Old Salt Ale
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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American Pale Wheat Ale
3.46 | pDev: 15.32%
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Brewed by the Harpoon Brewery exclusively for Legal Sea Foods, this is Harpoon's UFO with fennel added. Recommend serving at the restaurant is: the beer poured into a salt-rimmed pint glass, hence the name.
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 25 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of seskimo
4.34/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a GREAT BEER especially with oysters!!! It has a wonderful fennel aroma and light drinkability. Can only get it on tap at Legal Seafoods in MA but worth the trip especially if you love raw oysters. Every time I go home I make it a point to stop by one of their many locations to get some and make sure you get it with the salt rim it makes all the difference!

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Photo of drpimento
4.07/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a first. Never had a beer in a salt rimmed glass before. Oddly, it kind of worked. Served with some white head that mostly faded and some lace. Color is a hazy amber. Aroma is lots of grain crackers yeast. Flavor is like aroma. Good body and carbonation. Don't pick up any fennel. Finish is fairly short and like flavor except for the salt which lasts a bit. I'd drink more minus the salt.

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Photo of mkuderka
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I was extremely happy to find a wheat beer with fennel, which seems like a very creative combination of flavors. The server spent a lot of time telling me that this beer was very different, almost trying to talk me out of ordering it -which I thought was a bit odd. I did not go for the salt on the glass.
The beer pours a hazy golden amber color with a very thin head. The flavors are light, predominately sweet wheat malt and a light hint of fennel that fades in and out with each sip of this beer.
As you would expect the beer has a medium body, not a lot of carbonation and is smooth and balanced. A delightful summer beer that is very drinkable; the hints of fennel keep you sipping and looking for the hints of liquorish flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewed by Harpoon for Legal Sea Foods. The bartender recommended a rim of salt for the glass. No, thanks. In a pint glass the beer was a hazy orange with a small white head and maybe a little lacing. Not much aroma, just a little sweet malt. I tasted some fruit, some bread, and a bit of late hops. OK beer, nothing outstanding.

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Photo of atigerlife
2.64/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours opaque golden with a small white head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma is very light, hard to discern.

Taste is salty. Can't get past that taste...

Mouthfeel is light bodied and cleansing.

Overall, OK, but rather strange. Not one I would recommend to anyone.

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Photo of Yeastcakes
3.7/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving notes - on tap, cool (40's)
A - orange, light spices, no hops or malt
A - cloudy, opaque yellowish orange. Half-inch brilliant white head.
M - thick, very light carbonation
T - Oranges, sweetness is not too big and balanced with spices and other flavors. Clean aftertaste.
D - Very drinkable, a decent wit beer.

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Photo of Hophead101
3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

drank on 1.15.09 at the Boston Logan Airport - Legal Seafood. Supposedly only brewed for Legal Seafood.

A little hesitant to order, but figured what the heck, if this is one of the few places to actually get this beer, might as well try it.

Pours a nice hazy golden color, decent head to start, but left almost immediately. Unimpressed with the smell. It was very light in the nose. Some sweet acid like citrus, but had to work to smell it. A faint hint of some spice in there.

Taste first seemed like a light macro wheat beer. Ok for the style, but thin and slightly watered down. Flavor ok, just not much body. standard citrus malty taste.

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Photo of Faulconerbrewing
2.86/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served on tap at the logan airport location with oysters.

A. Very light golden coler. Very mild head which quickly dissapeared.

S. Very little smell. Hints of anise but very subtle.

T. Salty. This beer was brewed to have the salty taste of the sea and it worked. Too much for my taste, but not bad with oysters. tasted anise with hits of lemon and salt.

M. Very crisp and sharp carbonation across the tongue.

D. Not bad if you're looking for something with very mild flavor. Didn't overpower the seafood i was eating. I wouldn't drink this on it's own, but might have one or two with some fresh seafood.

Overall, I was not overly impressed, but I think the beer was brewed to go well with seafood, and it hit the mark for that. Not something I'd drink without seafood, but the purposed was served. I don't see this being an overly popular beer.

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Photo of ccrida
2.53/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

On draught at Legal in Cambridge, where our server explained it as a hefe style beer, but rather then being a larger as they ususally are, Harpoon brewed an ale exclusively for their restaurant. Of course, he was misinformed, as all hefe's are ale's, but, like UFO, this isn't a hefe anyways, just a APWA...unfortunately for me, with fennel added, which I really wish he would have mentioned!! He offered the lemon and salt rim serving, but I declined. Served in a nonic, Old Salt is a murky gold with a small white head that leaves light lace.

Smell is very strong black licorice - at the time, I didn't know this was brewed with fennel, and assumed it was anise, which I didn't care for at all. Otherwise, some grainy wheat, a bit sweeter.

Taste is similarly overwhelmed by fennel, and grainy, with no real hefe ester's, just like UFO, it's a APWA, with a lingering, grainy finish.

Mouthfeel is dry and crip, with a medium body.

Drinkability was low for me. I don't like black licorice, and I don't like APWAs billed as hefe's, it was just not my style at all. It was an appropriate match for the expensive, sub-par seafood at Legal.

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Photo of BDIMike
3.34/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy golden color with a very thin white head that dissipates very quickly. It also comes with a salted rim and an orange.
There is little to no smell at all. A bit of a wheat taste is overpowered by a smell of black licorice.
The taste is a wheat taste, with a taste of the licorice/fennel at the end.
The mouthfeel is nice and smooth with a good thickness to it.
This beer is meant to be served with fish and it does do well against it, but the salt gets to you after a couple of these.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
2.93/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at legal seafoods (this beer is brewed by Harpoon especially for legal).

A straw color with small white head. Some retention.

Smell's strongly of anise or fennel (black locorice), with hits of lemon and salt.

Taste is less strong of locorice, but that is still the main flavor. followed by a salty taste,slight wheatiness, and a finishing lemon touch. The flavor is actually fairly complex, I just don't like the anise dominanace.

Medium amount of corbonation and thickness, nothing special but not bad.

The anise makes this beer hard to drink, I finished one and had no desire to get another. Interesting to get if you're at a legal since as far as I know it isn't really anywhere else.

I did not look at the description of this beer before reviewing, and I guess I should say I'm not a huge UFO fan either.

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Photo of BiereBlanche
2.89/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served on tap at Legal Seafoods in the Charles Hotel (Cambridge). Pint glass with salted rim and wedge of lemon, despite my request. I pulled the lemon out tried to wipe off all the salt that I could.

Appearance - Very similar to Harpoon's UFO. Served a very, very hazy dark-straw color, topped off by a light, white head that fell into a thick rim and faint top. Left some sticky retention along the sides.

Aroma - Not as well balanced as it should have been. The wheaty, bready aromas I was looking for were very hard to detect, unlike UFO. A lemon scent is fairly clear (though it might have been unduly aided by the large wedge); but the majority of the nose is covered by the special ingredients. I mistook the aroma, and thought it was dominated by sea salt, but upon reading the description, I can identify I was smelling the fennel added to Harpoon's UFO. The fennel comes through as black licorice, which is strong and covers most of the other aromas. The fennel aroma needs to be backed down to allow the rest more room to breathe.

Taste - Fortunately the taste is more balanced. The licorice flavor doesn't come through as much, but is present for the early flavors. The early flavors are affected by the strong, lingering aromas of fennel. Though I wiped mine off, I can understand how the salt rim might mixed in well with the licorice. The bittering is very light with no real hops flavor. Slightly wheaty, mostly citrusy aftertaste is pleasant.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation, mid-light mouthfeel. Smooth and nicely refreshing. It is a good addition for the type of food served at Legal Seafoods.

Drinkability - An interesting drink, and, as noted, refreshing and a good accompaniment. The fennel (licorice) is unbalanced in the taste and, especially, the aroma and covers some of the more typical wheat characteristics. I wish my drink had been served w/o lemon and salt, as I mistook the fennel and lemon wedge may have added citrus characteristics. Unique and worth trying, but I had trouble finishing one due to the aroma and will stick with other offerings.

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Photo of Damian
3.87/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Legal Seafoods, Boston, MA

I tried this at their Prudential Center location.

The beer poured a cloudy, pale mustard/straw yellow with amber highlights. There was no head but rather a thin film of white froth that quickly faded.

The aroma was rich and exotic. Anise was instantly recognizable along with spices, citrus and a touch of candy sweetness.

The flavor was bright and clean. Malt creaminess was noticeable up front before notes of anise and wheat appeared. A slightly sour, lemon smack came through on the back end and carried into the crisp, clean and refreshing finish.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied, creamy and slick.

This beer is quite a refreshing summertime treat. It is very similar to the UFO, except that the added fennel in this brew contributes greatly to the depth of both aroma and flavor. I am definitely glad that I opted for my pint without the customary salt-rimmed glass (or the lemon wedge) and I would recommend others to do likewise.

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Photo of brentk56
3.47/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Arrives at the table with a cloudy lemojn color and a modest head that left no lace. (My waitress asked whether I wanted a salt rim and I declined - what in the world is that about?)

Smell: Lemon and banana esters

Taste: Starts out with a lemony banana flavor that is prickly up ront; after the swallow, the banana becomes more pronounced. (I didn't pick up on the fennel, being unfamiliar with the brew at the time I ordered it.)

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate but prickly carbonation

Drinkability: Underflavored as a hefe (the style the waitress described it as being), but more appropriate as a typically boring American wheat

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Photo of KCoemgen
3.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pretty much everything I wanted to say has already been said here. I had this on tap at the Legal's near the Aquarium. It's basically a UFO with a strong liquorice flavour in it. It was a novelty to have once, but I probably wouldn't get this one again. I think what really ruined it for me was the salt that was added to the rim of the glass, which my waiter said was "how most people like it", but I found it overpowering and unnecessary. I enjoy most Harpoon beers though and it's nice to see them experimenting a little.

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Photo of hreb
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served at Legal Seafoods in Boston in a pint glass. I presume the beer came out of their tap, but I didn't get to witness the preparation, the result of which is really something else.

The beer looks like your typical yellow Harpoon UFO, slightly cloudy, but it comes in a salt-rimmed glass (like a margarita in a pint glass). Also, there's a giant lemon wedge floating in my glass, with a hollow tube sticking out of it. It looks kind of like a triangular straw, but it doesn't function as a straw in case you were planning to suck your beer through a straw. I suppose it would be a convenient way to pull the lemon out of your beer if you didn't want it.

For the record, I take pale wheat beers with lemon, but always a thin slice, not a wedge. I know I'm reviewing my one particular serving of Harpoon Old Salt Ale, not the beer itself, but if you really want to read a review Harpoon UFO, read that beer's reviews. The beer + salt experience isn't offensive but I don't see the point. After tasting the salt, the beer just seems watery. I guess if you were inclined to order a lot of these you could probably down quite a few. Then again, that seems like a recipe for a serious hangover.

The carbonation is lightly fizzy, and aside from the wateriness, it tastes like American Hefeweiss. BeerAdvocate says it has added fennel. I didn't notice. It's not exactly a saison or anything. The beer list isn't otherwise impressive at Legal's, so I think I'll stick to the wine list if I return to Legal Seafoods in the future, sad to say. Then again maybe it was just bad today, or the salt isn't my thing, and I should try it one or more sans crystals. oh well.

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Photo of LarryV
3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the Legal Seafoods outdoor bar next to the Charles Hotel. Brewed specifically for Legal Seafood by Harpoon. Poured with a nice fluffy head, and a hazy, vibrant yellow color. Overtone of licorice in the nose from the fennel that's added to the beer. The fennel taste is fairly pronounced, but balanced by a breadiness from the yeast. Much more enjoyable than I expected it would be, and pretty refreshing on a hot, humid day. I'm not a big seafood fan, but I would guess that this brew would compliment seafood rather nicely. (I did not have salt on the rim.) Due to the addition of the fennel, I could only have a couple of these at the most.

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Photo of JMH_
3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I found this one on tap at the Legal Seafood @ the Pru. It's a bit strange to say the least but is fairly good overall.

It pours a semi-cloudy golden colour with a middle of the road sized frothy head that leaves a mild amount of residue on the glass.

The aromas were of yeast, wheat, some clove and certainly an abundance (although falling just shy of an over-abundance) of licourice.

The flavour is more of the same, with the clove and licourice actually complimenting each other quite nicely (neither are really flavours that I am crazy about). You think that the licourice is going to jump out and overpower here and there but it ends up mixing quite well into the beer.

This is a nice crisp medium bodied brew that, while drinkable anda nice change of pace, is something that I wouldn't go back to terribly often but would certainly sample again sometime down the road. One other note, this was offered with or without salt around the rim of the glass. I immediately opted for no salt but my wife got hers with the salt. After finishind my pint I took a swig of hers and I must say that the salt made for an odd but not unwelcome addition to the flavour. If given the option again I would still stick with the non-salted glass, but it was an interesting (albiet exceedingly gimmicky and hopefully something that there's not ever a trend toward) touch just the same.

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Photo of tegelaar
3.28/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I tried this one at the Park Square Legal Sea Foods.

Served in a salt rim glass at what seemed to be a bit warmer temperature than most beer. The presentation I found to be very nice - a murky gold in the salty glass gave it a very nautical feel. I found the salt overpowered the beer and made it taste like I was drinking salt water. I guess this was the idea behind the beer but I found it difficult to finish. I did not really find it refreshing while eating a meal. I do give it credit for being a brave attempt at trying someting different.

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Photo of kmo1030
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

brewed exclusively for Legal Seafoods (from what the waiter said)
sampled at the Prudential Center location Boston, MA.

a little bit of a murky gold color with not much a not quite white head.
the aroma contains the staple banana, clove and yeast characteristics as well as a relatively strong black licorice character that makes things a little interesting.
The tatse is simlar to the smell, with banana, clove and a little bit of bready yeast. these take a back seat form what i could tell to the black licorice that is also in here in the taste. what ever is in there that is creating the black licorice flavor could have ben a little more subtle. still not bad though.
medium bodied and a little light on the carbonation.
decent drinkability ,but nothing special, the licorice was a little to strong for my taste and by the end i was glad to move on to a harpoon IPA.

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Old Salt Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 25 ratings