Pale Ale | Ithaca Beer Company

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Pale AlePale Ale
260 Ratings
Pale AlePale Ale

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-18-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 260 |  Reviews: 143
Photo of halo21
4.52/5  rDev +28%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: I poured this golden colored ale into a short pilsner glass, with room for its chunky white head. It had a good amount of fine carbonation, and left thin white lacing on the inside of the whole glass.

Smell: Very floral hoppy up front, with some bitter sweetness behind it.The dry hopping with the Centennial hops give it a nice citrus smell, that works very well for this American style pale ale.

Taste: Crisp, floral, with citrus notes and is very refreshing. More info below about food pairing, but having this with the chicken spiedies, which has a very acidic flavor given by the vinegar and lemon juice in the marinade, brings out a mellow malt flavor, that up until now I had not seen.

Mouthfeel: This is a very light bodied beer, with fine carbonation that is very refreshing. The hops give it a drying component, very common with pale ales.

Drinkability/Palitability: Huge! This is one of the easiest drinking beers I have had. Pale ales in general I find to be very easy drinkers, but sometimes the acidity of the hops lowers the ease of consumption. Ithaca does a great job with this one, bringing the hops you would expect in a pale ale, but still giving it balance with the malts.

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Photo of josefnewsong
4.5/5  rDev +27.5%

Photo of brandonasplundh
4.5/5  rDev +27.5%

Photo of RBorsato
4.42/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I must really be drinking something other than what is mentioned in the below reviews or I just got an exceptional bottle.... UPDATE: just got wind from "John" that the recipe has been changed to Cascade and Centennial so I'm not crazy after all.

Hazy golden color with a full ivory head, good carbonation and lace. NIce citrusy grapefruit hop aroma with flavor leaning hoppy with a nice citrus character. Light-medium bodied (leans light) with a light bitter finish.

Per I.B.Co. website: 12P, Northdown and Hallertau hops (which is wrong - actually Cascade and Centennial now).

The actual hops were a big suprise to me -- I could have sworn this beer was brewed with Cascade hops.... regardless, they did a great job with English and German varieties.

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Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a golden color with a frothy white head that remains. The aroma is exceptional. There is quite a bit of hop aroma as well as a grainy balance. The taste is great! Again with the hops complimenting the grain bill. Hops all the way into the finish; a little hop residue. The mouthfeel is low which makes this not only a great tasting beer, but it also drinks very well. I like the new hoppier recipe a ton better than the last. This is a great pale ale.

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Photo of GrandpaGeorg
4.3/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of an Assortment 12-pack (4 different Ithaca brews) I picked-up at the Beer Zoo outside Hershey PA. Easily the best of the bunch. Great, light brown color, thick tan head and plentiful carbonation. Subtlely balanced mix of malt and hops in the nose, and the same for the taste. The hops definitely add flavor, but stop short of being overpowering; and the beer tasted really good all the way through the glass--cold or warm. The flavor was both spicy and fruity, without being too much of either. Easily one of the best, most refreshing APAs I've had.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.3/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy amber color with creamy white head. Great retention and attractive lacing noted.
Smell is strongly of hops, both grassy and piney. Very nice.
Taste also shows a strong hoppiness with some bready maly in the background.
Finished moderately dry with some light malt present.
Well made beer, easy drinkability. Would be nice to session.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.25/5  rDev +20.4%

Photo of juliusseizure
4.25/5  rDev +20.4%

Photo of UnionMade
4.22/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a brilliant copper, a massive ivory froth rearing up on the pour. I guess I was a bit too vigorous with the pouring, being used to generating just a thin foam. The brew is initially chill hazed, clearing with a little warmth to a bright, perfect clarity. The head settles into a thick filmy coating, sticky gobs of lace clinging all the way down the glass.
The aroma is awesome. Very fruity, with an incredible passionfruit/mango esteriness. Present hops, with a bold citric, floral aroma, nice and fresh smelling. Milder notes of red apple and perhaps a touch of vanilla. Very smooth, even, toasty malt. Fantastic.
The flavor starts with mild toasty malt, big fruitiness coming in quickly. The malt feels a little weak and watery, a bit overwhelmed. A present passionfruit flavor, or some kind of tropical fruit that's used a lot in those fancy fruit juices. Very nice, adding a pleasant sweetness to the malt, enabling it to carry the hoppy finish. A touch of lemon and pear, moving quickly into a very floral, lightly citric hop finish. Moderate bitterness, toeing the line with the malt balance. Great lemony, grapefruity hop flavor, maybe even a little tart, which is interesting and quite refreshing. A pretty clean finish, slightly dry, with a bit of lingering grain and lemon. Fizzy, unnatural feeling carbonation overenthusiastically moving around a lightish medium body. Fairly smooth drinking, the carbonation creating a seltzery feel until it's allowed to sit and flatten out a bit. With some settling, it's much better.
The only thing I'd change is the carbonation. I feel like it neutralizes some of the sweetness, and skews the balance some. It feels better as it warms and flattens some. Maybe bumping up the malt and body a little, but keeping the balance and esters the same. Still a great beer as it is. The aroma is incredible, almost juicy. Much....MUCH better than the previously reviewed old sample. This is a winner if I've ever had one.
A big thanks to Shippos for the bottle!

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Photo of RoadLizard
4.19/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Looks, smells, and has the mouthfeel of a traditional Pale Ale, IMO. Has a nice citrusy forward bite which mellows slightly on the way down. There is a bitterness that pleases pale ale lovers but people who dont wont like it. Carbonation was fine and there was some lacing down the glass. I dont get much for malts or any sweetness like some reported. But, its a pale ale and I dont want that anyways. A solid choice for the style and its never expensive.

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Photo of capo56
4.18/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is a light gold color with a thin white head that fades away to a thick lace on the glass.
S: The aroma is of a caramelized malt with tinge of hops, and also has a citrus taste in the background.
T: The matly taste with a good balance of caramel & citrus flavors. There’s a slight hint of a hops that comes out at the start and some sweetness that apears in the after taste. It’s a very well balanced brew.
M: Crisp and clean with a medium body, dry anda nice clean finish.
D: Very tasty, goes down real nice and easy.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

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Photo of Dantes
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Package: 12 oz. longneck, crowned brown bottle (and draught). No date information or ABV indicated. Shamrock-green-colored label with the standard Ithaca Beer motif of Cayuga Lake with a face superimposed on it.

Cost: $6.99 per 6-pack at Finger Lakes Beverage

Presentation: Poured into a Shaker pint glass at ~45º

Appearance: Hard to distinguish from the Flower Power IPA in that it has a buckwheat-honey colored body with a mountainous ivory head that resolves to a thick foam lid. Sticky head liberally laces the glass. Tight, fine carbonation percolates through the beer. Fairly standard.

Smell: Ithaca beers have a pretty distinct smell and taste that this beer demonstrates in spades. Malts are pre-eminent, with a prickly, herbaceous hop note.

Taste: Like most Ithaca beers, this exhibits a soft, sweet, fruity taste that underpins almost every beer. Limning to its style though, this beer adds a pretty generous and complex helping of hops; including Cascade, Willamette, and Centennial. Despite the Pacific Northwest hops, Ithaca’s yeast and brewing techniques develop a very British-style pale ale without an overdose of citrusness. I’m shocked by the number of people who detected an astringent note in this beer; as if anything, Ithaca beers seem underhopped and not bitter enough for most people. Has a moderate, sweet, biscuity finish.

Mouthfeel: Ithaca excels at this, achieving a smooth, persistent carbonation and decent body even in their “weakest” beers.

Drinkability: I find all of the Ithaca beers eminently drinkable. They get the carbonation right, and with the recent formula tweaks, flavor concentration seems to be improved. An easy-drinking, satisfying, quaffable brew.

Backwash: I’m astounded (and disappointed) that these beers don’t seem to rate more highly. I’d be the first to admit to being prejudiced in favor of Ithaca (I think it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been); but I wouldn’t inflate my scores of the beer! I don’t even bring enough back to “pimp” it for trades. I drink the Pale Ale almost every time I’m up there; but this time I had the opportunity to drink it back-to-back-to-back with Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, a benchmark for the style. I clearly preferred the Ithaca to the SN, even going to the point of having someone else pour one for me, to see if I were influenced by the bottle. No sale. The Ithaca was better! To all of you who reviewed this in 2002 or so, try this again. They’ve tweaked it a number of times, achieving much better flavor concentration. I also note that two of the top-rated pale ales include SN’s Harvest (sort of a red ale/IPA) and Alpha King (a 7%+ IPA-ish beer), both of which are high-octane, highly-hopped beers for “pale ales.”

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Photo of sabrills70
4.14/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep gold almost amber. Not much head, and just OK lace. For an APA it has a pretty good aroma. A subtlehop spicyness mixed with a nice sweet malt. A touch of citrus and honey alsop detected. Taste is very nice . Of course you get the nice hop spicyness but also a rich maltiness that other APA's lack. Citrusy with a smidge of honey noticed as well. Very nicely balanced. An excellent example of the syle, and a great session brew.

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Photo of CBFanWish
4.1/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a golden copper colour with a one finger head from MacGregor's. A fruity aroma. Citric scents of lemon and grapefruit. The taste was fruity, also citric. A slight acidic quality and little hop bite. I like it quite a bit. It has all the qualities of a great session brew and could also be the gateway to better ales for the new beer drinker.

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Photo of cooter
4.09/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Note: this bottle's been under severe stress--car trunks, almost-freezing refrigerators, you get the drill. Only three days worth should leave it OK though, especially for the style.

Pours a mostly clear amber with a distinctively pale ale head--splotchy, varied in size and thickness. Some lacing.

Smells rather powerfully for the style. Pine and apple. Mouthfeel is peppy and zesty and just sticky enough on the back of my throat.

Taste is black-peppery, hoppy, biting and clean. Grapefruit is strong on the roof of the mouth, not cloying much. Some alcohol. Strong lemon, but not orange or lime. Very nice.

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Photo of MrOH
4.06/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear deep gold with a single finger of white head. Pretty good retention. Good lace.

Lots of citrus and floral notes with a bit of toasty background.

Light floral and citrus hop flavors over deep toasty malt backbone. Well done.

Light bodied and refreshing with medium carbonation.

A damn fine, very drinkable APA.

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Photo of Suds
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful copper color with a very nice, large, long-lasting head. The aroma is notably hoppy…flowery and fresh. Underneath the hops, there is a doughy malt smell, with a bit of caramel. Moderately sweet, with a light-to-medium mouthfeel. The finish is dry, and not nearly as bitter as I expected, given the smell. It’s a drinkable, enjoyable pale ale.

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Photo of mjaskula
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass. Pours a clear golden brown with a smooth just off white head. The head thins, but is persistent and laces the glass nicely.

The aroma is fresh, floral hoppy and slightly sweet. Taste is as expected of a pale ale with up front hop flavor and bitterness. There is a pleasant increase in maltiness as it warms. A bit of a buttery mouth feel. This is a great easy drinking pale ale.

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Photo of DrunkenMaster
4.02/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Staples. Clear copper with almost no head. Aroma of hop flowers and just a hint of dough. Moderately bitter, clean and refreshing. The cascade aroma is there until the end. I drank 5 of these and never got sick of it. I prefer this to their Flower Power, which is still a good beer but just not as drinkable.

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Photo of ABokononist
4/5  rDev +13.3%

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4/5  rDev +13.3%

Photo of aepb1
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- hazy caramel-colored body with a small head and nice lacing

S- floral hops, smells quite fresh

T- crisp citrus hops with a light malty body under it all. A nice spice bite finishes this off

M- light body with moderate carbonation

O- a lot of hop presence for a pale ale and the spicy finish is interesting

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Photo of tclapper
4/5  rDev +13.3%

Photo of Noelito76
4/5  rDev +13.3%

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Pale Ale from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 3.53 out of 5 with 260 ratings