Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bristol Red Rocket Pale Ale review

Bristol Red Rocket Pale AleWhen purchasing a mixed 12-pack of year round flagship beers, which beer to you choose first? Bristol Brewing Company offers several classic tastes and I chose to try their Bristol Red Rocket Pale Ale for the first sampling.

Pale ales come in a wide range of flavors, bitterness, and colors so you never really know what you're going to get until you chill one down and open it up. Red Rocket Pale Ale is an award winning beer for the brewery so it has a good reputation for the brewery.

Bristol's Red Rocket has a respectable 5.25% ABV rating and modestly bittered at 28 IBUs. There is plenty of hop variety in here with Perle, Willamette, Cascade and Palisade thrown into the mix of 2-Row, Crystal and Vienna malts. This beer is offered year round and sold in 12oz bottles.

Appearance: For a pale ale, Bristol's Red Rocket was not pale, but rather a reddish-copper color, nearly amber, that offered a modest off-white head, moderate carbonation and a light slippery lacing. Red Rocket appeared to be slightly cloudy with seemingly a lot of fine micro particulates suspended in the brew.

Aroma: There was a wonderful hop aroma emanating from the glass. The scent of pine and citrus was present along with a modest light malt aroma and a bit of light fruit and earthy tones. I didn't pick up any spice from the hops however. This is a pleasant smelling beer that wasn't over the top with any particular component.

Taste: This is the type of beer that I enjoyed more when it was fresh out of the cooler rather than when warmed up. There was a noticeable hop bitterness right from the start. The malts blended well and gave the brew some body and a touch of sweetness, and a subtle earthiness that was enjoyable as well. But what seemed missing was a crispness that I find in other pale ales.

Overall: Definitely drink Bristol's Red Rocket Pale Ale on the colder side (40-45 degrees). You'll enjoy it much better than at 50 degrees or higher. The beer's best attribute initially was the aroma, a gentle earthiness and sessionable drinkability. However, I found that as this beer warmed, the flavor changed enough to make me wish I had finished it a bit sooner. Still, it was a solid pale ale for the price.

The beer was sold to the public at a great sale price - an entire mixed 12-pack for $11.99, I knew the beer was fairly fresh as the 12-pack also included a winter seasonal.

Disclosure: I bought this bottle as part of a mixed 12-pack that was on sale at my local store.

Related articles:
- Bristol Brewing Mass Transit Ale review.
- Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes at Bristol Brewing.
- An annual celebration of firkin beer.
- Bristol Brewing XXX Warlock review.

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