Dark Star Brewery ‘American Pale Ale’ – The Review

I’ve been having a lovely time at yet another beer festival in Morecambe. This latest one, which saw us move into cask ale week, has been held at The Royal Hotel, on the front of the promenade. It’s a lovely place that blends traditional pub interior elements with a good range of ‘fashionable’ drinks (Fruli on tap, that sort of thing). It started on the 25th of September, finishes today and, since entry was free, so not attending would’ve been the height of rudeness!

The choices on the front bar were, admittedly, uninspiring, but they had another one set up at the back especially for the event. After a warm welcome from the staff, I went on my (increasingly) merry way to try my first beer. The fact that this brew uses an imported yeast strain from America caught my eye, and plus it was light and relatively low in alcohol so a good place to start. “SERIOUSLY FULL OF HOPS,” says the brewery’s description – let’s put that to the test!

Vital Stats:

  • 4.7% ABV
  • CAMRA Golden Ale Gold award 2009
  • Brewed in West Sussex
  • Available on draught
  • Hops: Cascade, Chinook and Centennial
  • Malt: Maris Otter

Look The pump clip has the usual Dark Star branding, this one has a nice rustic naval look and plenty of stars ‘n’ stripes.

In the glass it’s a sunny gold with a loose head that dissipated quickly. 8/10

Aroma Hints of hop resin behind a light, fruity, slightly creamy nose. Perhaps not quite as expressive the Sunburst, but this was at a cooler temperature, I suppose. 7/10

Taste Those ‘woody’ tasting elements of the hops play alongside the bitterness and syrup or caramel flavours. Tastes darker than the colour suggests, actually, though there are plenty of candied oranges and light lemon notes that you’d expect from a pale ale of this kind. Very pleasant indeed! 8/10

Value £2.25 a pint. Wow. It’s nearly the cheapest pint of ale in Morecambe, and considering the bags of flavour, I think it’s fantastic value. 9/10

Session The mouthfeel develops progressively, the bitterness and creaminess gets more deliciously rounded. The tastes build, but don’t get cloying which is good news for session drinks. 8/10

It’s a very decent score for a very decent beer. I can’t say the flavours were experimental, new or surprising, but there were plenty of them and they were well-balanced. If you see it about you could sure do worse than to quench your thirst with one, or even two. And for the record, I’d say it had a lot of hops, but ‘seriously full of hops’ is a wee bit of an overstatement…

Final score: 80/100

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