1500 Pale Ale | Drake's Brewing Co.

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1500 Pale Ale1500 Pale Ale
Very Good
498 Ratings
1500 Pale Ale1500 Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
As we approached our 1500th batch in San Leandro, the brewers decided to attempt something different. They set out to make a pale ale with a clean, stripped down malt bill and plenty of late addition hops that would give the beer huge flavors and aromas of bright citrusy American hops without overwhelming the balance with bitterness. The resulting beer packed the aromatic and flavorful hop punch of a West Coast-style IPA at a very easy drinking 5.5% ABV. The brewer and the people loved it. Now 1500 is a Drake’s flagship beer.

Malt: American 2-Row Barley, Patagonia Crystal 35
Hops: Bittering – Warrior; Whirlpool – Simcoe, Cascade, & Amarillo
Dry-hop: Simcoe & Amarillo
Yeast: White Labs 001
Original Gravity: 12.2 degrees Plato
IBUs: 48

Added by oggg on 08-02-2005

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 498 |  Reviews: 140
Photo of MiScusi
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Father's Office in Los Angeles.

A- Golden in color with a thick foamy white head.

S- sharp fruity hops, like fruit loops, very aromatic for a pale ale.

T- Citrusy, lots of hops, noticeably balanced like a pale ale with the base malt and a bit of crystal. Still the hops come through very nice and there is a good bitterness to this. No real astringency.

M- Just a bit on the heavier side of light. Has some body to it and isn't watery, but isn't thick or syrupy either.

D- Pretty good. As much as the flavor is good in and of itself I didn't want to drink this beer all night.

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Photo of ccrida
4.84/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic pint, Drakes 1500 Pale Ale is a dull, brassy orange with an off-white head that leaves pretty heavy lace.

Smell is a big blast of grapefruit hops, spicy and resinous, some sweeter caramel malt. Love it, this is my kind of pale ale!

Taste is great, they are spot on with the IIPA hop flavor, really strong, but not overwhelming bitterness. Nice malty backbone makes up for the lack of heft normally found in hop bombs like this. Reminds me of Celebration but with way more hops, awesome.

Mouthfeel is oily and a bit chewy, medium bodied.

Drinkability is exceptional, wow. I love the huge hop flavor yet overall smoothness and light enough to really session. Super impressed with this beer.

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

Sun-splashed Sunkist orange with a generous amount of vigorous carbonation. The result is a large cap of less-than-sticky foam the color of old newspaper. The head is persistent, however, and the glass ends up with a few blips of sudsy lace.

The nose is pure West Coast APA/IPA. Plenty of juicy grapefruit makes guessing the hop bill a no-brainer. Centennial (and maybe one of the other C-hops) is almost certainly in use. The only thing that's Imperial about this 5.2% ale is that it supposedly contains an IIPA's amount of hops. We'll see about that.

1500 Pale Ale just might contain an IPA's amount of hops. Given the APA-like ABV, does that make it an Imperial pale ale? Quite possibly. Enough with the style discussion, just know that this brew is a very well-hopped, pale-malted ale that is damn tasty if you happen to be a quart low on lupulins.

Other than a slight nod toward toasted bread, the barley side of things is all crackery malt. There aren't enough malt sugars for it to be biscuity. Pure essence of white grapefruit is aided by a bit of lemoniness. Each mouthful is brought to a close with a bitter-tart, dry, crisp finish. Simple beer. Drinkable beer. Good beer.

Forget how the head looks (which isn't bad, after all), because there's a boatload of crusty lace on the glass in the end. The mouthfeel isn't as buzzy as first feared. In terms of heft, it's right on the money for the style... as long as we forget all that 'Imperial' nonsense.

1500 Pale Ale was so named because it was Drake's Brewing's 1500th batch since opening their doors in 1989. That isn't much beer over that much time, but then everything these guys brew is good to outstanding. Quality over quantity is the very definition of craft beer. Bottom line: this one doesn't disappoint... especially if you're a hophead.

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Photo of xhcadamx
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought another keg from Drake's and I AM IMPRESSED. 1500 definately lives up to the pale ale name. Golden with a hint of copper. The real beauty is in the lacing. Lots of it! Bouquets of flowers and a background of citrus. Tastes much like it smells with a bready malt and a slight bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is thin which I appreciate with this style and drinkability is very high.

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Photo of Damian
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz/355 ml bottle
Served in a pint glass

Thanks to Zorro for including this as an extra in our trade.

The beer poured a crystal clear, brassy amber color with a huge, frothy, bubbly, bright white head. A bit of yeast sneaked into the glass on the end of the pour, creating a touch of haze. Huge chunks of lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was hoppy yet somewhat restrained. Crisp, dry and powdery. Aspirin-like. Citrus notes came through strong. It was apparent that this was going to be a doozy of a hop bomb.

The taste was aggressively hoppy from start to finish. Biscuity malts appeared up front before the citrusy, resiny hops took over. Loads of grapefruit peel and orange zest were apparent. Some herbal hop notes came through as well. Ultra bitter on the finish with tons of dry, pithy hop oils, aspirin and grapefruit rind once again. Intriguing and intense yet, overall, a bit one dimensional.

The mouthfeel was lighter bodied with a lively (almost prickly), big bubbled carbonation.

Drinkability was hampered by the overwhelming bitterness and excessive carbonation. This definitely is not an "easy drinking" beer, as the label states.

Drake's #1500 Imperial Pale is one of the most aggressively hoppy and bitter beers I have sampled to date. Definitely a West Coast hop lover's wet dream, but not one for my palate.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My warmup pint to Pliny the Younger at Beachwood yesterday. On to the beer:

Just what I would expect in a West Coast pale ale, the hoppiness is big in this beer. The beer left tracings of white on the glass as it was consumed, and the nose was perfumy, with tropical fruits and pine citrus. More of the same can be said of the taste, which its slightly bready flavor gets taken over by the tropical and piney notes. There are even notes of earth. Faded herbal towards the end....not quite as clean as I'd expect, but still a quality beer

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a deep orange color with a dirty white head. Nose is orange peel, some wood and plenty of hops. Taste is tart upfront, hoppy, some wood, orange peel, grapefruit..there is lots going on here. Mouthfeel is bitter and coating. Drinkability is only average. While the beer is good one is good enough for me. The tartness of this beer leaves drinkability at average.

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Photo of Zorro
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Mildly chill hazed amber colored ale with a voluminous tan colored head.

Sweet with a nutty and woody aroma. Biscuit malt and strongly herbal hop scent, this does have a strong candy quality to it.

The taste starts out sweet and herbal with a definite savory taste to it that isn't all that common in beer. Herbal and woody is how this beer is best described.

Mouthfeel is full.

OK I just don't like this one all that much. Not that it is bad or anything but the flavor combination just doesn't gel for me for some reason. To me it is just an herbal pale ale.

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Photo of magictrokini
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark gold, lots of carbonation, and a huge, rocky explosion of a white head. Thick lacing. Big helping of pine and citrus (orange peel) in the nose; wet and grassy, with some straw. Nice, crisp, clean taste. Bitter and biscuity up front, you can really taste the crystal malt. Moves slowly into an earthy, piney IPA-like flavor as it sweetens. More citrus as well. Not necessarily a dry finish, but abrupt. Light mouthfeel. One of the best APA's I've had.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.21/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12/08/08- Purchased at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Darker amber colored pour. Larger four fingered head with a nice creamy milkshake like froth. Leaves behind excellent small clumps and patches of lace.

Smell- Nose of light toasted malt combined with a nice lightly sugary citrus hop profile.

Taste- Hmmm, definite DIPA this is not. Maybe and english pale ale or a single hopped ipa. Super sharp and bitter extreme grapefruit pith hop flavor. Really doesn't taste like anything but bitterness. Seems like only one hop as well. Malt is hidden way in the back.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation is mid range to heavy and leaves a longgg lasting bitterness on the back of the tongue.

Drinkability- I'll pass on this one in the future. It started out promising, but not really miy kind of beer.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark amber with a tough, rocky white head that isn't going anywhere.

S: Scent is a linear blunt attack of piney hops, 1-dimensional, smells like a fir tree.

T: Tons of hops for a 5.2% beer, the malt can't contain it all at once. On the first sip, had a strong biting bitterness of pine, bitter melon and alcohol which hit the tongue immediately and dissapeared, it seemed like it went up into my nose, it went so quickly, but I kept coming back. Fairly one-dimensional hop flavours, but they are good. Malt gives a light toffee, typical light amber ale flavour.

M: Fairly light-bodied, full of hop resin, can be challenging at times.

D: Definitely has more hops than expected as an APA, an interesting experiment, I thought it worked pretty well.

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Photo of bcm119
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not a DIPA; seems like a regular english/american hybrid IPA.

Smooth, balanced IPA with great biscuit malt profile along with leafy, tea-like hops. Plenty of drying bitterness from early hopping and a nice bright earthy/leafy dry hop flavor. A touch of mid-palate cookie sweetness dries right up for a clean finish. Lots of subtle finesse in this beer. It makes many over-hyped double IPA's seem clumsy. Another great beer from a great brewery.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bbothen for the bottle.

Pours clear golden orange with a helluva lot of foamy white head.

Scent of piny/earthy malts, some sweet citrus, and lots of hops. I really like the scent of this one, it may not be very traditional, but it is excellent.

Taste is of very bitter hops with an almost stinging sweetness. Earthy malts smooth this one out as the flavor starts to develop along with a hint of citrus.

Mouthfeel is smooth and light, but with some bite.

Drinks very easy, an awesome session beer.

Drinks like an PA, but smells and tastes like an Imperial IPA. I wish I could get this all the time.

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Photo of bbothen
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours rust/orange color with a bubbly 1 finger head.

Big earthy pine spruce hop aroma along with citrus hop aromas. This is a great smelling beer!

Not as hoppy as the aroma would lead you to believe. Crisp hop bitterness, but not too much. Dry finish. Very tasty.

Crisp, clean, juicy, with a dry finish.

Drinks like an IPA with a lower ABV. Sessionable? Hell yes. Pale? IIPA? Whatever, it's a great session beer at 5.2%.

I'm a fan of this beer. I need to go get me some more. Bye.

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Photo of flexabull
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New bottle at the local liquor store. Bottle says a Pale Ale that has been late hopped like a Double IPA. ABV of 5.2%

Pours a bright and slightly hazed gold color with a thin but sturdy head.

Aromas are very hoppy and nice. Mostly sweet and citrus like, with a bit of bright pine needles.

Taste is dry, and quite malty. Sweet, slightly creamy, and with a brewed tea like flavor. Finish has an earthy, crisp, clean, and pine like hop bite.

Mouthfeel is good, thick enough, and the carbonation is well done.

Bottle states that what they ended up with is a beer with intense hop aroma, but is easy drinking. I couldn't agree more. Very nice and quite sessionable. I could easily see myself picking up another sixer of this some time.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let me just say that Drakes bottles are pretty cool. They have a covering over the whole bottle that feels purty to touch.

Secondly, is this a pale ale or DIPA? The bottle says a pale ale, late hopped like an imperial IPA. I dont know, you figure it out.

Pours like a Poor mans DIPA.

Smells, malty, hoppy, but mostly candy bubble gum sweet. Very interesting smell, I love it.

Tastes crazy too. Its a DIPA light. Soft tasty hops, some caramel sweetness, but light thin body, with no apparent alcohol taste.

Finishes more stingy hoppy than is in the body.

Friend or Foe? Dont know, i'll drink it anyway.

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Photo of d0ggnate
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another draft offering while sampling beer at 21st Amendment.

A: Golden brew lively with bubbles. Thin white lasting head.
S: Pungent hops with hints of melon.
T: Smooth lemon/citrus tones.
M: Bitter spots and lingering taste.
D: A hoppy pale ale that I found enjoyable, but a bit out of character for its name. I actually did not know when I was drinking this that it was an Imperial Pale, so this makes more sense now.

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Photo of m1ked
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at 21A, cool spot.

A- Pours clear light & bright orange with a well maintained white fluffy cap.

S- Bright citrus that was a bit bitter.

T- Immediate citrus and pine notes that quckly fade without much to back it up.

M- Crisp, nice carbonation.

D- Easy drinker, very sessionable.

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Photo of rayjay
4.57/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Marin Breast Fest.

Light, pale, white toast malt body and biting grapefruit hops. A great sipping IPA. Bitter, tart, crispy, lip-smacking, exponentially refreshing. Perfect 5 for drinkability on this hot sunny day.

Why is this beer in the Double IPA category???? The brewery calls it a pale ale, but to me it's clearly an IPA.

Drake's beers always have a certain character that I love, but can't put my fingers on; a musty, earthy something (it's great). They make awesome one-off beers like this and the Whombock IPA.

Great job on this one, don't miss out. One of the most refreshing, hoppy-as-hell beers out there. Cheers.

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Photo of misterscooter
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Norm's.

I usually have to ask for the bartender to pour my beers with at list a little bit of head when I go to Norm's. This one came to me with about a finger of white foam on top of the orange/copper colored beer.

So many beers have citrus as their main smell but you often can't say more than that. This one was distinct but not overpowering citrus, primarily grapefruit. Very smooth smell. Refreshing.

Like the Drake's IPA, the hops are distinctive and quality. A nice bitterness in the first taste that mellows as it warms. The malt hangs out in the back of this flavor to balance it all. The taste is a straightforward, solid toast, just bready enough with the crisp edge.

I need to tour this brewery, dangit. Good stuff.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.8/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Had a small sample of this from fellow BA Swillinbrews glass at Hollingshead Delicatessen earlier today, holy moly, it was so damned good I instantly decided to Blag* a whole Growler of the stuff whilst I enjoyed the Russian River Temptation and Supplication that was also on draft.

Described on the Tap Handle simply as “1500 Pale Ale”, it was explained to me that this meant that it was the 1500th Batch at Drake’s and that it was a special brew ‘based’ on the standard Pale Ale produced for the occasion. Though I am not sure where the BA prefix of “Imperial” comes from, strength is supposed to be between 5.5% – 6.5% allegedly.

Appearance: Only an hour after being poured into the Growler it’s back out and into a 24 ounce straight sided Pint Glass and I have to state that it looks fucking good. This has what I would call a perfect light brown coppery “Yorkshire Bitter” body. Has a racing lively carbonation on the swirl. The head forms large then drops to a low key but dense ½” off-white colored cap that retains a stabilized appearance throughout. A thoroughly solid presentation for a Session Pale Ale.

Nose: Hmmmm, smells like an IPA. Yet upon careful consideration of the nose, at least once you get past the spicy hops, it reveals a decent biscuit malt which does actually balance the hop laden aromas. Juicy feel to the aromas.

Taste: Luscious juicy hops, biscuit malts, toasted Muffins and a light grain feel soaked in dark fruits and caramel toasties. The hops really play a huge part here, some would surely say that this is an IPA but I say neigh, neigh, neigh….this is a hoppy Pale Ale, a different breed by far. The solid malt base, biscuit hue and toasted bread soaks up some of the hops and thereby represents all that is good about hoppy West Coast Pale Ales. The hops….mmm…..they are fresh, juicy and piney too. Oh my this is so good.

Mouthfeel: An Amazonian Goddess….Big, Bold and Beautiful. Lots of juicy hops and supporting malts. Yet throughout this hops and malts battle, it retains a low ABV and maintains a superb balance that maybe the hops edge, well at least towards the end of the drink anyways.

Drinkability: OK, I filled a whole (Alpine) Growler for much less than the price of filling my Cars Gas Tank…..and I never even moved from my Apartment whilst drinking this. The Beer Mileage on this one is terrible……if you get some of this you won’t move either until you’ve polished off a few off them believe me. I don’t know what the strength is, but I do know that this is one high quality Pale Ale that has some serious IPA aspirations, it borders between the two, but the solid biscuit malt retains an English Pale Ale, whilst the Columbus and Ahtanum hops continue to tease throughout. Ladies and Gentlemen the Drake’s 1500 Pale Ale has left the Growler…..

Overall: Well bless my little Yorkshire cotton socks, I am seriously impressed by this one!!! Not only does it look great, it has more than a decent enough nose for the style, a lovely hoppy West Coast trait in the flavor profile and a seriously dangerous Drinkability. As we say in Yorkshire, “bye eck lad, tha’s a reet gud Ale”. All factored together, this is, from the tap at least, a **DO NOT MISS BEER**.

If the Meatloaf Album ‘Bat Out of Hell’ was a beer, this would be it, over the top in parts, soft yetb hard classical rock meets a massive operatic infusion in its breadth and reach…..whether you like it or not, it works, and it works well.

Did I really give a Drake's beer a 4.75?? Guess so...Paradise by the Desk Board Light…..well deserved too.

I’m heading back to Hollingshead tomorrow for another Growler of this beauty!!!

*BLAG, Brit informal. Noun. 1. Late 19C - To steal, (originally a band robbery) 2. 1940s - To deceive, to hoax, 3. 1960’s (our favourite) To persuade, especially as in “Blag in/into,” to talk one's way into a party, concert. Blagger. Verb 1. A smooth talker, a persuasive person.

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Photo of SwillinBrew
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Hollingshead. This is a pale ale late hopped like an Imperial IPA. Uses Columbus and Ahtanum hops (never heard of this hop before)

Poured a coppery Ice-T color with a tan head that lasted. The aroma was slight malt but all about hops and pine, then a bit more hops. The up front hop taste hit my mouth but with a balance i should say. It was punchy citrus and pine on a good malt backbone. Hoppy for sure, then more pure hops to follow. I am very impressed with this one and will get a growler of it.

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Photo of oggg
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Briens

Golden orange brew with soft white head. Moderate floral aroma with lots of grapefruit when swirled. On the tongue there is a solid hop bite giving way to huge juicy mouthwatering grapefruit rind. Grainy malt is present but not overdone. Full to medium body. Alcohol subtle.

Overall: Huge and juicy hop flavor, actually not that bitter.
retaste 9/19/05
Tons of grapefruit, that is the main selling point. This time I felt that the initial hop bite was a bit harsh, so I'm going to bring down the taste rating to a 4.5

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1500 Pale Ale from Drake's Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 498 ratings