Saranac Pale Ale


Editor’s note: We’re republishing this review from May 2003 because the old copy still gets so much reader traffic.

We really liked this ale. It was a beer that grabbed the happy middle ground between thin, mass produced lagers that are served ice cold and hearty microbrews and English ales that are poured at a little below room temperature.

We tasted Saranac Pale Ale from 12 ounce longnecks served bone cold. It was a incredibly refreshing, a real lip smacker after a warm day, but offered enough malts and hops to excite our palates. Well done. (Rating: Good)

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Lagunitas Brewing Company Dogtown Pale Ale

Editor’s note: We’re republishing this review from April 2003 because the old copy still gets so much reader traffic.

We came across this one while in dodging junkies and snaggle-toothed street people in downtown San Francisco.

We paid $1.75 for a 12 ounce bottle. Lagunitas (that’s Lah-GOO-KNEE-tuss) is made in Petaluma, California. LBC’s IPA struck us as watery and not quite right, but this pale ale was quite good.

Pretty amber-copper color, a thin head…a nice easy ale that has good flavor, a nice balance between sweet malt and crisp hops, and a finish that bites but softly. Well done. (Rating: Very Good) For further info, contact Lagunitas at


Full Sail Wassail Ale , Half Pipe Porter, and Rogue Amber American Ale

Editor’s note: We’re republishing this article from February 2003 because the old copy still gets so much reader traffic.

God love the folks at Full Sail. Everything they do tastes great. This Wassail winter brew is a real biggin: it’s 6.5% ABV, robust flavored, offering a little mocha, cinnamon, coriander…Goodness. This is one big brown beer that grows tastier and tastier as it warms. Eat up! (Rating: Very Good)

The Half Pipe Porter is also grand. It’s a nearly black, fat headed brew. As with the Wassail, let it warm and breath a bit and you will be rewarded: soft smoke, chocolate…Yet it is not a huge, mouth blowing ale. Dare we say that it is delicate and restrained? Regardless- do try this one. (Rating: Very Good) For more information about Full Sail beers, surf to

As for this Rogue brew, well….

This brew is a beauty. Looks like a nutbrown when poured into a glass. It is malty, sweet, full-flavored, and full bodied. It’s an under 75 degrees Farenheit weather sort of brew that closes softly with delicious Cascade and Kent Golding hops. Yum. (Rating: Very Good) For more information on Rogue ales, surf to





Flying Dog Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale

Craft breweries are constantly evolving and becoming increasingly collaborative. Many breweries are actively seeking innovative ingredients that would never have been considered for a beer in the past and brewing new beers with other craft breweries and non-brewery partners.

This summer, Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland has done both by teaming up with Old Bay–the classic Maryland spice mix–to create a new summer beer, brewed with Old Bay. The result is Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale. It is a very drinkable ale with hints of spice on the nose (from the old bay), mild ale hoppiness, and a spicy finish that pairs well with food.

Food makes a big difference with the beer. The first time I tried it alone and it had a spicy aftertaste. The second time, I had it with a burger. It was much smoother and less spicy paired with food. Either way you consume it, you should try it. (Very Good)

This brew goes for about $8.99 for a six pack of 12 ounce bottles. Read more at