Beer Review 0046: Stoudt’s American Pale Ale

Stoudt’s Brewing Company, located in Adamstown, Pennsylvania, has a variety of lagers and ales on offer for the casual beer drinker to hardcore brew pro.

The company started as Stoudt’s Kountry Kitchen, a restaurant that opened in Adamstown in 1962. The business struggled until it changed into a Western-themed steakhouse called Ed Stoudt’s Black Angus, which eventually transitioned into an antique mall and Victorian-era eatery.

The beer part of the story began several years later in 1978, when Ed and his wife Carol started a German beer festival. They soon found that the beer available just wasn’t as fresh or good as it was in, say, Munich… so it was time to make one. As the story typically goes, things took off from there and today we have a large brewery, complete with the forty-five year old Black Angus restaurant, the antique mall, an artesian cheese and bread market and more.

Stoudt’s American Pale Ale, the beer subject to review today, is the company’s most popular beer ten years running. It’s 5% ABV (alcohol by volume) with 41 IBU (International Bittering Units) and is made with equal hops to malt, meaning this should be a balanced beer.

Stoudt’s has a relatively limited distribution, only going out to twelve of fifty states. My state (North Carolina) is not listed as a distributor — so why this was available for me to purchase right here in my home state is unknown to me. Perhaps a lucky mistake… time to review and see!

American Pale Ale poured with a modestly small head that was thin in texture but lasting. The liquid was a golden amber color with pleasant orange highlights, an inviting appearance for its warm color. The beer was cloudy but with no particles or sediment, and there was a vortex of bubbles rising to the surface in the middle of the glass. As I partook, the lacing left behind was wonderfully sticky and thick, completely encapsulating one side of the glass.

The aromas produced were overall light; watered down might be a good word, but what was present was nicely balanced and easy to discern. On the hops end, there was a nice citrus note that fell in the grapefruit range, with a hint of pine. The malts displayed caramel and a roasted nut. There were also whiffs of bubble gum, which was pleasant and a nice way to round everything out.

On the tongue, there is an initial flavor of caramel that is followed by a light grapefruit bite. The finish is neutral at first before becoming slightly bitter and roasted, almost like unsweetened tea. The texture of the beer was creamy and foamy, and it coated the mouth with an oily film.

Stoudt’s American Pale Ale is a very nice beer, for sure. This is a casual drinking beer, one with an ABV that you could session all night long and retain great flavors. What is here is not unique by any means, but the balance shown makes this one excellent and I encourage you to try it. I was surprised, in a very good way.

I hope it wasn’t a mistake that I found it in my local store, because I want more!

Stoudt’s American Pale Ale, 88 points. Price: $1.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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