Capital Trail Pale Ale | Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

very good
25 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Capital Trail Pale AleCapital Trail Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TechTriumph on 05-26-2013

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 182
Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

From a can, pours a bright hazy orange with active carbonation, lots of bubbles. Frothy white head that lingers.

Smell is citrus zest, orange rind, a little earthy, grass and pine needles. A nice malt backbone to balance it out.

The flavor is heavy citrus upfront, orange, lemon, then you get hit with the earthy pine that leads to a biter, but juicy finish. Well balanced, pretty active carbonation going down. A bit heavy for it to really be sessionable in my opinion, but it's really good. I like it.

 510 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev +2.8%

I was down in DC this past weekend to partake of DC Beer Week, which is where I scored this and several other CANs in furtherance of The CANQuest ™. I also wish to dedicate this bicycle-themed CAN of beer to my late Pops, a founding member of the Lancaster (PA) Bicycle Club who rode off into the sunset over thirteen years ago.
From the CAN: “Dry Hopped Pale Ale”; “Shift Gears [-] Drink Fresh”; “(Re)Cycle”; “Citrus peel, fresh cut grass and a hint of pine needles greet your senses as you approach this refreshingly balanced, dry-hopped Ameri[CAN]-style pale ale. This beer is dedicated to the hard work of the volunteers and supporters of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation. Joining the historic and current capitals of Jamestown and Richmond, the Virginia Capital Trail will provide 50+ miles of cycling, running and walking paths through stunning cities, parks and wilderness in the heart of the Old Dominion. Your purchase of this beer supports the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation.” I know that Pops would approve of this one, especially since the graphics include a bicycle chain.
The Crack! revealed that the saddlebag in this one was chock full. I really like this trend, done to reduce headspace in CANs, but with the added bonus of making the CANsumer feel like they are getting something extra. I pedaled right into an inverted Glug and watched as it shifted gears in a pseudo-cascade, settling into three fingers of dense, rocky, tawny head with good retention. The Belgian lacing that began to form was in honor of Eddy Merckx, a bike racer from Belgium who Pops admired in the Tour de France. Nose had an interesting minty bubble gum smell. Hops and yeast interacting in a different way, perhaps? Color was a slightly hazy Amber to Deep Amber (SRM = > 9, < 13). Mouthfeel was medium. Taste had the elements mentioned on the CAN of “citrus peel, fresh cut grass and a hint of pine needles”, but I was still getting an odd pink bubble gum taste also, probably yeast-driven. That is okay since Pops’ middle name was literally “Odd”. Finish was dry, slightly bitter, lingering, much like Pops’ incisive humor.

 2,159 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the can into a tulip pint glass.

Dull apricot orange looking body, a bit murky there, with about a two finger bone colored white head, and some creamy retention.

Quite a nice hop forward pale ale aroma. Some dank aromas, thick pine forest and a little bit of grapefruit slightly. Hints more towards the earth/dank side than the fruit, a little bit of chewy malt and slight biscuit also.

Palate brings solid expected flavors. Slightly wet but easily in the pale ale realm, quick burst of hop earth and pine. Finishes citrusy a little bit, with more pine and spruce like aromatics to match.

Overall just a classic American style hop forward pale ale. Good solid drinker, reminds me a little bit of DC Brau's Public but a bit different.

 749 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a shaker pint, the beer is a hazy, bright, caramel-copper coloring with a clingy, dense, foamy, white head. Aromas of caramel, toast, orange peel, and subtle piney notes. Flavors are balanced, with a caramel sweet forward note blended heavily with citrus notes, as well as a good dose of bitter and dry grass and pine. Roasted overtones, too, but the bitterness ultimately prevails into the aftertaste, with resinous notes dominating. Dry, with a mid-body feel, all the way into the slick, slow finish with a lingering bitterness. Good, well balanced pale.

 579 characters

Photo of tone77
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A big thanks to the legendary woodychandler for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a dark golden/orange color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of hops, some citrus. Taste is good. A bit hoppy, but not overpowering, some citrus, very drinkable, glass seems to be emptying quickly. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer.

 348 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a cloudy orange body with one finger head that leaves a lace ring around the glass. Bitter, piney, dry citric hops make up most of aroma with minimal sweet malts. Light bodied, crisp, the hops give off a citric and piney feel and finish dry. Some sweet and bread malts add to body and add some balance but nothing special about this beer.

 347 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can into a pint glass.

A: Pours a murky copper color - there's a lot of sediment, in fact (then again, it was freshly canned...) The head is a finger high and very pale yellow in shade. For a small head, the retention is quite good, but there isn't a huge amount of lacing left behind.

S: The hops here seem very dank and floral. Maybe even weed-like. This character plays very well with the caramely malt backbone. Only thing I can really complain about is the lack of citrusy notes, but that's more personal preference than anything. The aroma still works quite well.

T: The flavor profile seems to be very English in character - only Hardywood actually bothered to make this one hoppy. Not only does the initial hoppiness seem floral and dank, it also seems earthy and even apricoty. Of course, it's also somewhat malty. I'm getting the typical caramel and toffee notes in particular. The hop/malt interplay is ultimately successful, leading to a rock-solid balanced pale ale.

M: There's NOTHING like an unfiltered pale ale on the palate - what they lack in cleanliness, they more than make up for in being unbelievably crisp and dry finishing. This is no exception. The unfiltered bite counteracts the healthy malt backbone quite well. It's not bone dry, though I don't care. It's still easy to drink.

O: I enjoy this one quite a bit. The hop level is perfect as far as I'm concerned - even if it's not my preferred style of hops - and the malts don't obstruct excessively. While it lacks a proper wow factor, it's definitely something that's worth drinking.

 1,574 characters

Photo of tectactoe
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to smokeypeat for this one. It sits in the glass, pale straw at the bottom, arrearing more amber near the top. Very cloudy throughout the entire brew, almost to the point of being opaque, with lots of tiny pieces of yeasty sediment floating around. The soapy, tan-ish head recedes to a skin pretty quickly and doesn't leave behind much lace.

The nose on this one reminds me a bit of one of my homebrews. Lots of hops, but in a very raw and unabashed manner. Spicy, floral, earthy, dirty... It keeps a good balance between being light and being "in your face" all at once. The back end has a touch of light citrus rind, although fruit notes in this one are minimal - it's more about the raw hoppiness.

A sharp bitterness hits your palate up front, then fades nicely, leading the way into the rest of the flavor profile. Raw hops, herbal, ashy, floral, very "wet" tasting, even though this isn't a "wet" hopped brew. The hops taste a bit more vibrant and less dirty than they smell, but the synthesis between aroma and flavor is nice.

Some white pepper-covered grapefruit peels hang in the balance, however they still take a backseat to the herbal essence of the hops. Very mild pine in the aftertaste with a touch of tangerine. Strangely enough, I notice that the tangerine flavors grow quite a bit as the beer warms up. That's a shame, because this beer will typically be gone before it has time to get "warm". Light, crisp mouth feel with plenty of carbonation.

Very solid pale ale, and it's good to see Hardywood in cans. I love canned beers, and I especially love canned pale ales. What a perfect combination, right? Solid aroma, good flavors, and another beer to throw back on a nice, summer afternoon. Too bad Hardywood hasn't made its way to Michigan yet.

 1,772 characters

Photo of KTCamm
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6/1...can pours hazy copper with foamy white lid and lacing. Caramel, malty, toast (light) with toffee and breads. Light sweet malt taste, medium hop. Mostly caramel coming through. Very good.

 192 characters

Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice golden orange with a fluffy white head.
S- Earthy hops and semisweet malt.
T- The hops over power the malt too much here. Needs a little more sweetness to balance it out.
M- Light to medium carbonation. Slightly drying
D- Maybe I got an older can but this kind of missed the mark. Drinkable, just not great.

 315 characters

Photo of argock
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz can into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Canned on 07/18/14 on bottom of can. Served at 45F. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Slightly hazy orange-light amber with good clarity, 1-finger off-white head with decent retention but no lacing.

S: Big pine and grapefruit aromas with some peppery notes, dankness as well, and more pithy citrus too. Pale malt aroma is most crackery. No yeast or alcohol notes.

T: Very fresh hop type of flavor with very heavy pine and grapefruit citrus. little bit of pale malt cracker notes with a light honey sweetness. There are more honeydew melon as the beer warms a little more. I think this beer might taste better in a few weeks as the hops are a bit much and prevents the beer from being as balanced as it probably should be because now it is mostly hops and borders on astringent for me. High bitterness.

M: Very oily and coating with even carbonation and medium body.

O: A lot better than the HP Cream Ale that preceded it but might help to sit and settle for a couple more weeks. I will try to pick up some more from this run and see if it is a little more mellow and less biting.

 1,175 characters

Photo of Treyliff
4.31/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Canned on 7/18/14, poured into pint

A- pours a clear golden amber color with a small sudsy white head that leaves a bit of lacing behind

S- big fruity hop aromas, picking up some tropical notes of mango, guava , grapefruit juice and orange peel, even picking up some Belgian-ish banana aroma. Earthy and grassy notes mix with a candied sweet malt aroma to round it out

T- the fruity hops are just as present in the taste; guava, grapefruit & peach. Hints of grassy and piney hops, lead to a sugary malt that compliments the fruity flavors nicely. The finish is dry with more fruit on the linger

M- medium body with medium-low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a creamy finish

O- so well balanced and drinkable with amazing fruity hop notes, wish I had more than one

 780 characters

Photo of HattedClassic
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice white and foamy head that takes a while to dissipate. The beer itself is a deep gold that's bordering on a pale amber. The effect is a pretty nice-looking beer.

The beer smell is very hop forward. The beer definitely has that dry hopped citrus smell that is a bit balanced by the malt notes. The malt is a nice sweet smell that makes the citrus notes smell even better by turning into a kind of orange note.

The beer taste is as hop-forward as the smell but without as strong a malt presence. As a result, the beer has a much strong citrus note in the taste and aftertaste. Although, the malts do have a small sweet presence that is nice.

The mouthfeel is pretty light compared to an IPA. The feel is smooth but light with some nice carbonation. Also a slightly dry aftertaste.

Overrall, a pretty good Pale ale and beer. This one is definitely worth getting over the summer season and drinking on the trail.

 933 characters

Photo of AndrewMichael
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can poured into a tulip style glass.
Hardywood does great beers, so I've been meaning to try this one for some time now.
It doesn't disappoint, as it's a real nice dry hopped, bitter pale ale.

 200 characters

Photo of delta490
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

Pours a cloudy orange-gold with a thick foamy white head. The head offers up some nice soapy lacing, with a little bit hanging to the walls of the glass. The aroma is as advertized, citrus, pine, and just a hint of earth. The taste holds up, but is a little less defined than its aroma. Its more of a muddle of flavors and it doesn't blend very well. The body is lighter, but not watery and there is a good amount of carbonation on the finish.

 443 characters

Photo of cavedave
3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear gold with a couple fingers of quick to relax off white lather atop. Spotty lace clings and head turns to a partial skim.

Hints of tart yeast combine with light citrus pith, caramel, a bit of orange peel, and some herbal, grassy notes in a very light strength aroma.

All the flavors of the aroma, nicely balanced, in a light/med. strength taste. Some pine notes accompany the herbal bitter for a dry end of sip.

Nicely low carb., nicely viscous, some good bitter linger that stays pretty clean.

All in all a decent beer with no flaws. Tasty and refreshing, but average in almost all ways.

 606 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, dark golden amber color with deep orange hues, and a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with nice aromas of bready, toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked bread and biscuits. There are also aromas of black pepper, straw, honey, and caramel as well as floral, citrus-like, grassy, piney, hops.

Taste: Quite nice. Malty and hoppy, maybe skewed towards hoppy, but not too bad. Toasted malt up front, followed by some caramel-like sweetness, black pepper, and finished by some very pronounced, floral, piney, citrusy, resin-like, bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, crisp and very nicely effervescent, as there is quite a bit of carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 5.6%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is certainly an American-style pale ale! Hoppy and malty with lots of black pepper, citrus, grassy, resin-like, bitter hops. I like it, but could only drink one in a sitting, as the hops would just wreck my palate and fatigue it all to hell! Hop heads should really like this, though!

 1,246 characters

Photo of droomyster
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The can pours a hazy dark orange body with a super frumpy and long-lasting white head that smells of orange peel, lemon candies, and spices. Taste is sweet and candied up front, unusual but pleasant for a pale ale, before citrus zest balances the mid-palate and a balanced bitter sweetness rolls out the conclusion. Aggressive and unapologetic in its flavors, I admire the brashness of this pale ale. It has a lot going on and yet achieves the balance that we've come to expect from the best members of its style.

 513 characters

Photo of athomasPSU
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark amber color. Light pale head that fades away.
Lots of citrus and orange peel on the nose. Hints of pine and grass.
Lighter mouth feel but has some body. Nice feel for a pale.
Taste is great. Awesome pale with massive hops up front and a solid malt backbone. Very well balanced.
Overall this would be a great beer for camping or a boat trip or just hanging by a bon fire. Wish I could get more.
Thanks to upton7418 for the extra in our trade.

 452 characters

Photo of vabeerguy
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into an IPA glass. It has a dark orange color and a lot of bubbling as well as lacing. Taste seems closer to an IPA in that it has a lingering, but tasty, bitterness. This is definitely on my "to buy again" list.

 233 characters

Photo of TechTriumph
4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No canned date; Poured in a pint glass.

A - About half an inch of off-white carbonated head with okay retention; Light orange-ish shade of amber in color; Pretty hazy with lots of floating sediment; Some webs of lacing left behind

S - Very well balanced with a pleasant profile - blend of citrus, light pine, grassy, and light herbal hops with a good bit of toasty, biscuity, and caramel character

T - Nicely balanced here as well with flavors meshing together quite well; Pretty solid hop profile without bringing a lot of bitterness, but utilizing a bit of sweetness - citrus and grapefruit with grassy character as well; White pepper; Lots of biscuity and lightly toasted malts; Caramel present as well

M - Carbonation is a bit above moderate; Medium bodied or a tad less; Smooth body with a fairly dry finish

O - This is no doubt a solid pale ale, as expected coming from Hardywood. I'm not sure how much of this was canned, or if it will make an appearance in the future, but I'd definitely grab another six pack if the opportunity arose. It's good to see this, as well as many other tasty and local pale ales, finding their way on the shelves. The future of beer is looking bright for the state of VA.

 1,222 characters

Photo of hops202
4.53/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Can poured into pint glass

A - nice cloudy copper haze

S - yummy hops and pine with great freshness. Slight hint of citrus but barely there.

T - great well balanced PA. Hardywood has done well here.

M - not dry and super easy to drink. Almost a hint of creaminess as it goes down. Quite rare with pale ale and delicious.

O - very impressed and will be a summer staple if continually available.

 402 characters

Photo of cw577enfield
4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No canned date. Poured into a snifter.

A: Yellow/Orange hue, similar to amber color. One finger of head, some retention.

S: Pops out with its aroma, very intriguing. Could pick up notes of citrus, pine, and malts.

T: Hop-forward taste, with some bitterness. Good balance.

M: Medium-bodied with good carbonation and malty flavor.

O: I think Hardywood did a solid job for their first try with pale ale. I certainly wouldn't mind picking up this six-pack again. Right now, it's only being sold at the brewery, as far as I know.

 530 characters

Photo of citizencane
4.29/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My go-to and one of my favorites. Neither look nor smell are particularly impressive, but I love the taste: bitter piney hops with a hint of chewy citrus, and some sweetness thrown in. Having had both more than once, I can definitely tell this is the same brewery that make their pils- theres are some definite similarities. Who's complaining? Not this guy.

 361 characters

Photo of beerdedking
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Drank from the can. Appearance? Dunno. Nose? Didn't think about it. Taste? Well now we have something to discuss. This is easily the most resinous Pale I've ever had. Grapefruit rind, lemon zest, and pine galore drill themselves into your palate, and before you know it, you're not tasting anything else for the evening. 5.6 ABV? Seems impossible to destroy the taste buds with this ABV, but it is a killer. IPA fans take notice. Nicely done Hardywood, I'll be grabbing a sixer next time I see Capital Trail...

 522 characters

Capital Trail Pale Ale from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
3.89 out of 5 based on 182 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.