Shelter Pale Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

477 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Shelter Pale AleShelter Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-16-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 477 | Ratings: 779
Photo of xnicknj
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at the brewpub - review from notes

Pours a slightly hazed copper color with a white head. Fades to a cloud of film with some streaks and dots of lacing on the glass.

Toasted grain and light pine hops, some lemony citrus and biscuit.

Nice bite of hops up front with some pine and citrus. Orange and lemon with some small grassyness. Solid malt backbone with doughy bread and some slightly buttery caramel sweetness. Finishes bitter yet refreshing.

Medium body, higher carbonation, a little dry. Pretty drinkable, low alcohol, not super hoppy or bitter. I had this with their indulgence burger and it was a pretty nice combo.

Note - I've had this from the bottle and it was completely forgettable, whereas fresh from the brewpub I would drink it again.

 766 characters

Photo of HagueBrook
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass (with Mayor Quimby etched into the glass!)

Appearance= Nice copperish color and a lacy head that lingered on the side of the glass.

Smell = A nutty sweet smell.

Taste = A light malty taste with a touch of sweetness. The hops come through right at the tail end.

Mouthfeel = Light body and little carbonation

Drinkability = Would have been better on a hot summer night (easier said than done with 4' of snow on the ground). Overall, I would say "quaffable, but not transcendent."

 505 characters

Photo of barleynvinebrew
4.23/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a transparent light amber color with a 1" white head that leaves some lacing in my pint glass. Smell a light sweet malt and moderate hops. Taste starts with a touch of hops and some of that sweet barley malt, then finishes with a hop bitterness. Aftertaste is sweet though, I like that. Mouthfeel very good with light carbonation. Overall, it's a great beer. I really like beer because it doesn't really blow me away. If I was anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic states and stopped somewhere for dinner and they were serving DFH this would definitely be an option for me.

 570 characters

Photo of miltonclipper
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark amber to light brown appearance. Quite clear. Head quickly dissipates, though.

A nice, nutty smell, but the aroma dissipates as quickly as the head.

The taste is quite good. Not overpowering and nor bland, either.

The mouthfeel really adds to the taste. Swirl it around your palate and the buds respond with an interesting tingle.

I would definitely call for a second round - especially when eating light fare. Not the "hot Summer Day" kind of beer...and not the perfect mate for a big juicy steak. More like a mate for little steak fajitas.

 550 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
2.9/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at DFH poured into pint glass. Smells lightly hoppy and floral with a hint of citrus. Big, frothy, light brown head lasted. Clear. Lightly sparkling. Flavor is on the maltier side with hints of nuts, but there is still a sufficient hop bite. Well balanced. Nutty with a bite. Light body. Soft carbonation. Short nutty finish. Overall, kinda average.

 356 characters

Photo of paulozanello
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wanted to taste one of the "normal" DFH beer so I gave this a try. Had it at the DFH Ale House in Fairfax VA.

It poured a clear light brown and amber color with a nice 1 finger white head and moderate lacing.

Aroma is of faint sweet malts, some caramel and nuts, and very faint floral hops.

Taste starts with bready and caramel malts also with a toasty and nutty aspect to it. The hops come through very mildly towards the end, not citric at all but more of a floral/aromatic type of taste (Which I'm guessing comes from the Willamette used).

Body is fairly light and carbonation moderate. Not overly bitter finish.

A pretty standard English Pale Ale, where the malts are clearly the main player. It is not a bad beer by no means but it is clearly not "off-centered". I can see it being a good craft beer gateway for fizzy-yellow beer drinkers though.

 857 characters

Photo of gkunkle
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent orange/amber color with a 1" white hwS that leaves some lacing in my nonic pint. Smells of a light sweet malt and just a touch of hops. Taste starts with a touch of hops and some of that sweet barley malt, then finishes with a hop bitterness. Aftertaste is sweet though, I like that. Mouthfeel us medium with light carbonation. Overall, it's a good beer. I like it for not just being a jr IPA, but it doesn't really blow me away. If I was in Delaware and stopped somewhere for dinner and they were serving DFH this would definitely be an option for me.

 572 characters

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
2.27/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Date: 22 January 2011
Glass: Standard 10oz snifter
Type: 12fl oz bottle

Bottle date: 2 December 2010

Poured aggressively giving a 2-finger head, reduces to hazy film, lacing is better-than-average. Aroma of stale pale malt and butter. Taste of diacetyl and some skunk. Palate is overwhelmed with diacetyl flavor. So close to pouring this one down the drain. Sorry DFH....not sure what you were going for in this beer.

 419 characters

Photo of JizackFH
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a nice clear dark amber color. It has a 3-finger white head on it, that left some pretty good lacing on the glass.

S - It smells of light malts, caramel sweetness, and a touch of toastiness. There is some hop presence here, as well as a bit of a grainy smell.

T - This tastes of light malts and caramel up front, just as the nose suggests. There is also a toasty quality to it, as well as a nice hop presence and some citrus. It has a clean finish that has just a bit of hop bitterness and some citrus.

M - It has a medium-light body and good carbonation. It has a smooth and creamy feel to it. There is just a little bit of hop bitterness in the finish.

D - This has pretty good drinkability. It is smooth and easy to drink. Overall, this is a good beer, but nothing about it really wowed me at all. I was expecting a little more from this beer, but it turned out to be pretty average.

 911 characters

Photo of foogerd
3.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark orange no head kind of a sad looking pale ale.

S- Light toasty malts with some buttery notes, and thats being generous not much of an aroma.

T- Tons of diacetyl thats the most prominent taste. I'm not sure if this intended or not but it seems to miss the mark of an American Pale Ale. There was plenty of bitterness to be found here but it seemed to be more of an afterthought.

M- The mouthfeel would be this brews stronger point. The carbonation is refereshing and the body is really smooth.

D- It's better than bud.
This brew really let me down in terms of what im used to from Dogfish, I mean I just had Sahtea a few hours ago and now this?! Do yourself a favor and pass on this one, unless your choices are limited to BMC and this.

 747 characters

Photo of JednoPivoProsim
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 1/10/11:

Poured from 12 oz bottle purchased at Dogfish Head Brew Pub in Rehoboth into rounded Old Fashioned (running out of clean glassware!) Bottled on 12/02/10.

Aroma: Not much to speak of. I hate to mark this down since it is not offensive, either.

Appearance: Thin head recedes to almost nothing. My choice of glassware doesn't help. Light amber color, thin looking pale ale.

Flavor: Thin hop taste. Really not strong at all. I can see why most hophead/DFH fans mark this down.

Palate: Smooth, not heavy. Virtually no aftertaste. Drinkability is certainly this beer's strong point.

Overall: I bought this looking for an easy-drinking offering from DFH and I think I found it. I like this despite it having little character in comparison to practically all other DFH offerings. This would be a go-to when you just want to throw back a few and not put a lot of thought into it.

 894 characters

Photo of jsanford
3.24/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle sent to me from THECPJ. Thanks Shane! Poured into my DFH pint glass.

A - Orange-amber with a chunky white head. Retention is great and there's soapy lacing left on the glass.
S - Sweet biscuit malt, earthy hops and buttery yeast.
T - More sweet malt and earthy hops, but the yeast really takes center stage and adds a distinctive buttery flavor to this beer. Not bad, but I've never been a fan of Ringwood yeast.
M - Medium-thin body with crisp carbonation.
D - Pretty drinkable, but there's definitely other Pale Ales I'd seek out before this one. Glad to be able to try it, I know it doesn't make it too far from Delaware.

 633 characters

Photo of confer
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Golden brown with an off-white head. Big soapy looking bubbles.
S- The smell is all fruity and malty no hops at all.
T- There is also no hops in the taste. Just a good simple beer.
MD- Creamy with only small taste of flavor. Not your typical DFH beer, but a very good easy beer.

 281 characters

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Pizzeria Marzano in Torrington, Conn.

A: Poured a light, golden copper color with a thin, creamy head of sterling white foam. Had great clarity and ample carbonation, leaving behind some decent, clingy lace.

S: Nice buttery cracker and toasted malt aroma to go along with herbal and floral hops in the nose.

T: Light, snappy toasted malt flavor up from with some buttery and toffee sweetness which leads into a fruity and floral malt flavor. Dries up quickly around mid-palate, offering a zesty, herbal and bitter hop bite. Finishes quite dry with a slight metallic pull, but it's pretty clean and refreshing.

M: Clean, crisp and smooth mouthfeel on this medium-bodied APA that washes down a tad dry.

D: As light a beer you'll get from Dogfish Head besides perhaps the Lawnmower, it's not a bad beer at all. It doesn't have the fullness of character to warrant frequent purchases, but if you're in the distribution area and need to choose between Shelter Pale and Sam Adams (or Light, even) go for the regional favorite that started it all.

 1,062 characters

Photo of petacutlasaurus
3.09/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A: The beer's a rusty/golden yellow. Pretty light in color with a little bit of visible of carbonation, hardly any head.

S: Not very active. I think it's pretty hard to describe. I want to say bitter and metallic, but that's probably the taste. The smell definitely ain't the strong point. In fact, it's kinda off.

T: Tasty. Bitter, metallic, not quite understated, but not very hard-hitting either. A little bit of a citrus in there.

M: Not an active component in what makes the experience good. If this were heavier, I wouldn't complain.

D: On the other hand, if this were heavier, it wouldn't be such a pleasure in the drinkability dept. Goes down nicely and isn't too filling. Since it's sold in six-packs, I can appreciate that.

 737 characters

Photo of Ezone024
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a cloudy copper not much head goes away quick.
not much in the smell dept, fresh hops with a metallic ting.

Taste is of a british pale ale, slightly bready with a little smoke. has a clear and refreshing backbone.
i could appreciate the craft of this brew, however for the price i can think of 10,000 brews i'd rather drink. nothing special here, an average beer at best

 378 characters

Photo of Duhast500
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a dimpled mug.

The color is a clear darker gold with a finger and a half of foamy white head and some nice lacing left on the glass.

The smell is a little funky hops at first. There is a bit of a earth flavor that has a bit of a flowery smell and a bit of a malty sweetness that is holding the walls up and is bracing the flavor in.

The taste is malty and spicy flavor right from the get go. The bitterness of the hops comes back in later sips to assert itself with some punchy citrus flavor.

The feel of this beer is light to medium and is a pretty drinkable beer. It goes down well and is a pretty drinkable beer. Smooth going down and leaving an interesting bitter aftertaste that is just slight but interesting.

 751 characters

Photo of Chaney
3.71/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I stopped in to grab a souvenir for someone and had this with on tap my shrimp salad at the DFH Alehouse in Falls Church.

A: Pours a honey amber color with a good amount of carbonation and about 2 fingers worth of head.

S: Very faint citrus smell, a tinge of caramel backbone, and a bit of an earthy wheatiness. This one might benefit from dry-hopping.

T: Medium-bodied, with a crisp hop and wheat flair and DFH's signature taste profile. The caramel part surfaces when experienced with food. I still think this tastes more like a Pale Wheat than an actual APA.

M: Smooth as silk, a tinge of bitterness, and bubbly carbonation. Solid mouthfeel.

D: Wow, people have really beaten up on this one a lot on BA and I honestly was expecting the worst. It was a fairly warm November day, so I thought this quenched my thirst (and beer craving) quite nicely. I would categorize this one as a "craft beer geek's lawnmower beer."

 924 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in the SA perfect pint glass.

L - hazed rusty color with a bone white head that stayed around leaving spots of foam.

S - buttery, earthy and citrus rind.

T - buttery malt with bitterness taking you all the way to the finish line.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation and a smooth feel.

D - it is what it is and I'll have another, thank you.

 367 characters

Photo of prdstmnky
3.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

*review from notes on 3/20/10*

Bottled on date: 2/25/10

Aggressive pour on this golden orange pale ale, leaves a healthy white head with little retention or lacing. There is not a whole lot on the nose, a grassy / grainy aroma is about it. A nutty, caramel malt seems to be the predominant taste in this ale, oddly enough. Also a bit creamy, like a nitro fed draft. An ok beer, but nothing I would seek out again, as there are many other examples I enjoy more.

 462 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
2.93/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A murky bronze color, sizable fluffage but minimal stickage. Head dies a quick death.

Aroma: Creamy malt hinting at sweetness. Not much hop aroma. Very light pine.

Taste: Balanced overall, with roasted malt, cereal grains, and an herbal/tea like hop with moderate bitterness. Some off flavors, buttery diacetyl and the grain bill, leaves some unpleasantness. Not a bad tasting beer, but certainly more like a macro produced beer than a craft beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, spritzy carbonation a bit watery and thin

Drinkability: A ho-hum lackadaisical offering from a great brewery. Just about anything else they brew is better.

 645 characters

Photo of Derranged
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Had this on the 4th of July this year.

Overall, I was not impressed with this beer, definitely the weakest beer I've had from DFH, and I dont just mean in terms of ABV. There wasn't much going on in terms of flavor, not sure what DHF was thinking with this one. Definitley not your average APA, there are better ones for around the same price or cheaper.

The upside to it is that it is very easy to drink, a nice beer if you are at a party in the summer and plan on drinking 12 or more beers throughout the day.

 514 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to korguy123 for this bottle!
Poured in to tulip glass.

A - Amber/brown in colour with a finger of bubbly white head.

S - Sweet, grainy malts dominate the nose with some biscuit notes. A background hop bitterness is faintly present to round out the nose.

T - Follows the nose. Grainy cereal malts dominate the palate and are slightly sweet. Bitterness from the hops is present as a secondary taste but is not strong enough for any real flavours to come through with the general bitterness.

M - Light body, moderate carbonation.

D - A decent pale ale but needs a little more from the hops to come through.

 620 characters

Photo of BranfordBound
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle dated 7/29/10 into a pint.

Pours copper, slightly cloudy, with a 2 finger head. Head remains as a covering and it leaves spotty lacing.

Smells of hops with a slight malt note, some butterscotch as well.

Taste is fairly mild for an APA, the malts are present, and attribute their sweetness. Finishes with a mild, yet noticeable, kick of hops. Some small metallic notes.

Fairly soft with some carbonation, finishes on the dry side.

Very drinkable and enjoyable, I would reccomend this as a gateway beer for IPAs and APAs to the uninitiated. Mild malts and equally mild hops give balance to eachother.

 630 characters

Photo of gportale
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I liked this beer, but could see some improvement in the mouth feel and drinkability. I would not go as far to say the beer was harsh, but it wasn't something I could let sit on my tongue for very long. I preferred to have it served below room temperature, and just to quench thirst.

 283 characters

Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.38 out of 5 based on 779 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.