Prickly Pear Pale Ale
Lewis & Clark Brewing Company

Prickly Pear Pale AlePrickly Pear Pale Ale
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American Pale Ale (APA)
Ranked #355
Ranked #10,238
4 | pDev: 13.75%
Lewis & Clark Brewing Company
Montana, United States
Very Good
Prickly Pear Pale AlePrickly Pear Pale Ale
Notes: Brewed with an emphasis on hops, the combination of Montana pale ale , crystal, and dextrin malts provide the setting for a smooth, balanced pale with great body. The addition of plenty of Northwest hops both in the kettle and a nice dose of dry hopping create a virtuoso hop performance. Named for the Prickly Pear Cactus found in the North Helena Valley and encountered by Lewis & Clark as they portaged around the Great Falls of the Missouri, this beer is actually brewed with real Prickly Pear Cactus.
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 66
Reviews by LiquidAmber:
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium golden amber with coppery tones with a two finger white head with great retention and lacing, looks nice. Aroma of pale malt, citrus hops, lemon, a little dankness and a fruit note that must be the prickly pear fruit. Flavor is lightly biscuit malt, citrus hops, lemon, grapefruit, apple and unidentifiable fruit with light sweetness. Lingering lightly dank and citrus rind finish. Medium bodied with light to moderate creaminess. I'm not a huge fan of fruit added to pale ales, but this was deftly done. I’m not sure what a prickly pear fruit tastes like, but there is a distinct light fruit note that is reminiscent of pomaceous and mild tropical fruit that must be its contribution. Nice lightly biscuit malt and Northwest pale ale hops. This one really worked for me. I'd get this again. Nice summer ale.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of GeneralSpecific
4.83/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Making my annual trek down from the north country and making a stop off I-15 at one my favorite breweries, Lewis & Clark.

I've always loaded up on their Tumbleweed IPA and took the max amount back across the border, but to my delight the Prickly Pear Pale Ale is now in a CAN!!!

This an amazing Pale Ale with just enough hops to keep you coming back and a truly full-bodied mouthfeel with some sweetness as well.

Overall if I had to describe this beer in two-words I would have to say "Hoppy Refreshment", I could see myself switching to this beer during the summer months as I could just drink it all day long.

It says made with real cactus fruit and I asked the bartender but she wasn't sure how much or if it was added in the boil or during fermentation (don't blame her she probably thought I was a super beer geek even asking) but I did google it afterwards and there is some pretty interesting medical research that comes up about it's hangover curing properties so I say the more the merrier.

This is just such a pleasing pale I might just spend my entire border crossing allotment on it this time.

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Photo of beernut7
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a bold American pale ale. A light golden color and spicy Cascade hop aroma introduce a strong Cascade hop flavor. The body is light but smooth. The brew finishes with a lingering bitterness.

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Photo of Chaz
3.21/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly-turgid* copper-orange in color, topped with a pal-tan khaki head.

Nose is spicy American (West Coast-style) hop with some fruitiness and yeast, and a touch of vegetal character. Fruitiness is berries... strawberries, even. It's really not too dissimilar to an average "APA", overall.

A crisp blast of bittering hops followed by a mildly-malty/sweet character on the first sip, with a touch of the yeast and a bit of biscuit malt (fresh can?) up front in the middle, and then drier toward the end of the palate. A touch of astringency adds to a dry finish overall. The fruit character (prickly pear is a succulent... right?) is more subdued on the palate, with the berry character not really being as prominent.

Adequate-to-"good" carbonation, as the beer coats the tongue and palate but doesn't go so far as to leave a scrubbing, tingling touch. It's not quite medium bodied, but I wouldn't call it thin, either. It's got a nice balance in any respects -- very easy drinking and palatable, which is probably its best trait (the prickly pear SOUNDS good and a bit exotic, but adds less character to the beer --or at least a LOT more subtlety-- than one would imagine.)

At 5.5% it's stronger than my ordinary sub-5% tipple, and really --well, almost-- seems in line with what we now have in the U.S. with "session"-styled I.P.A. or renditions of pale ale now being quite light and fruit-forward -- and hoppy, of course.

It's a fairly average pale ale altogether, and probably a bit above average (and yes, I'm a very hard grader.) But this was a fresh can and I can tell that it's not a badly-made beer, in any sense. If it was local to me, I would probably give it a go on draught from time to time. Definitely worth a try.

*Chill haze.

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Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer after its release from the 12-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass a slightly hazy gold with a nice crown of white, the left over lace leaves a fine sheet to conceal the glass. Nose is nicely hop floral, sweet malt and the start somewhat sweet with a fair grain presence, top is light to medium in feel. Finish is prickly in acidity, pun intended, the hops pleasingly spicy quite dry aftertaste, and a drinkable beer.

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Photo of IPAlot
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tasted this beer years ago and its unique flavor always stayed with me. I was driving through the west on my way to seattle and enjoying as many local concoctions as possible. Montana is good ground for this type of activity. The Prickly Pear struck me immediately with its unique flavor, that was somewhat fruity and smoky at the same time, but time has faded my memory. I did not rate it as exceptional in any category but it was a delicious beer that I praise for carrying an innovative approach to an acid-test style.

There was also a medium-size Bavarian brewery in an old mining town, but I can't remember the name. My buddy and I took a tour, the owners were most hospitable with both knowledge and samples, the Maibock was magnificently savory.

Update! It was Bayern brewery in Missoula! The mining town had the bar where i first tasted their maibock, in a old converted bank with a gigantic safe in the back where they kept stuff!

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Photo of BigBry
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Sampled this one at the Sleeping Giant Tasting Room on our recent montana trip. Very tastey, so decided it was growler-worthy. The growler made it home safe and sound, and beer maintained its carbonation and flavor. Color is light copper with hgold hilghts, nice white creamy yhead. Smells are the typical floral hops of a pale ale. Maybe the name played subconscious tricks, but we could smell citrus, fruits, and yes - pears. Not overly hoppy, well balanced with the sweet malts. Really enjoyed the flavors, hoppy yes, but not over the top. Touch of spiciness added anoth dimension. Very drinkable beer, if I lived closer, this would always be in my growler at home.

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Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of casapy
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.64/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

i could be wrong, but i feel like other prickly pear beers ive had have always been pink or red, maybe im thinking that because they also had hibiscus or something, but this one has no color at all to it. golden to brassy in color with a nice head on it and pretty good clarity too. smells real hoppy and not very fruity, which is generally what i prefer in these, but its less interesting than i wanted it to be at the same time, lightly floral, some medium malt sweetness like honey, and a mosaic and cascade type of hop profile that has a canned fruit cocktail vibe to it in the aroma and some green bitterness. the flavor has some good bitterness too, which i like in an american pale, and which seems to be disappearing from the style these days. i dont get a ton from the fruit surprisingly, i really thought that would have a bigger impact here. its drier beer than it smells like its going to be too, which is nice in an outdoorsy summer context, but i dont get a ton of uniqueness from the prickly pear, maybe its mostly fermented out of this. the hops have some spiciness, some pine sap, and some pineapple to them, a little oiliness in the feel giving a little richness to an otherwise very light and drinkable glass of beer. i have never known these guys to be much of risk takers, so i had a little higher hopes that this would be weird or different tasting, but ill never hate on a decent pale ale, and thats exactly what we have here...

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Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of goblue3509
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of elglueckert
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Kolb
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of a77cj7
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of notchucknorris
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of JMIPro
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.54/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a golden orange color with a one finger head of white foam. The head fades rather fast leaving just a trace of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the brew is heavy of a sweeter citrus smell mixed with a little bit of a tropical fruit aroma. Along with these smells comes some other aromas of a pear and passionfruit smell as well as a bit of a grapefruit and bready aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with a somewhat sweeter flavor of a tropical fruit and orange nature with a little bit of a citrus hop right at the start. As the taste moves on, the sweeter fruits fade a bit, but is replaced by some prickly pear sweetness, which upholds some of sweet style of the beer (sweet, but not too sweet.) All the while some other flavors of a light bready nature come to the tongue and with a lighter herbal and grainy taste, bring an overall rather nice blend of hop, sweet fruit, and malt to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the medium side with a carbonation level that is rather low to average. A little higher carbonation may have been slightly better for the style, but overall it was OK.

Overall – A rather decent cactus fruit brew overall. Pretty easy drinking with enough cactus fruit to keep it authentic, without having too much to make it obnoxious. Good overall.

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Photo of 48oen33
2.31/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

Like so many craft beers this pale ale is nothing more than a lot of cascade hops and zero body to balance it. Its watery,boring and is NOT balanced. Would Lewis and Clark consider redoing the recipe so it is a better beer????Almost NO chance. They are not brewmasters. Just brewers.Skip this stuff.

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Photo of crobinso
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of benloho
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of hilgart1
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of elliott1184
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Stinger80OH
3.32/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Prickly Pear Pale Ale from Lewis & Clark Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 66 ratings