I can’t remember the last time my wife and I had a date night, but tonight we hired a nanny for the summer and we’re letting her watch the kids as a trial run. We went out out to one of our favorite spots in town for a date night – Reality Bites. The atmosphere here is dark and intimate and it’s pretty much what you’d call a “tapas bar.” They have a few craft beers on tap, and this was one I hadn’t had yet.
Location: On tap and served in a regular pint glass at Reality Bites in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 6.2% ABV, 60 IBUs, 192 Calories
Ingredients: Malt: Pale, Crystal, Munich, Carapils, Pilsner, Carastan; Hops: Cascade, Centennial
Appearance & Aroma: It’s dark in the restaurant, but it appears to be a reddish-copper color and very clear. There’s a decent-sized, foamy-creamy, off-white head on it, and a bready-biscuity malt smell covered with grassy and citrusy hop aromas.
Taste & Feel: The body is light-medium and the mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy from the head on it. The flavor up front was malty with mostly bready-biscuit (like the aroma) and some light caramel flavors. It didn’t take long for the hoppiness to kick in, with mostly citrus hop flavors with some pine and grassiness. The hop flavors grow in the finish with the citrusy flavors and bitterness taking center stage. However, the hop flavors were smooth and definitely not over the top (much more like a pale ale than an IPA). The hop flavors lasted for a bit in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This went very nicely with my fish tacos, as the breadiness matched the tortilla and made for a nice transition to the citrusy hoppiness. The hoppiness brought out the brightness in the lime seasoning the fish tacos. This beer would also pair nicely with a burger or other hearty meal which includes a mix of breadiness and seasonings.
Overall Impression: This was a very drinkable pale ale with a nice mix of maltiness and hoppiness. I enjoyed the balance and the mix of hop flavors. While the citrusy hop flavors dominated, there were piney and grassy flavors mixed in as well. Overall, I enjoyed this west-coast style pale ale and would recommend it for those who like hoppier beers and a good dose of west coast citrusy hops.