A Little Dab Will Do Ya
A Review of Habanero Pale Ale by Triangle Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/10/2011 by Chops
Coming off of the 2011 World Beer Festival in Durham, NC, I felt the need to show some local pride. My co-founder and I were fortunate enough to visit the Triangle Brewing Company and sample some of their delicious brews with owners Andy and Rick. We greatly enjoyed getting to know them through their mutual love of brewing. They were excellent hosts and we look forward to a return visit. After sampling many of their awesome brews, the stand out creation for me was their Habanero Pale Ale.

In the glass, this beer takes on all the great traits of a solid pale ale. It's crystal clear with that familiar deep golden hue. Not too dark, not too light, just right. Considering this beer's name, you're expecting quite a lot from that first whiff. But surprisingly enough, it's quite muted. I had prepared myself for the spicy explosion, but it never came. It smelled like a solid pale ale with a tangy hop profile resting on top of some muted maltiness. Interesting.

Then came that first sip. Wow, was I surprised. I should take a moment to note that most breweries do ''food'' beers terribly wrong. Usually when you see a beer with food on the label, it will taste like a baseline beer that has been infused with a puree of that food. More often times than not, it tastes way too overpowering and reeks of a mistake beer, almost like a brewery is trying to cover up a bad result. But Triangle got it right, and in a very big way. The take-home word here is ''implication''. You don't want to taste the habanero pepper. You only want to be reminded of it. And this is what Triangle did with their Habanero Pale Ale. It merely hints of the habanero.

The rest of the beer is also spot on with the style. It has a nicely balanced non-aggressive hop profile that is beautifully balanced with the habanero presence. Resting underneath a savory malt character with a touch of caramel. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and smooth, giving the beer a high level of drinkability. The finish is quite clean and leaves a delicate mix of hops and habanero on your tongue. I should also clarify that the habanero hints are savory and spicy, not hot.

Overall, Triangle's Habanero Pale Ale is an absolute gem. I can easily recommend this beer to any level of beer fan. Novices will find it to be a great intro into the spiced/veggie beer style without being accosted by odd flavors. Seasoned beer drinkers will find it to be the perfect example of how to brew veggie infused beers correctly. Hats off to Triangle Brewing for one hell of an accomplishment. Now all I have to do is figure out what Habanero Pale Ale tap is nearest to my home. Cheers!

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Habanero Pale Ale by Triangle Brewing Co.
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