Church-Key West Coast Pale Ale | Church-Key Brewing Company

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Church-Key West Coast Pale AleChurch-Key West Coast Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Church-Key Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
West Coast Pale Ale is our interpretation of a double hoppy American Pale Ale. Indian Pale Ales – IPA’s were first made as robust Ale for export from Britain by Ship to India dating from 1835, in order that the beer kept well additional hops (a natural preservative) were added to the brewing ingredients. American Pale Ale – APA ‘s date from the 1980s and generally use stronger fruitier hops. We mash using Canadian two row barley and brew with a very liberal helping of Chinook hops at beginning middle and end to create this youthful contemporary aromatic and bitter ale.

40-70 IBU

Added by Viggo on 08-14-2006

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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 44
Photo of thehyperduck
3.76/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

341 mL bottle from a six-pack picked up at the LCBO; coded A061416:30 (I'm guessing January 6 2014 at 4:30 PM). Served slightly chilled.

This pale ale pours a lovely amber-blonde clour, clear as day and topped with one finger of frothy, off-white head. It recedes gradually over a period of minutes, leaving behind a soapy film on the surface, a generous collar around the edge, and a loose draping of lace on the glass. A beautiful-looking beer. The aroma ain't half-bad either, with notes of brown sugar, bready malts, lemony-pine notes and a touch of grapefruit.

It didn't take long for my palate to give this one a hearty thumbs-up. A sturdy backbone of pale, bready malts and caramel sweetness soon gives way to some citrusy grapefruit and resiny pine notes. The finish is pithy and bitter, with a lingering, astringent aftertaste. On the light side of medium-bodied, with middling carbonation levels appropriate for the style. Fairly refreshing, with a reasonably hoppy kick to it - definitely session-worthy.

Final Grade: 3.76, a B+. Church Key's West Coast Pale Ale is a very respectable APA - one that I'd have purchased months ago if I'd realized that earlier. There are too many other quality APAs available (in more convenient formats) for this to be a regular purchase for me, but I am more than willing to give kudos where it is warranted - this makes for an enjoyable glass, and one that I'd definitely recommend to those in the market for a mildly hoppy, balanced pale ale.

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Photo of NV9
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

very deep orange-gold colour with some head and retention.

Citrus smell immediately hits you, hops present in the nose as well.

Taste is similar to the smell, lots of hops and some citrus as well.

Medium in carbonation and body, it's a very drinkable IPA, but not a session beer.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pleasant surprise, on tap at the Manx Pub in Ottawa. A much hoppier batch than the last time I stopped at Church Key - 2009ish?

Colour is a bright and clear orange amber with impressive lacing from a limited head. Aroma is a mild and malt-forward with tropical fruit undertones. Well balanced flavour has a caramelized malt sweetness with a lingering bitter finish afterwards. Nice citrus and mango hop notes.

Very glad to have tried this beer again and would recommend others give it another shot!

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Photo of spinrsx
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle from the LCBO for 2$

Appearance - Clear copper colour with a small size frothy off white coloured head. There is a low level of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, grains, herbal/straw/grass

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste hops, caramel, and malts. There is only a hint of grapefruit and lots of herbal/grainy/straw flavours. It ends with a grainy/malty aftertaste with a medium amount of lingering hop bitterness.

Overall - I wasn't a big fan of this one. It tasted way too much like home brew and was no where near an american IPA taste wise. If anything it was more of an English IPA. It does have some good bitterness from the hops, but it tastes like it was made with cheap ingredients.

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Photo of bryehn
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Listed at 5% ABV on the bottle, no freshness dating or info at all, but I've liked what I've had from Church-Key so far.

Pours a clear golden-amber colour with a medium-sized tan head that's quite frothy and leaves a nice bit of lace before it settles as a collared film.

Very fresh smelling aroma of grains and floral hops. There's an earthy tone, a bright citrus bite and a honey-like sweetness to be found as well.

Fresh, toasted grains and a yeast-like flavour dominate the taste before a solid bitterness takes hold. Tangerine-like citrus pop on the tongue that lingers in the finish.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin with a moderate carbonation level. Slight creaminess and a nice oily character on the tongue. The aftertaste is bitter, bready and earthy.

Glad I took a chance on this instead of going with an old standby, it turned out to be a pleasant, unassuming beer that's a bit mild for the style, but very drinkable and refreshing.

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Photo of
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Volo, Toronto.

Appearance - dark golden with a thinnish, persistent head.

Smell - Starts with typical West Coast hoppy aromas of pine and grapfruit, but also has an herbal/spicy smell. I couldn't quite place it, but it was almost savoury. (sage?)

Taste - Bread and a touch of biscuit, and a return of the hops profile from the aroma. That herbal/spicy note again, along with citrus and pine. It was odd, but kept me sipping, wondering, and untimately really enjoying it.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Glad to see this in the LCBO. ABV on bottle is 5%

A - Pours golden blonde. Bright. Good carbonation. Soapy one finger white head. Thin rings of minor lace and a film of retention.

S - Soapy. Some pine. Good citrus. Fairly muted. Citrus comes out more as it opens up as opposed to the initial pine. Bread or crackers. Kinda tame.

T - Intial hops and soapiness. Some citrus and resins. Quite hoppy with the citrus and an apple juice note?

M - Nice carbonation, medium body and a nice bitterness lingering and drying out the tongue. Maybe that's why I pounded half the bottle in a few sips.

O/D - Not a bad one at all. Fresh is probably best for smaller brews of questionable quality control standards here in Ontario. Easy to drink but not overly complex or structured. That said, an average IPA.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to pint glass.

A - Light amber/yellow colour, translucent, with a small amount of white head that quickly disappeared.

S - Sweet bready malts noticeable initially. A mils citrus hop aroma is present as well, but is definitely in the background. Not the nose I expected for a west coast pale ale.

T - A good hop bitterness up front with some pine notes. A slight sweet caramel malt backbone makes this a somewhat balanced pale ale. Overall, the crisp, bitter citrus hop bite is the dominant flavour, as expected for the style.

M - Medium body, light to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer is caramel in colour. Fairly translucent. It has a thin white head that has lots of staying power.

Smell is rather faint, but unmistakably of hops. Nice but not striking.

The hops come through very strongly in the taste as well. Hop profile is dominated by pine, rather than the grapefruit citrus flavours of some IPAs. Almost woody in flavour. Tastes a bit spicy as well. Very enjoyable.

Beer has a very nice medium body, almost full. Slightly too carbonated for my tastes, but quite good.

I really enjoyed this beer. The pine focus is a nice change from most IPAs out there, and really made it stick out. Very tasty and I definitely wanted more once I was finished my pint.

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Photo of kwjd
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a pint at Volo. Pours a deep orange colour with a finger of white head with nice lacing and retention. Some citrus and piney hop aroma with a mild caramel sweetness. Flavour has bitterness, but fairly understated with a sweet malt balance. Nice carbonation level. Just an average IPA, but that is pretty good for an Ontario brewer it seems.

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Photo of atomicbolt
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a case at the brewery in Campbellford - I recommend visiting the brewery!

I poured one into a glass after drinking one from the bottle, and it was darker than I expected, a dark gold-amber with a small fluffy head. Serious hops smell, with a whole lot of pine, some fruitiness, alcohol, almost a gin smell I'd say.

A big kick of hops dominates the taste, leaving little room for anything else, which I suppose was their intention. The malt comes through with some citrus, grapefruit notes, but everything gets knocked aside when the big bitter hops hit you. Long-lasting bitterly clean finish, again with the pine taste. Not exactly well-balanced, but hey, that's the style.

Nice smooth mouthfeel, with active, buzzing carbonation to try to keep up with the hoppiness. Drinkable for the beer geeks like us, but the average Joe might prefer something more neutral.

Note: BA lists this as 6.5%, but my bottle says 5% - not sure which one to believe

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Photo of mrmanning
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the winking judge, in Hamilton, Ontario. Pours sparkling gold, putting forth a frothy white cap. Tropical fruits in the aroma, fresh leafy hops, some pine. Sweet fruity flavours are the star of the show. Pomello and lemon. Again, fresh hops with a good bite. Finishes clean, hoppy, very fruity. and better than expected. What's with all the low scores? C'mon guys...

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Photo of Derek
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this a few times... I'll finally review it.

A: Bronze with a white head, some retention & lacing.

S: Good citrus hop aroma with some underlying grainy biscuit.

T: Not an in-your-face/hop-attack IPA like a true west-coaster, but quite good none-the-less. Nice grassy citrus, biscuity grain, decent bitterness, hints of fruity esters.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body is smooth.

D: A good drinker.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer appears a clear medium pale orange, with a few fingers of creamy white head, which leaves a solid sheen of lace as it recedes. It smells of very subtle grapefruit/orange citrus hops. The taste is grassy, citrus hops, and mild caramel malt. The carbonation is fairly average, the body moderately round and full, and it finishes dry, fruity, and earthy. A decent attempt at the West Coast style, dialed down just a wee bit too much for this hophead.

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Photo of EatsTacos
4.32/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Winking Judge in Hamilton, Ont. There are some mixed reviews but I thought this was a very good and hoppy beer.

Slightly cloudy pale gold colour with a thin one finger head. The head could be stirred up easily and it didn't really leave a lot of lacing

The aroma is very hoppy and citrusy. Grapefruits, lemon and lime, orange peel. Floral aromatic hops are really resiny here and the nose is quite good.

This beer is really a showcase of hops and is not really balanced at all, but I'm pretty sure that was the intention of the brewer. The malt isn't completely drowned out and is just enough to provide a firm background to the hops. The bitterness is intense in the finish, and the hoppyness is very resiny and piney. Grapefruit juice from start to finish

The mouthfeel is a bit thin for me, but I appreciate the low carbonation which is soft and makes this beer pretty drinkable and great with food.

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Photo of stagger
3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I figured this would be one of those "every region has one" unexceptionable-but-unexciting sturdy pale ales aimed at the slightly-above-macro market. From the first whiff of the bottlecap I knew I was wrong -- were those piney hops I smelled? Yes they were. Smell a tad underwhelming but those hops spice it up intriguingly. Pours a tawny amber with a nice balance of translucence and opacity. Decent sticky lacing all the way down; a nice testament to a well-brewed beer. Although I would have called this a Pale Ale (as the brewery does) rather than an IPA, it's really somewhere in between the two styles -- maybe an intro to hops for those unready for a DIPA. The malts could have used a beefing up, though, to balance the hops out -- taste is on the thin and bitter side; unikely to woo macro drinkers over. Caramel is present but could have more heft. Bitter, almost tart aftertaste knocks half a point off and that, combined with a thin mouthfeel, make overall drinkability an issue. I'd probably be more favourably inclined toward this beer if it were brewed on home turf -- it's a sight better than anything my two preeminent local micros have available. Many thanks to MeisterBurger for the opportunity to taste this one! CanBIF 5.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.76/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up 24 from the brewery after doing a tasting at the (freezing cold) brewery.

A: Kind of a yellowy medium amber. Nice, fizzy head. Lovely, sloppy lacing.

S: Subtle but you can smell the piney citrusiness of the hops.

T: Nicely bitter. It's listed here as an IPA but it reminds me a LOT of a not-quite-as good, non-dry-hopped Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and I think calling it a Pale Ale is closer to the mark than listing it as an IPA. It could use a little more of a malt backbone but my hat is off to any Ontario brewer that makes a hoppy ale (beggers can't be choosers in this province). But this seems like a one-note Chinook hop bomb that could use a little more depth.

M: Nicely carbonated, full, but oily and chewy.

D: I love hops so I could happily drink plenty of these.

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Photo of cyrenaica
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle
6.5% ABV

I tried this beer on January 10, 2008 at "Smokeless Joe's" in Toronto. The beer poured a hazy orange-gold colour with a thin white head. The aroma was very hoppy with perfumy and citrusy tones. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied with medium to high carbonation. The flavour was definitely strong on the hops with a definite grapefruit flavour. A nice bitter finish.

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Photo of bobsy
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Volo. This beer poured a beautiful rich amber, with a good white head sat proudly atop. Promising hoppy aroma indicate this isn't like a Keith's IPA. The taste backs this up. Pleasantly bitter, yet still managing to be creamy. Not as heavy on the hops as some west coast IPAs, but very well-balanced.

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Photo of funkengruven
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A pint of hoppy goodness, this poured a typical pale ale yellow/orange with a little head, smell was very piney, grapefruity too. This too is dominant in the flavor, essentially, hop juice. I found this to be rather enjoyable actually. A piney body, with a grapefruit finish. It would be better if the malt was better balanced against the hops, but even with that being said this was a pretty decent brew. Definitely more hops than most Ontario brews.

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Photo of BrewSomerville
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Agusta's Winking Judge in Hamilton.

Aroma: Grapefruit, tangerine, pine. Apple. It's all hops in the aroma, except for the apple.

Looks: Light gold in colour. Small white head. Nice, fine lacing.

Taste: Pine, Good bittering. Some grass. Not as much citrus as in the aroma. Spicy orange peel.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied. Crisp, prickly carbonation. Over carbonated

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear yellow with a sticky frothy head.

S - Fruitiness and apple dominate the nose.

T - Apple flavour is less than expected from the aromas. Tasting a lot of pear, and floral hops and some woodiness.

M - Light bodied and somewhat slick.

D - The flavour profile wasn't what I expected. Hops were a bit pungent (an odd comment I guess - usually I like a hoppy beer) in an unexpected way. Wouldn't call this good or bad.

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Photo of pootz
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at the Castle

Tapped a lush dark orange with a sticky rich 3 finger cap that laces well.

Rich juicy citrus (Grapefruit) and floral tones over copious toffee- bready malts.

This is a luxurious ale in the mouth, silken, rich, dripping with Cascade hop cone citrus and balanced with sweet malts with a woody-earthy under tone...finish is profuse...bloody marvelous...the best IPA in this Ontario market hands down.

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Photo of tatterdash
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear amber with a creamy white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma is a blast of cascade hops (grapefruit, citrus), some floral esters as well. Taste was another blast of cascade, with a sweet malty middle, and very long finish of hop bitterness. Mouthfeel was crisp, but not soft like a pilsener. Very drinkable, great on the patio and in the spring.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This IPA pours a rusty amber color with frothy ivory head that lasts a little while. Plenty of lace webs adorn the glass. This doesnt smell as brashly bitter as I was hoping. Grapefruity hops are the first thing I notice in the nose. A good measure of malt sweetness shows prominently. The taste is hoppy but more balanced than most west coast IPAs. Sticky, piney, citrusy, crushed hop cones mingle with a caramelly dark malt flavor. The toasty malt profile tends to get in the way of the hop barrage. The finish is bitter but definitely not numbingly so. The mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation and some lingering bitters.

A very tastey IPA with lots of great PacNW hop flavors and a prominent malt presence. An excellent beer worth trying.

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Church-Key West Coast Pale Ale from Church-Key Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 44 ratings.
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