This beer has a suggestive name. Take that Puritans!
One major anthropological movement suggests that the English Dissenters made land at Plymouth not because they wanted to settle there, but because, in fact, they had run out of beer. The Mayflower itself was an repurposed wine transport. Puritanical history is drowning in booze.
It seems odd to me that the Puritans – with their ever present sense of puritude – would be so into beer. I guess alcohol (and other poisons) were allowable when they were safer to drink than most sources of water. Maybe they just meant purity of spirit, not mind, body, or humor. Maybe they were just dumb. Maybe they weren’t into beer at all, and anthropologists are full of shit.
It seems appropriate that I discuss the Puritans when also discussing Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale, as these so-called Pilgrims are oh so very classic. They are the classic whiners and complainers, the classic hypocrites, the classic people who run away from their problems. I know, I know, this great country (and this great beer) wouldn’t exist if those 102 people and 25 crewmen hadn’t made the perilous journey across the Atlantic, but no one can really claim they were being particularly brave in 1620.
When all else fails, point one direction, yell, and run the other.
They are hypocritical only in that they claimed to come to this country to escape religious persecution, when it seems clear that they were just pissed that they didn’t have any one below them, spiritually, to persecute. I mean, they weren’t exactly tolerant of the people who came over later. Sucks to be the spiritual plankton of the Holy food chain.
This beer, too, is hypocritical. It claims to be a classic pale ale, and given that it was brewed in the classic style with subtle but present dry-hopping and an unwavering amber color, I would be brazen to deny it. I’ll definitely give it the “pale ale” part, I’m just not sure about the “classic”. It’s missing something. Something that makes me scream out, “Hot damn this is classic TO THE MAX.”
I guess it is kind of classic. I was just expecting classicer.
But, it is good. It is full-bodied but not overly hoppy. It’s got more behind it than Bass, but less behind it that Dogfish Head Shelter Pale.
It is definitely way better than being a Puritan. Even if they Puritans were into beer in a big way, I don’t think I’d be able to get past the whole “we frown on rampant hedonism” thing. That, and their outfits always looked terribly uncomfortable.
8 out of 10.
Next up: Sam Adams Cherry Wheat!