Pardon me while I channel the late, great Rodney Dangerfield, but pale ales get no respect. True, some of the most ubiquitous craft beers at your local store are pale ales (we’re looking at you Sierra Nevada and Dale’s Pale Ale), but as the craft beer world turns increasingly towards hoppier IPAs and double IPAs, the pale ale—once the darling of the beer world—has lost a bit of its luster. In general, pales lack the pizazz of their more dynamic cousin, the IPA.
I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to overlooking the pale, and yet, when I come across a solid version like Cigar City’s Invasion Pale Ale, I can’t help but swoon over the beer’s simplicity and overall drinkability. Invasion pours a deep, cloudy amber that borders on orange and offers a strong citrus nose. I pick up everything from the expected grapefruit to more intriguing hints of mango. It’s a well-carbonated beer with a pleasant creamy mouthfeel and a fine layer of sweetness—like ripe fruit—two characteristics that make it a rising star in the pale category. There’s a slight citrus tingling on the tongue, along with a mild bittering affect, but it all disappears quickly, making you go back to the can for more.
Cigar City bills Invasion as a “tropical session ale,” and I’d say they’re dead on with that assessment. This is a beer made for hot days and long bouts of casual drinking. Picture yourself on the beach with a cooler of these babies by your side. Horseshoes, bikinis, pale ale. Scratch that, lots of pale ale.
Brewery: Cigar City Brewing
Style: Pale Ale
Availability: Year round