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Co-op Brew Corner: Dawn of the Pacific Ale

What’s in a name? To paraphrase Shakespeare: “a brew by any other name would taste as sweet.” Such is the case with elusive “Pacific Ale” label, a recently pioneered – and contested – brewing style. Most beer drinkers are familiar with the bitter, sometimes bracing, traits of IPAs and the dark, malty flavors of stouts. The Pacific Ale style can be more difficult to describe. And it’s not without its share of controversy. A prominent Australian brewery, Stone & Wood, went to court over its trademarking of “pacific ale.”

Despite recent debate, brew hounds continue to explore the Pacific ale style category. Across the Northwest and global craft community, brewers are in uncharted waters. Aslan Brewing’s Dawn Patrol is a shining example of local efforts to capture and share this up-and-coming style. Described by some as an American Pale Ale, Dawn Patrol self identifies as a new breed of beer.

A pour of Aslan’s organic Dawn Patrol Pacific Ale

Dawn Patrol Pacific Ale

~ Aslan Brewing of Bellingham, WA ~ 5.3% alcohol by volume / 18 IBU – Most beer is filtered, and some is pasteurized to extend its shelf life. Not Dawn Patrol. Unfiltered and unprocessed, this hazy hued ale is made with 100% organic ingredients. And it stands on its own. It pours a hazy burnt copper orange color, and is mild yet complex. Big on flavor and low on bitterness, this brew features a harmony of bold, tropical Cascade and El Dorado hops with spicy Rye malt. An additional blend of refined Euro malts – Caramunich, Munich and 2-Row Pale – round out Dawn Patrol’s slightly sweet, citrus taste.

Fresh out of the can, Dawn Patrol greets the palate with a minty hop aroma. A whiff of orange pulp and marmalade follow. The first sip reveals tropical mango and pineapple notes from Cascade and El Dorado hops. Elegant yet approachable, Dawn Patrol is equally at home with a campfire, a bowl of pretzels or a poached salmon dinner. Pair it with: flatbread pizza, CURED smoked Kielbasa sausages or oven roasted asparagus with garlic and lemon juice.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.