Sunday, February 28, 2010

243. Boulder Beer Drink-Off: Singletrack Copper Ale vs. Pass Time Pale Ale

These two beers are from Boulder Beer Company; we picked both of ’em up because we don’t normally see these beers in our neck of the woods (unlike the Hazed & Infused and the other premium Looking Glass Boulder Beers), so we figured that we should grab a couple to compare. We’ve previously tried Hazed & Infused, Obovoid and Flashback.

Singletrack has a sweet crystal malt nose with low levels of some sort of special roast in the background, and/or a drier biscuit aroma; it is a crystal clear copper color with a reddish hue and a minimal white head. It begins with a sweet caramel malt front before moving into a neutral middle with a touch of bitterness, and finishes spicy and dry with some lingering bitterness; the bitterness is bigger at the end than in the middle, giving Singletrack a cumulative or building sense of bitterness across the flavor profile. Singletrack is medium bodied with a decent carbonation level that helps keep the beer from being too sticky, although it is still a bit heavy on the palate. A good beer for regular drinking, but nothing overly exciting—works decently and is well crafted, but not as flavorful or as fresh tasting as the Pass Time.

From the Boulder website: “Singletrack Copper Ale is refreshing, yet full-flavored; a medium-bodied copper ale. Not too light, not too’s just right.”

ABV: 4.97%
OG: 13.2° P
Malts: Medium British Caramel, U.S. 2-row, Flaked Rye, & U.S. Carapils
Hops: Nugget & Tettnang

Pass Time:
Pass Time has a bready and low level fruity nose to start; it is a crystal clear pale copper to gold color with a minimal white head. The more aggressive bready and sweet nose leads into a sweeter but less substantial front; there is more sweetness and less caramel, and less body leading into the middle, which is lightly bitter and has a dryer toasty malt flavor. This leads to a finish that has small hints of toffee and butterscotch to accompany the lingering bitterness, and is more rounded and cleaner than Singletrack. Pass Time is medium to light bodied with a touch of creaminess at the conclusion; the carbonation is moderate, but helps round the profile, and while sweet is not sticky or cloying in any way—the sweetness carries with it a refreshing characteristic that is eminently drinkable.
From the Boulder website: “Pass Time Pale Ale is a smooth, soft, drinkable British-style Pale Ale—sit back and pass the time.”

ABV: 4.96%
OG: 12.9° P
Malts: U.S. Medium Caramel, U.S. Dark Caramel, & U.S. 2-row
Hops: Cascade, Chinook, & Hallertau

We’re giving the nod to Pass Time, partly because of the fresher malt flavor, and partly because it is more drinkable (although both are good drinking)—the brighter hop profile and the sweeter yet lighter body sits better on the palate. Although let’s be honest: if we lived in Colorado, this would be a debate worth having. But we don’t—we live in Dayton, and the lack of regional beer makes us wish we had either one of these beers as our local beer of choice.


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