Shelter Pale Ale
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Shelter Pale AleShelter Pale Ale
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Pale Ale - American
Ranked #2,922
Ranked #49,061
3.39 | pDev: 14.16%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
Shelter Pale AleShelter Pale Ale
Notes: Brewed with a premium barley and northwestern Williamette and Columbus hops, Shelter Pale Ale has a fine malt backbone and a slightly nutty flavor. It's a versatile and quaffable beer.

We named this beer Shelter Pale Ale because we think of a shelter as being a place you come home to. It just made sense for this Dogfish original.

30 IBU
Reviews: 477 | Ratings: 780 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Gajo74
Gajo74 from New York

3.63/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Chesapeake & Maine, Rehoboth Beach, DE.

Pours a clear dark straw, nearly copper color; a bit dark for a pale ale. A moderate head shows decent retention.

The nose displays notes of lightly toasty, bready and grainy malts. Furthermore, there are lightly hoppy aromas that evoke notes of grass, citrus and floral/fruity spices.

Surprisingly clean flavor profile, dry palate amidst a medium to slightly watery body. Dry bready and lightly toasted malt flavors balanced by grassy, floral and earthy hops spices, and citrusy zest. Moderate and clean bitterness counteracts a very mild touch of caramel sweetness. Crisp mouthfeel, lively carbonated and dry finish.

I was a bit surprised by how seemingly “bland” this was considering how I’m used to complex and often over the top flavors from DFH. I didn’t think it was particularly great, but it was refreshing and drinkable.

Jul 04, 2020
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.12/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Much like the Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster, this is the ever rare, 'normal' DFH beer, elusive, but how is it?

Pours the standard amber and yellow appearance with a 1/2" white head. Mild grassy grain aroma.

Mild taste, not much hoppiness or bitterness, those Willamette hops make for a more mainstream kind of pale ale, quaffable as they say. The grain bill is standard two row with maybe some toasted honey malt. Hopped more like a mass produced lager than anything, I don't know if this had any dry hopping. There are no off flavors, its simply a very pedestrian thing, which I guess is challenging to DFH most of the time. Herbalistic at times.

This could easily be called an English pale ale just as easily.

Sep 09, 2016
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Jacobier10 from New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap @ Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

Lots of "off-centered" offerings at the brewpub, but I decided to go with the original pale ale, first released in 1995, that is currently only available on draft in Delaware.

Served in a pint glass, it arrives medium amber with a slight haziness and a firm white head. Light, fresh biscuit and caramel malt in the nose combined with bright, floral hops. Really well-balanced flavor with a bittersweet finish. Medium bodied, soft carbonation, clean, and very smooth.

Overall, this was a winner for me. Maybe having it fresh at the source helped, but kudos to Dogfish Head if that's the case. Made for a great accompaniment to the wings, pretzel bites, and fried pickles we shared at the table.

Aug 29, 2016
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NiceTaps from New Jersey

3.52/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at their joint in Rehobeth Beach, DE.

Hazy copper color with a 1f white head. Mega lacing and good retention.

Caramel malt and modest hop aromas. Some citrus and tropical hops. Earth and some pine.

More malt flavor. The "nutty" comes from pine hop flavor.
Chewy. Other than that, it's nothing special.

Decent enough but likely a one-off for me.

Jul 09, 2016
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: gold with slight haze, 1.5” head dissipates but leaves good lacing.
S: bready malt with slight hop aromas
T: Moderate malt flavors with a mild hop background. A little sweet in the background, very pleasant – the finish is dry with nice lingering hop flavors.
M: Medium body and carboation.
O: An easy to drink American pale ale.

Apr 05, 2015
Photo of Mertzy81
Mertzy81 from Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Golden color, clear enough to easily read a book through. Big, soapy, off-white head that settles slowly; patchy, sudsy lace that slips down the sides of the glass. Aroma well balanced between bready malt, caramel sweetness, and fresh hops from the Willamette and Columbus additions.

Very nice flavor with good toasted malt character, moderate sweetness, and very fresh, complex hops. Mildly bitter, citric and herbal. Tasty and different than many other APA's. A bit more of an almost English hop profile, less West Coast vibe, no Cascade here as far as I know.

Crisp carbonation, almost a bit prickly, lots of life in the mouth. Medium thin body, lingers just a bit. Very fresh, very refreshing.

Mar 04, 2013
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Phelps from Arizona

3.26/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Usually only available at the Rehoboth brewpub, is beer was brought out to AZ for the annual Beer for Brains Bocce Brew-Ha-Ha. This was poured from a jockey box into a shaker pint.

Light, mostly clear copper. One finger of fuzzy head very close to pure white.

Mild, slightly fruity nose. Fresh cut grass, flowers, a little apricot, a touch of biscuit.

More English-tasting here. A little caramel, some biscuit, mild earthy bitterness. Some flowers. Dry finish.

Medium-light body, mild massaging carbonation. A fair amount of fizz. Super dry, crisp, quenching finish.

Not super memorable, but drinkable as hell, which works for this event.

Nov 06, 2012
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TheMultiYeast from Vermont

3.63/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours golden amber with a finger of head

Smells nice..leans toward malts with light wave of hops. Almost sugary sweetness with toasted biscuits. Grassy

More malt in taste, caramelized sugar, then herbal hop notes, very little bitterness.

Prickly carbonation, good for a session.

Falls short of some hoppier APAs but enjoyable.

Sep 05, 2012
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004 from Illinois

3.18/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, DE

A: thin head on a clear golden with amber hues
Body. Some lacing.

S: aroma is very very light with mostly orange citrus and caramel malts.

T: sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, candied citrus and light herbal hop notes.

M: lighter side of medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: not very aromatous or flavorful. Very simple and drinkable but I wouldn't have this one again.

Jul 28, 2012
Photo of Eddxii
Eddxii from Florida

3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shelter pours a clear light amber with a medium head that dissipates rather quickly. A goodly amount of bubbles dance within and the outer lacing is hearty along the sides of the glass.

It smells of hops, as one would expect, but not overpoweringly so, and the light but solid malt notes hover underneath.

It tastes like…well, beer. This is not meant to be glib, but rather signifies that Shelter is a decent archetype of the American Pale Ale style. Though the word 'boring' would carry too negative of a connotation, Shelter is an unexciting beer that won’t garner much of a reaction in any direction.

There are better beers and there are certainly worse beers, and so I see Shelter as an overhang. It’s comfortable, it’s appreciated, but it’s not someplace to remain for a long time. Though Shelter is not quite on the same rung as Sam Adams’ Boston Lager, it fills a similar role. It is drinkable, enjoyable, and provides a respectable presence in a gathering of friends. Overall, Shelter is a solid, if uninspiring flagship beer.

Jun 22, 2012
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rlee1390 from Indiana

3.38/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear amber orange, some carbonation, two finger head with some lacing

S-Malt and not much else, boring.

T-Malt with some grassy hops and some spices

M-Medium bodied with some carbonation

O-A boring beer, I see why DFH doesn't distribute it, but it owuld serve as a nice beer for people who aren't into craft. Glad I found a bottle at the local store to say I've tried it.

Mar 07, 2012
Photo of tobelerone
tobelerone from New Jersey

3.76/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 12 days prior to review, picked up at Total Wine in Delaware. Figures they get the DFH stuff fresh.

Golden color, clear enough to easily read a book through. Big, soapy, off-white head that settles slowly; patchy, sudsy lace that slips down the sides of the glass. Aroma well balanced between bready malt, caramel sweetness, and fresh hops from the Willamette and Columbus additions.

Very nice flavor with good toasted malt character, moderate sweetness, and very fresh, complex hops. Mildly bitter, citric and herbal. Tasty and different than many other APA's. A bit more of an almost English hop profile, less West Coast vibe, no Cascade here as far as I know.

Crisp carbonation, almost a bit prickly, lots of life in the mouth. Medium thin body, lingers just a bit. Very fresh, very refreshing.

Dec 20, 2011
Photo of Immortale25
Immortale25 from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Shiner Bock pint glass. Says bottled on 7/19/11. Figured I'd better review this one because a. It's low in alcohol so it'll probably spoil soon and b. I live in Florida now and this one is only distributed in Delaware and the neighboring states so it's the last one I'll have until I go back.

A- Pours a dark gold color with a 1/4 inch head that lowers to a thin ring with random foam formation on the surface.

S- Has a bready, biscuity malt nose with hops trailing behind it. A bit of caramel sweetness accompanied by flashes of cereal grain.

T- Flavors of cracker, bread and sugar cookie come through at first with a distant yet noticeable amount of hop bitterness. A faint wheat taste is also present although not necessarily detectable until it's sought out. I used to think this was a pretty bitter beer for how low in alcohol it is but now I find myself more drawn to the malt notes it possesses. Go figure.

M- Medium carbonation with a hop bite that's present but not all there. Goes down easy yet still feels like you're drinking a somewhat hearty beer.

O- As solid of a pale ale as they come. One of the first beers that got me into the craft brew scene.

Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Heatwave33
Heatwave33 from Florida

4.45/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Slighltly hazy golden orange with a white head.

Smell: Caramel malts, hops and citrus.

Taste: Caramel malts, citrus and hops.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, smooth with a mid dryness.

Overall: Finally the one that started it all! Well balanced, crisp and a nice citrus tone. A great subtle brew to relax with. Cheers!

Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Stunner97
Stunner97 from New Jersey

2.96/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- amber in color and very murky in appearance, thick tan head remains for quite sometime, nice look,

Smell- the smell is quite faint, light hop and malt

Taste- very light hops and malts, nothing really dominate in this flavor profile, its not bad in flavor just rather bland,

Mouthfeel- light bodied with crisp carbonation,

Drinkability/overall- I can see why this beer is probably not widely made by dogfish its probably overall the weakest of any dogfish beer I have ever tried, its not that its bad its just incredibly bland and plain, nothing i would see myself buying if available cuz just so many more flavorful options out there

Nov 09, 2011
Photo of jsprain1
jsprain1 from Minnesota

3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear golden, thick white head that lasts well. Lacing is minimal.
S- Aroma is slighty grassy, butterscotch, and apple.
T- It comes off a bit sweet as the hop presence is fairly low. There is a toffee/butterscotch flavor to it, as well as a light apple peel flavor. Hops show up in the finish but stay relatively muted.
M- Medium body, could have used a shade more carbonation.
O- Interesting to see DFH's less off-centered brew. I enjoyed it well enough, but I wouldn't say anything about it particularly was memorable or exciting.

Oct 19, 2011
Photo of devinoconnor
devinoconnor from New Jersey

3.37/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden color with an abundance of head even from a bottle. My first letdown from Dogfish. Later was told it's one of their original beers, which makes sense since it's safe, boring, and much like the larger mass-produced companies.

Smell is nice. Some hops come through, but the taste is very bland. Tastes more like a larger than ale, and those hops on the nose seem to disappear.

Reminds me of a heavier-bodied Miller Lite. Not worth going out of your way for, but if you're a Dogfish Head (Head), you owe it to yourself to give it a run when in the Mid-Atlantic states.

Oct 14, 2011
Photo of Radome
Radome from Florida

3.25/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted on tap at Dogfish Head Alehouse in Falls Church, VA.

A - Beer is a copper color, a bit darker than 60 Minute, which I sampled in the same session. It is very clear. The head is thin, even on the initial pour.

S - Generic but clean beer aroma, more like a lager than an ale. Low hops aroma that strike me as more noble in variety than American

T - Clean malt, a bit of hop flavor, but not much. A dry finish with some hop bitterness that comes across as almost soap-like. Not much complexity or flavor development.

M - Light body, a moderate amount of carbonation.

O - Overall a well-made beer, but very generic and uninteresting. It is certainly the least memorable beer that I have ever had from DFH and I don't need to have it again.

Oct 11, 2011
Photo of VaTechHopHead

2.94/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Typical dark goldenrod in color with a large foamy head which leaves lots of thin lacing. Crystal clear and tons of carbonation.

S - For an APA its kind of dull and the light toasted malts are the main aroma in this one. The hops add a slight floral aroma right at the end.

T - Doesn't remind me of an APA at all. Almost no hop presence until at the very end of the aftertaste where a slight bitterness can be picked out. The body is mainly light caramel and light roasted malts. Nothing special at all.

M - A little under carbonated for my liking but has a nice medium body. Once it warms a little it becomes more boring.

O - For a company who makes "Off-centered ales for off-centered people" this one is very off-centered at all.

Sep 14, 2011
Photo of jcartamdg
jcartamdg from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden honey with a two finger head that sticks around, great lacing throughout. Aroma of hops upfront with malts in the back, taste follows the nose, low hop profile compared to newer pale ales. Smooth and easy to drink. This beer doesn't have the best ratings on here but I like it, it's a great summer lawnmower beer and great beer to introduce others to craft.

Sep 04, 2011
Photo of mikeg67
mikeg67 from New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at the DFH brew pub. Pours light amber hue with a thin, white head and some lacing. Aroma is of caramel malt and ripe fruit. Medium, smooth body. Caramel malt, ripe fruit and earthy hops nicely balanced on the palate. Very nice session pale ale.

Aug 27, 2011
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Sipchue from Pennsylvania

4.62/5  rDev +36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

DFH never said that they're shooting for a particular style. You could argue that it's a Pale Ale, so it should act like one. It does, but in it's own, unique, refreshing way. The color is pleasantly light with good lacing. The aroma is fresh and round - not overwhelming on the malt or the hops. I rated the taste as exceptional, not because it fulfills any particular style parameters, but because it pleases me a great deal. In fact, the well-roundness of the flavor profile is what truly makes this brew stand out. The flavors coated my buds for a good 10-15 minutes after the last sip, with no regrets at both refrigerator temperature and at rest. Good job, Dogfish Head!

Aug 16, 2011
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

3.34/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap into a pint glass, the beer is a vibrant, clear, copper coloring with increased carbonation and a thin layer of film atop. Mild aromas of semi-sweet malt, with only the lightest hint of any hopping. Flavors are smooth, with a brown-sugar sweetness and a crisp feel from the increased carbonation. Mid-bodied with a decent lacing along the glass while you drink. The aftertaste is a little sour and drying, with a bitter presence from the hops. Dry and astringent finish, making a clean break at the end. Well balanced, but not overly memorable or remarkable for the style. Decent brew.

Aug 08, 2011
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.17/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

hazy burnt amber orange with a big white frothy head that slowly faded and left behind a multitude of lacey goodness in its wake. Smell is very malty. Slight hint of a citrus hoppiness in the back but main flavors were grain and musty malty bread. Taste followed a similar route, crisp clean, and the finish was very light and orange tinged in flavor. Overall this was a very quality brew and a fine pale ale.

Aug 07, 2011
Photo of jondeelee
jondeelee from Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enthusiasts familiar with Dogfish Head's standard beers will no doubt be surprised that the brewery is capable of making something light and understated, but Shelter Pale Ale is exactly that: an easily drinkable ale with mass-appeal potential. The brew starts off light and appealing on the nose, full of toast and toasted grain notes, with brown sugar, apples, and oranges rounding out the aroma.

On the tongue, light fruit esters such as white grape, apples, apricots, and lychee nut appear up front, followed by a nice bed of biscuity toasted grains as the sugars peel back and fade. A slight citrus tang and bitterness evidences the presence of hops, but the beer is clean and smooth, and not at all the hop monster that might be expected from a brewery that makes a 120 Minute IPA. The aftertaste is a whisper of toasted grain. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is an excellent pale ale, full of flavor and nicely nuanced. Shelter Pale Ale should appeal to a wide variety of drinkers, and would make an excellent choice for anyone whose most exotic brew has (so far) been limited to Anheuser-Busch products: *this* is what beer is supposed to taste like.

Aug 04, 2011
Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 780 ratings