Mad River Brewing Company Steelhead Extra Pale Ale
What the brewers say
“A bright golden hued ale of medium body with a spicy floral hops character and very mild bitterness. 2008 and 2012 Gold Medal and 2010 and 2013 Silver Medal winner at GABF in the Golden and Blonde Ale category.”
What our panel thought
Aroma: “Earthy hops character is overshadowed by sweet candy with a slight vanilla, butterscotch, and graham cracker character—smells a bit like a Werther’s Original candy. It’s interesting, but slightly out of place for a pale. Hint of oxidization in the nose detracts from grapefruit and pine notes.”
Flavor: “Malt is definitely the most interesting thing about this beer, which isn't always the best thing said about a pale ale. Hops character is muted and subtle but some notes of grapefruit creep through. Toffee and butter character lead to a finish that’s a little sweet for a pale.
Overall: “An odd pale ale, with minimal hops depth but plenty of malt complexity. A bit more classic in its approach than some of the new APAs, but still tasty. The dialed-back bitterness helps the malt character shine—maybe a bit too sweet for the style, but pleasant.”