Black Abbey "The Champion" American Pale Ale

My third Black Abbey beer. The first was mediocre and the second was about the same (but only when not ice cold). This one is an APA, so I expect a solid, American taste and some brilliant hops. I hope the brewers don't read the previous reviews and think that I'm not pulling for them - I totally am! I want good beers wherever I am, and I'm in Nashville right now.

The beer is a lot more red and amber than I expected, and the bubbles sit patiently on the top of the beer, not wanting to cling to the sides too much for fear of offending. So, no lacing. The aroma is exceedingly faint, but I am getting malt and... I think I have some hops, but it's really not putting off much smell at all. If I hadn't read that this was an APA, I'd have guessed that this was an amber with its understated demeanor.

First sip is also reminding me more of a malty amber. It's not as bland as that breed tends to be, but it's not shouting about hops, and it's so damn relaxed and drinkable that I'm not even sure I care what they call it. I wonder if a swig will be as good.

Tip-in is sweet caramel malt and mild carbonation tingle. This is the way you want to use carbonation - screw the lacing. As the middle comes along, the caramel mixes with toffee and some more subtle grains and even a possible hint of hops glide down the gullet in a smooth, even stream. The finish eventually brings a wave of slight bitterness and a little acidity, but it doesn't sour the nice flow.

Bottom Line: A delightfully calm and flavorful beverage that does the hometown proud.



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