Pale Ale Head-to-Head... what more is there to say, besides we’ve got two beers battling it out for pale ale supremacy. This week we’ve got Old Schoolhouse Brewery versus Deschutes Brewery. Once again we’ve got David versus Goliath, who will win?
Old Schoolhouse Brewery’s Epiphany Ale poured a nice golden copper color with good carbonation. The head was white, creamy, and not very overwhelming - with a clear clarity. The smell hits first with hops, but the caramel presence of the malt quickly overtook the citrus floral notes of the hops. The hops did provide an orange citrus presence with some earthiness. The caramel malt also had a buttery/nuttiness to it. Overall, the aroma was strong and made itself present. Look - 20, Smell - 22.
The caramel hit upfront with the malt and is then followed by the yeast, which expands well in the mouth and has a breadiness to it. The hops provide a nice citrus bitterness, which then translates to a dry bitter finish. I found this beer to be surprisingly balanced, but others might find it a bit hoppy. Overall, there is a nice blend of flavors that combined for a well balanced, floral, yet malty, pale ale. Flavor - 45/50
Deschutes Red Chair poured a dark amber color that had a creamy white head with copper hues. The clarity was just as clear as the Old Schoolhouse. The smell was very aromatic with heavy sweet malt that had a fruitiness followed by citrus notes from the hops. I smelled a good amount of banana and strawberry, which I found kind of different for a pale ale. Look - 20, Smell - 22.
The taste was very bready upfront, and was then followed by those strong fruity notes that were a part of the smell. After those strong initial flavors subsided it was the hops that came in behind with their citrus flavor and bitterness. This pale ale was mostly malty, which provided a substantial amount of sweetness. The carbonation was good, and the aftertaste had a good hop showing, but it wasn’t as crisp and balanced as the Old Schoolhouse. The uniqueness of this pale ale drew me in, but it didn’t do enough to beat out the Old Schoolhouse. Flavor - 40.
Both of these ales are simple. Now, this isn’t a critic, but rather an observation. The simplicity of both these beers made me like them more, and the scores may not stand out as exceptional, but for your basic pale ale I think these are solid scores. The fruitiness of the Deschutes was kind of an initial turn off for me, but the bitterness balanced it out with continued drinking. The Old Schoolhouse was just a solid pale ale that was nicely balanced and was very refreshing to drink. All in all these beers are both worth trying. As always, there has to be a winner, and that winner is Old Schoolhouse Brewery’s Epiphany Ale!
Also, the last few days I’ve been reviewing some beers, so there should be an influx of reviews this week. So, keep an eye out for The Bruery’s Trade Wind Tripel review and another Pale Ale Head-to-Head. If you haven’t already follow me on twitter @beerfusion and join me on mustlovebeer.com. Keep drinking guys, and happy American Craft Beer Week!