Tonight I’m drinking Summer Pale Ale by Indigo Imp Brewery, which is located in Cleveland. The interesting thing about Indigo Imp is they use open fermentation for brewing all of their beers. Quoting from their website
“With open fermentation, each batch may be influenced by wild yeast in addition to the yeast added by the brewer, resulting in slight flavor variations from batch to batch and season to season.”
Because they add yeast in addition to that which floats in from the air it’s not quite the same thing as spontaneous fermentation used by Belgian brewers to make Lambics, but it is in the same spirit. Cleveland is not exactly known for its fruit orchards and pristine air so it’s a valid question to ask if the wild yeasts in Cleveland match up well with the Senne River valley of Belgium. The point being that adding some yeast in a controlled manner may not be such a bad thing. Indigo Imp bottle conditions all of their beers, and I like the themed artwork on the bottles as well. Each 6-pack comes with one beer with a wax seal over the bottle cap. You could make an argument that Indigo Imp is the most innovative brewery in Ohio.
- Brewery: Indigo Imp (Cleveland, OH)
- Style: Belgian Pale Ale
- ABV: 6.4%
- Price: $1.99 for a 12 oz bottle
On the label it says this beer is brewed exclusively with Northern Brewer hops.
It’s a bit late in the season to review their Summer Pale Ale, but better late than never. To the eye it’s golden amber in color and very hazy, reminiscent of a wheat beer. Due to the bottle conditioning it pours with a massive white head that fills nearly half the glass. Even after 3-4 minutes there is still a lot of carbonation, with the tiny bubbles racing up to the top of the glass to break their confinement. To the nose it smells like a Belgian ale, fruity esters and candi sugar. No real funky or sour notes here. The taste pretty much follows from the nose. A little less fruity than I might have guessed from the smell, but pleasant enough. There is no bitterness to speak of, nor is this an overly sweet beer. It’s got a nice creamy mouthfeel and a smooth finish that is neither too dry nor too sweet.
This is an easy drinking, straightforward beer. It would be easy to throw back quite a few in a sitting. Given the open fermentation and my previous experiences with Indigo Imp beers I was expecting something a little more unusual. The bottle conditioning and exceptional mouthfeel are both a step up from your typical summer wheat or blonde ale. As the name implies it would be a great summer beer and I wouldn’t hesitate to choose this one over most American wheat beers (even the good ones like Oberon). It’s a pity I waited until a dark November night to review it.
Rating = 7.5
Rating scale: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers in the world, 8 = very good, one of the top beers in its style category, 7 = good, a solid beer I’m happy to be drinking, 6 = average, not bad but not something I’m likely to buy again, 5 = below average, 3-4 = poor, should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.