and moderately full.

As the beer warms, I notice more and more apple flavor comming from the esters and yeast. Though a nice Pale, I do prefer them drier and crisper.

Thanks again BlueOkie!

 1,084 characters

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.

 526 characters

Photo of elniko
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass. No date markings on bottle.

A: Glowing light amber coloring with with decent head and lacing. Almost a little hazy which I found a little strange for a pale ale.

S: Nose definitely was more along the lines of an EPA, had that musty wet dog characteristic along with some slightly fruity tones.

T & M: A very curious pale ale, the tones that I get from the nose do not really come through in the taste. Taste follows along the line of a mild APA. Hops are definitely apparent along with a sweetness from the malt and an almost musty finish. Medium bodied.

D: An interesting pale ale but one I wasn't really overwhelmed with.

 663 characters

Photo of mooseisloose
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Still catching up on BOTMC offerings. Pours to a nice yellowish gold with a big foamy two finger head. Head lingers and laces nicely, good structure. Smell is malty sweet some honey. Taste has good malt backbone, very even bitterness. Good balance. Head still holds up like a champ. Very earthy hoppiness more earthy than fruity although there are hints of citrus, mostly orange tang. Mouthfeel is just right. A very delicious Pale Ale. A good sessioner without a doubt.

 470 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.72/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A capped 12 ounce bottle poured into my shaker glass. The ale appears a clear copper color with about two fingers of lingering off white foam. No lacing to speak of. Nose and flavor consist of medium toasted grain, earthy citrus hops, caramel malt, lemon peel, some pine. A notch better than medium bodied with ample carbonation. A decent drinker.

 347 characters

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.

 477 characters

Photo of smanders
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed from the tap at The Shed in Santa Fe.

Appearance - golden orange with a thin head. Not much lacing.

Smell - citrus hops and sweet honey.

Taste - citrus (lemons), pine (a little bit) and a touch of sweet malt.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied.

Drinkability - Although not as much bite as some APAs, this beer is very palatable. I'd compare it to a Fat Tire mixed with a SN Torpedo. Goes well with food or on it's own. Too bad we can't get it in the East.

 459 characters

Photo of Dibujob
3.54/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Hazy copper with a thick, white head of foam.

S-very weak smell, I could barely detect any aroma at all.

T-Despite the complete lack of aroma, the taste was surprisingly delicious. Citrus hoppy notes nicely balance the hops. Definitely surpassed my expectations.

M-Pretty heavily carbed, but not unpleasant

D-Not too shabby. I could go through a few of these without complaint.

All in all I would buy this again.

 423 characters

Photo of cdkrenz
3.79/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My thanks to WJVII. I appreciate the brew my friend.

A - Amber-hazy body with an inch and a half of thick foamy head. Nice head retention.

S - Great sweet hoppy aroma. No bitter scent here. The thoughts of apricots and honey come to mind.

T - Mild hops here. There's a firm flavor consisting of oranges and plums. There is a hinting at bitterness near the end but nothing substantial.

M - Smooth throughout with slight scattered texture.

~ This is a tasty brew. It is mild for a pale ale but for some reason I can see this being a winner.

 544 characters

Photo of WJVII
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From BOM May shipment- This brew poured into a pint glass has an orange color with a huge tan head that left sticky lacing goodness all down the glass leaving a 1/4 thick cap (bigger than some aggressive poured heads on some beers). The aroma is of sweet hops, orange peels, and some faint floral spices. The taste is quite mild. It has some of the orange flavor that the noise senses. The hop taste is more sweet than bitter. Mild bitter aftertaste, but not what I want in a pale ale. OK brew, but not much to write home about.

 528 characters

Photo of bonkers
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as part of a BOTMC. It pours a pale gold with a thick, long lasting white head. The aroma is malt dominant with a hint of citrus. The flavor is malt dominant also, a bit bready. As it warms a nice piney flavor can be detected. The beer has average carbonation, is medium to light bodied. The beer is easy drinking and a solid apa.

 339 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Santa Fe- Pale Ale

A- Good deep golden orange/ brown with a thick frothy heavy lacing head.
S- Light citrusy hops and a creamy caramel and bready maltiness.
T- Sweet malty crusty bread and caramel malt with a light touch of citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit,) hops. Hops are light and the malt is dominant.
M- Thick malt throughout with a mildly crisp hop touch.

Overall- An easy drinker but not overwhelming.

 411 characters

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.21/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a golden caramel orange hue, crystal clear with a two-finger bright white heavily-carbonated soda-like head. despite looks, impressive retention and decent frothy lacing to the bottom.

aroma is citrusy, a bit bready, and a bit of light yeast. relatively subtle. a bit of herbal/medicinal hops. not bad. not memorable.

bready, doughy, and yeasty with some green veggie hops, a bit of herbal hops, and a citrusy grapefruit finish. nothing unique but certainly nothing off here. an average solid, clean, fairly west-coast-ish ipa flavor wise.

carbonation seems a tad high, but not way over the top. smooth and a bit creamy, just a bit slick... fairly full for a pale, but certainly palatable.

All in all, not a bad brew. if this was all I had, I'd be happy. nothing astounding, nothing terribly unique, but definitely drinkable.

 835 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a hazy orange color with a thick 2" fluffy head that lasts a while.

Smell: loads of orange citrus, some softer lemon zest, and some grassiness is detected.

Taste: a bready malt profile here with caramel, strong orange flavors, and a mild bitterness makes up a standard fare pale ale.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smoother and breadiness lingers at the finish.

Drinkability: so-so pale ale that one may grow a bit bored of after one or two. Overall a bit too bready for me.

 516 characters

Photo of HoustonTX
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bit lighter than a normal amber pale ale, a bit more yellowish in tint. Extremely frothy large white head, lots of lacing.

Smells good, quite grassy and a touch of earthiness.

This beer has a really nice solid earthy backbone, semi-dry, chalky and dusty, like the New Mexico deserts. Subtle balancing notes of a nice mix of florals. Black pepper, and spicy grass. Hops are subtle, yet nice and juicy, like sweet oranges. Finishes decently with a semi-metallic note noted.

A good basic earthy Pale Ale. Nice and approachable, and still quite a bit to offer.

 561 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
3.62/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pretty standard "Pale Ale" look, with a well-retained veil of eggshell foam atop a burnt copper body. A fair amount of haze from the yeast keeps this beer from a truly "pale" look, and the carbonation is lackluster. Aroma is subtle, but appealing, with layers of pale & biscuit malt balanced by a soft floral hoppiness. Some tropical fruit notes (banana, mango, citrus, pear) from the yeast chime in as well.

Pretty good flavor to this beer, as it starts out with biscuity, nutty malts that give way to yeasty tropical fruits (peach, pineapple, citrus, mango) and a crisp hop bite on the finish. Body is on the thicker side of medium, and the increased viscosity (plus the low carbonation level) makes it feel a bit like watered-down syrup. Still, it's a refreshing beer that suits the style well. I'd probably have this again if I were in a pinch for a Pale ale, but better, more readily-available choices might get my dollar first.

 968 characters

Photo of Fnord
3.39/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Cloudy orange-yellow with a large amount of effervescence, and the large body of foam to match. Decent retention.

Smell - Mostly smells like lemon. Some floral hops, a little grapefruit.

Taste - Sweeter than I expected. The hops try to make themselves heard at the start, but are quickly drowned out by the caramel. The hops last into the finish, though, providing a refreshing aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, high carbonation. The large, frothy head seems to add to the body.

Drinkability - Pretty darn sessionable.

Notes - This wasn't what I was expecting, but that may be a good thing. It's nice to be surprised every once in a while. I don't remember having an APA this sweet before. Still, it's a good beer. I'm normally not a fan of highly carbonated beers, but it seems to work OK in this one.

 823 characters

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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.