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Hook & Ladder Golden Ale | Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)

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Hook & Ladder Golden AleHook & Ladder Golden Ale
154 Ratings
Hook & Ladder Golden AleHook & Ladder Golden Ale

Brewed by:
Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)
Maryland, United States

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cichief on 04-28-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 154 |  Reviews: 119
Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The second of the three beers that are now offered in Lexington from the brewery. BeerAdvocate have five beers listed from this brewery. I just finished the Lighter and now drinking the Golden. You'd think that they would go out on that limb a bit.

This beer does fare better than the Lighter. It begins with a stronger straw color with some golden highlights. The same formitable head, retainage, and lacing gives the beer a lot of promise, as they did in the Lighter.

Aromas start with a caramel, butterscotch character that fades as the session continues. A part-malt, part-grain blend gives good balance to the nose. A little corn-like later, but no fruitiness to mention in the nose.

Flavors of caramel-corn candies sets the tone for the beer. Malt flavors are light and allows grain flavors to persist too much. Again, no fruitiness or hop flavor. Honey-like flavors come thorough at mid-palate and helps to move the beer along.

Slick textures throughout, which compromises the would-be crisp, dry, malt character-- too bad. Still a light grain-like bite over-rides the hop bitterness and causes yet more distractions.

This beer has some of the same off-flavors as the Lighter, but also delivers a diacetyl character that dominates the beer-- sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. It's worth a try...once or twice. But not a drain-pour by any means.

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Photo of zeff80
3.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, golden-yellow color with a good deal of carbonation. It had little to no head and left no lace.

S - It smelled of grains, caramel and mild floral notes.

T - It had a sweet caramel flavor with a toasty malt flavor. It had a very, very mild spicy hop bite to balance it out.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a slightly dry finish. A light bodied ale that is very sessionable.

D - This is a nice blonde ale. It is refreshing and easy drinking.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.58/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On-tap at East Ave Café in Pawtucket, RI on 9/13/07, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color with a medium white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of wheat, light malts, a touch of hops and some fruit.

T: The taste is light and decently balanced, with flavors of wheat, pale hops and some tart fruit (apricot & raspberries maybe?). The malt character has some substance but is on the thin side. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, light-to-medium body, medium-to-heavy carbonation, very clean finish.

D: Not too tasty, goes down ok, not filling at all, not the best representation of style, it's a decent beer but I really didn't like it too much and would not pick it again.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.98/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. The pour is a slightly-hazed golden color with a really tall white head that persists for quite some time and leaves oodles of lacing down the side of the glass. The nose isn't too much, but is much better than the majority of blonde ales that I've had. Some light grain and bread plus a touch of fruit. The taste is a bit more plain with a bread-like character. The feel is really nice with a good body and carbonation level. Nice and sessionable. For what this is and against its competition, I really enjoy it.

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Photo of smcolw
3.54/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer overflowed the bottle when opened--lost about an ounce. Relatively tame head after that, but it did last. Good lace. Very attractive light amber color. Crystal clear.

Mostly light malt aroma. Some hop (and cream) in the background.

Ah, some wheat shows up here although it is in the background. I'm reminded of a cream ale--lots of malt with some lactose sweetness. A good dose of hop that shows up in the swallow, but dies quickly. Probably the biggest negative is the over-carbonation, particularly for the style. The body is okay.

This is definitely a mixed bag. Worthy of trying, if you're not looking for a wheat-ish offering.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Honeycomb gold with a tincture of tangerine. Three fingers of yellowed ivory foam follow the pour. The crown looks fluffy, but still manages to hang around for a spell. What lace manages to stick looks just okay.

The nose lacks a hook and is nothing special as a result. Golden grain and a slight whiff of musky hops (Willamette) is about it. Although Cascade hops were used for bittering, their distinctive citrusiness isn't appreciated.

For starters, Golden Ale is an amber ale, not an APWA. It uses wheat, but doesn't taste the least bit wheaty. Pale malt gives the beer a bland sort of untoasted graininess and a hint of underlying sweetness. Hop flavor and bitterness are at a low ebb. It's as if the brewers did everything they could to wring all traces of personality out of this brew.

Please don't drink this offering 'ice-cold', as the label suggests. Only when it gains a few degrees does the beer develop any sort of flavor: cereal grains and earthy hops. Still no hint of Cascade. If American macro ale was a recognized style, then Golden Ale would be its poster child; never mind the size of the brewery.

The mouthfeel is acceptable for the style and the ABV. It's light without being watery and the carbonation adds some excitement without being annoying about it.

Hook & Ladder Golden Ale is only slightly better than Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown. The labels and the cap are well-done, and I have a soft spot for any brewery that contributes proceeds to worthy causes, but the beer itself leaves quite a bit to be desired. Average.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comparing this one to the Backdraft Brown, this one is stellar. Overall a very solid golden ale, more interesting than your typical version. Appears a slightly hazed pale yellow golden body with a bright white foamy head, after dwindling minimal lace is left behind. Aroma has tart apples with a slightly grassy hop presnce with a mild refreshing citrus note. Pale malts provided a biscuit malt sweetness but those esters from the yeast are very nice. Flavor has a delicate yet flavorful approach that I really enjoyed with a slight green apple tartness with notes of herbal and citrus light but hoppy appeal, nice semi sweet balance acheived with the pale malt profile. Mouthfeel is light bodied even stream of carbonation very easy going and refreshing. Drinkability always good to get more outta of a beer than you were expecting especially out of a Blonde Ale.

 864 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of imbibehour
2.24/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Are you drinking a Blonde Ale? Yeah you are.. at least you didn't buy it, ok what's this all about, into a nonic pint glass to go.

A slightly hazy pale amber yellow, lots of carbonation. Head is shocking white, foamy, seems to fall slowly. Pour makes a lot of noise and snapping. Cap manages to keep for a short while.

Bouquet is rank. Smells like bile and vomit, not pleasant at all. Gross. I am trying to find something at least worthy, and I get nearly nothing.

Taste is very lacking. No malt presence, hop, chewiness, density, horrific aftertaste highlighting the nose nicely. Slightly numbing in the aftertaste and even grainy sour. Borderline wet, but with a little bit of seltzery feel.

There is nothing to enjoy here for me.

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Photo of tone77
3.43/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a rich golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is sweet, malts with a touch of citrus. Taste is light, mild, slightly sweet. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and is very drinkable. Overall this is a pretty good brew.

 256 characters

Photo of Gavage
2.9/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at McCormick & Schmick's in Baltimore.

Appearance: only a thin surface foam for a head. Pale yellow in color with a load of fast rising carbonation bubbles. No lacing developed during the session.

Smell: little to no aroma, as only some very faint grain tones were detectable as your nose hits the surface of the beer.

Taste: mild graininess here with some very soft hop bitterness. Some pear and golden apple sweetenss lingers softly in the background. Very mild flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start and a bit smoother towards the finish. Light in body. Clean aftertaste.

Drinkability: figured I give this a try since the restaurant had it and I wanted something mild with my appetizer. The beer was so-so at best as I didn't finish my pint. Not worth a try unless there are only macros on tap.

 828 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Never had anything from these blokes so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Served in a shaker pint because I had one handy.

Beer is amber, light, mild haze, lazy thin head of small white bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation. Looks fine to good.

Aroma is grainy and sweet, pretty floral, smells fine.

Beer is medium in body, a little bitter, sweet up front, grainy finish. Eh, it is probably too sweet, heavier than expected, too grainy, too much of an aftertaste, not a drain pour but an average ale for sure.

 510 characters

Photo of tempest
1.95/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The beer looks good enough with a light gold body with a little white head, but this beer reeks of plastic and cholorphenols. The flavor at least has some pale malted barley and wheat in the aftertaste, but plastic and cleaning chemical notes are way too strong. The mouthfeel is crisp and light, but the drinkability suffers from the flaws. If this beer was contract brewed for me, I'd be pissed. I haven't come across a beer flawed this badly in a long time. Avoid.

 467 characters

Photo of brandoman63
3.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of WesWes
3.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a nice golden color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry, pale malt scent along with some light esters. The taste is average. It has a very dry, malty flavor that boasts of pale malts and not much else. It does have a bit of sweetness, but little complexity to speak of. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a decent beer, but nothing to get excited about. It's very dry and light on the malt palate.

 528 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It pours from a 12 fl. oz. bottle with no lot code or expiration date. Sampled on May 6, 2009.

A - A glittering gold with good clarity and a moderate half-finger off-white foamy head that lingers for most of the tasting. SOme positive lacing.

S - Wheaty and grassy with a slightly hoppy boost and fairly pleasant overall.

T/M - The mouthfeel leans medium and smooth on the inner mouth. The taste has a good balance of wheat, hops, and distant malts.

 453 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.01/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hook & Ladder Golden Ale

Crystal clear golden yellow with a small white head and some lace down the side of the glass. Aroma is biscuity malt and light euro hops. In the taste, lightly malty and creamy. Pretty drinkable blonde. easy simple but a bit plain. Light bodied feel, low carbonation, clean finish. Overall, a nice simple summer beer here, nothing more nothing less.

 375 characters

Photo of Latarnik
3/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of wrightst
3.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of cjgator3
2.91/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a golden yellow color with a thin white head that leaves a decent amount of lace.

S- The aroma is pale malt, wheat with some fruits and just a hint of hops.

T- The taste features some wheat malt and is a bit fruity with a very mild hop presence in the finish. Not overly complex by any means, but an easy drinker for sure.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This one is pretty damn drinkable. Not much flavor in this beer, but I could see myself easily consuming a few bottles in a sitting.

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Photo of beerthulhu
2.88/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a clear pumpkin orange with a 1 finger frothy egg shell white head that settled to a thin, whispy covering after the first 2 minutes. No visible lacing was observed while the visible carbontion was moderatly strong and fairly rapid.

S: fresh oranges with perhaps some dried pears. Honestly there really wasn't a lot of complexity or scent to this and came off rather mundane, light in strength and rather boring. Yawn.

T: The flavor was fresh sweet oranges, dried pears with a decent spicy hopping. Some lemon and orange citrus with some sweet ripe fruit skins were detected. The oranges tasted more artificial like those sugar coated orange candies you buy at the store which only cheapened the flavor for me a bit. Some fruitiness of honey dews with a touch of muskiness and a honey suckle flowery hopping. Overall was light , sweety and fruity.

M: a light viscosity with a slick buttery texture and a good deal of tingly carbonation. Leaves a sweet orange honey malting behind on the swallow. Ok but doesn't get any better the longer you hold it so there really is no incentive here to savor. Average at best.

D: While the flavor was average it certainly doesn't warrant a repeat and falls short per style when compared to other staples of this style. shoulder shrug here.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.05/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours with a three finger white head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Almost cloudy pale amber color. The nose is slight hoppiness. Medium carbonation and light-medium body. Flavor is mellow some hoppiness, some sweetness. Clean finish. $1.50 for 12oz bottle from Capitol Convenience, Concord, NH. Label is Hook & Ladder Brewing - contract brewed by Mercury.

 363 characters

Photo of harpus
3/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of DrDemento456
3.38/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Golden yep for sure. Head was kind of a half to quarter inch, small but with some creamy lacing.

S - Smells of a typical blonde, I get some lemon grass, little hops, and sweet malts.

T - Not too bad actually but it might be too sweet for some. Slight bit of grains followed by honey sweetness and a finish with some watery hops.

M - Light to medium, kind of watery.

Overall I thought this one was good better than Boulders "Sweaty Betty" but I can't seem to think of a reason to get it again. Kind of refreshing though.

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Hook & Ladder Golden Ale from Hook & Ladder Brewing Company (No. 2)
Beer rating: 3.15 out of 5 with 154 ratings
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