Beer Review 0369: Ale Asylum Hopalicious Pale Ale

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Ale Asylum are the only brewery located in Madison, Wisconsin, and they brew all natural beer, with no preservatives. There’s only four ingredients here: water, malt, hops, and yeast. Nothing else. In fact, they call it “fermented insanity!”

While not much technical information is available about the brewery on the web, in 2012 Ale Asylum underwent a major expansion, increasing maximum capacity from 11,000 barrels to 50,000. So far, the brewery hasn’t distributed out of state, but with that big of an upgrade, you’d have to think it is coming soon.

Hopalicious is a year-round offering from the brewery, and is a Pale Ale brewed to be an everyday drinking beer for lovers of hops, without massive bitterness. This beer comes in at 5.8% ABV (alcohol by volume) and is brewed with eleven separate additions of Cascade hops.

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The pour on the beer issued a small but lasting frothy white head, which sat atop a golden beer. Translucent in body, the beer was quite cloudy but featured no particles or sediment. Lacing was good, leaving behind some nice spiderweb sheets.

The nose features earthy hops — lots of grapefruit and sticky, resinous pine. The hops are also herbal and grassy, and are backed by a bready/grainy malt bill. As for the balance, the hops definitely win, but the edge seems to be erased as the drink warms. Smells inviting.

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Sipping, the palate is hit with grapefruit and resinous, earthy pine. This beer is very crisp, like a Pilsner, and that aspect comes out in the middle of the taste, zipping carbonation bubbles over the tongue and etching out some citrus notes. The finish is lightly bitter and mainly clean, with some leftover grapefruit, grass, and spicy herbs. Hopalicious is medium-bodied, with a medium to thin mouthfeel that is foamy when swirled.

This is a good Pale Ale with a high drinkability. Ale Asylum realized their goal here, in spades; this satisfies hop craving without getting too crazy. I could see myself enjoying a few of these every so often, and I would recommend this to the novice beer drinker who has been weaned from macro lager and is comfortable with Pilsners, Wheat Ales, and wants to begin exploring hops.

Ale Asylum Hopalicious Pale Ale, 88 points. Price: $8.99 US for a six pack.

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