In honor of a recent weekend excursion to the foothills, this month’s tasting will be Auburn Alehouse’s Fool’s Gold Pale Ale. “The Pale that Packs a Punch,” as they proclaim, is made just up the road in Placer County.
At first glance, the off-white head is generous, dense and foamy. The aroma is fresh and bready, and the body is pale, golden straw in color.
The taste is immediately fresh and light – a real easy drinker, but with a warming alcohol finish. This brew is 7.8 percent ABV, surprisingly high for a “pale ale” – rightly so, as they refer to it more specifically on the label as a West Coast strong pale ale. Others refer to this type of beer as a strong American blonde, or more simply, a strong ale.
The body is perhaps the best characteristic of Fool’s Gold. The medium body and creamy head are full enough to leave a feeling of weighty satisfaction on your tongue without ever being excessive. Combine that with the warming aftertaste, and the flavor profile is complete without trying to do too much.
Sometimes it’s nice in this complicated world to sip on something full-flavored, simple and balanced. If your brain is tired, you are feeling like a zombie and all you want is a little satisfaction and a few warm feelings, not much is better than a well-made strong blonde. It’s not bitter, not sweet, not heavy, not sour, not light or fizzy, not pretentious or complicated… no frills when you’re not in the mood, just a damn good beer for the 21st century.
Other local and regional variants of this style (by no means all identical) include the well-known Mendocino Brewing Company’s Eye of the Hawk, Loomis Basin Brewing Company’s Alohawk, and a certain Big Blonde Zombie said to be coming soon from rising local star New Helvetia Brewing Company.
Fool’s Gold is great alone, but would pair nicely with something simple, creamy and nutty – Danish Fontina cheese and whole grain crackers come to mind. Trade sips and bites and you’ll soon feel alive again.
Don’t forget to check out our upcoming beer event while you’re at it! “Taste, Review & Brew” will be held next week at New Helvetia Brewing Company.
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