Oskar Blues Brewery's American pale ale had us guessing all sorts of wrong. Dale's Pale Ale, as it's known, hales from Lyon, Colorado. It comes in a can, draped in red, white and blue with hint of Buffalo Bill Cody on the label. We always knew we weren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, lest we be humiliated, but we couldn't help ourselves; Dale's Pale Ale looked like a great American train wreck. All those preconceived notions changed upon first pour.
Where to start with such a conscientious beer? It pours a wonderful, vibrant amber color, alluding to the floral flavors to come. Dale's is pleasantly effervescent, contributing to a solid head that reverently laces the side of the glass throughout the drinking experience.
The flavor holds its own with other pale ale's of the American tradition, similar to that of New Belgium's Ranger or Goose Island's new Green Line APA. Dale's has a nice bitter flavor because the hops play a complimentary role rather than a dominant one. Pale ales are supposed to be served at colder temperatures, and this is no exception.
While imbibing, the inert flavors establish themselves, ardently spreading out over the pallet. A relatively alcoholic beer, 6.5 percent ABV, the alcohol does nothing to impinge on the taste, letting the nice citrus undertones assert themselves. The only drawback is the price. At $8.99, Dale's is not a steal, especially when compared to cheaper APA's.
This beer is not meant to sit still, and that's why it comes in cans. Dale's knows it's everything an APA is supposed to be and a little bit more. It's secure with its identity, because it is a damn good beer, so it forgoes bottles for cans. It seems to be taunting drinkers to rethink their drinking experience. Is Dale's a great brew to drink at home? Yes, but it's probably even better to drink while exploring the American frontier.
Best served: Cold, straight from the can.
Best enjoyed: At a party where you don't want to seem pretentious with your beer choice.