Having drunk a couple of Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale’s out of the can I was surprised what it looked like, when I finally poured one into a glass. The name, of course, hints that the beer will be extra pale, but the flavor is nothing less than what you would expect from any other pale ale.
The Steel Rail Extra Pale, brewed by South Deerfield, Massachusett’s Berkshire Brewing Company, pours a light straw yellow color with a fizzy white head that simmers down pretty quickly. The beer is slightly hazy with lots of bubbles. The carbonation is a bit prickly on the tongue. Surprisingly for a beer so light in color, the malt leads the flavor profile. Even on the nose, bready malt and dry husky grain are present. These give way to hops that are mild, but complex. Primarily, the hops add juicy citrus flavors, like lemon and oranges. In the back there’s some earthy, tobacco spiciness. As the beer warms a very slight leafiness comes out. There’s also a slight, and in no ways unpleasant, mineral note, perhaps from the water used in brewing.
Don’t let the extra pale color fool you. This beer actually has a good deal going on, even if it’s on the mild side. This one is similar to the Mystic Table Beer reviewed earlier in this column, in that it’s an interesting beer that you could down a couple of on a hot day. Think of this as a summertime thirst quencher for pale ale fans.