Is it just me, or have American Pale Ales recently become more and more like an IPA? Loonie Kuhnie goes back to its roots and epitomizes the style as being a well balanced, clean, and hop forward brew with a refreshing American hop aroma and an ABV level that is on point with the BJCP standards for the style.

The hops cut right through on your palate but they also don’t beat your tongue to death with bitterness. It’s aromatic and is a gorgeous color. It hits all the right notes for me and I hope it will for you as well.

5.6% ABV

Appearance: A burnished gold colored brew sits before me. The head is white and has tightly packed bubbles. Overall it is relatively clear, but I wouldn’t say crystal clear.

Aroma: In my “drive-by” sniff I detect grassy, pine and resin forward hops. In the background lingers some subtle notes of strawberry. The malt character is like the middle portion of wheat bread (not the crust). The finish in my aroma reminds me of the crispness of cutting a green bell pepper.

Flavor: Strawberry, grape and pineapple seem to be the outstanding fruit characteristics, though they are relatively subtle compared to the pine needle-esque hops pulling through. The bittering components are quite mild, and are soothed with a sugar forward, bready malt note.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high carbonation. Bright and spritz-y. This brew is dry throughout. Very well balanced.

Aftertaste: Resin forward hop character lingers into the finish, along with an alcoholic glow and that mild twinge of hop bitterness.

Food Accompaniment: The Killer Mac and Cheese at HopCat. I chose to included grilled chicken, basil, marinated tomatoes and spinach in this meal. The bitterness and carbonation of the beer cuts out the fats and starches from both the pasta and cheese, while the acidity of the marinated tomatoes clears out the dryness of the beer. The basil and the spinach resonates with the herbal and vegetal characters of the hops. Overall, this food and beer pairing works, although it is not my absolute best. My recommendation? Eating this particular meal with a Belgian Tripel instead. The Pale Ale? I recommend eating it with a classic burger.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery