Microbrew Mondays: Cisco Whale’s Tale Pale Ale

Posted: January 2, 2012 in Beer and Wine Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A very good friend of mine gave me a bottle of this and asked me to take a night to review the quality of the beer. When I first looked at this bottle, I wasn’t entirely sure about it. This certainly would be one I would walk right on by if I didn’t know to look for it with it’s unassuming packaging that could have been designed by a second grader and claim to be “good fresh beer.” But my kindergarten teacher (and later town librarian) told me to never judge a book by its cover, so I took the next night to sit down with this local brewer’s pale ale to see what was going on.

Whale’s Tale pours a beautiful caramel orange color. After pouring, an emulsion of caramel, toffee, and sweet malt notes emerged from the glass indicating that this is a classic English ale and should not be confused with a pale ale. I was anticipating some kind of APA or hoppy type aroma to waft its way to me senses, but this never came. However, on my first taste, hops started to rise up, but by no means were heavily prevalent. This made me correct my original thinking and abandon the English ale feeling. After several more gulps, I realized what Cisco had done. They had created a pale ale with heavy English ale flavors in order to marry the sweet and the bitter together in harmony. I had never actually had an English Pale Ale before and I must say that I quite enjoy the marriage. The flavor reminds me a little of Bass Ale or perhaps something from the Brooklyn Brewery line, but Cisco has created a wonderful unique flavor.

For you hop heads out there, Whale’s Tale may turn you off in that the hops are chained down by the toffee flavors and never fully emerge. I love me some pale ale, but being open minded, I quite like this too. I don’t feel that there is anything extraordinary about this beer, but it’s yet another example of a fine quality from a small local brewery. At about 5.6% ABV, this is a departure from my typical high ABV beers, but I didn’t miss it in this one. A 22oz bottle will run you around $6 or you find this in 12 packs for somewhere in the $16 – $20 region. You can only find Cisco beers down the East coast as far as Maryland as well as New York State. For the rest of you, if you’re ever in these areas, vacationing in Cape Cod or near Nantucket, do yourself a favor and check out this local offering. I’m sure Cisco has a lot more to offer in addition to this fine English Pale Ale.

Grade: B+

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