Charlottesville craft beer powerhouse Starr Hill is about to release a brand new summer seasonal, Grateful Pale Ale, and we got a chance to knock out a six pack before the beer hits the shelves.

Personally, I’m a sucker for anything that’s reminiscent of the heyday of Jam Bands (girls in flowy skirts, selling grilled cheese from the back of a van so you can buy beer for girls in flowy skirts…), so Grateful Pale started with a big check in the “Pro” category.

The beer pours more like a pilsner than a pale, with a light straw, almost transparent color in the glass. You get a huge citrusy (grapefruit) aroma and flavor upfront followed by the typical bitterness associated with hop-heavy beers. But Grateful comes across lighter than most pale ales on the market, thanks in large part to its crisp, lean body and low alcohol content (4.7 percent abv).

Now, I hate it when beer reviews stop after that first two or three initial sips. In my mind, you don’t know a beer until you hang out with it, drink several at one sitting, and then live with the consequences the next day. And this is where Grateful Pale outshines its competitors. I’m happy to say that this beer gets better and better as you move through the six pack and doesn’t leave a trace of regret the following morning, unlike many of the local pales you find out there today. I’m looking at you Wicked Weed Brewing!

Bottom line: This is a session beer for American pale ale lovers, or a great intro into the hoppiness of pales and IPA’s for craft beer beginners. If you’re looking to transition a friend from the land of Blue Moon into the beautiful world of local beer, this could be your ticket.

I’d say it’s my favorite beer from Starr Hill, although to be certain, I’d have to try every single beer they produce side by side…which I’m willing to do in the name of science.

We got our Grateful Pale in a six-pack of bottles. If you live between Pennsylvania and South Carolina, you can do the same starting May 1, when Starr Hill releases this summer brew to the public. And here’s something else to look forward to in May—BRO is producing a feature about summer seasonal releases from local breweries, and the best outdoor bars in the South. So May is shaping up to be the best month of the year.

Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.com 

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