Mighty Arrow Pale Ale is a seasonal APA brewed and bottled by New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado. The one I’m reviewing tonight comes in the 12 oz. brown bottle with the signature New Belgium band around the neck. I picked this one up as a single bottle at Cost Plus World Market … again, an excellent place to get great craft beer in single bottle form. I grabbed it because New Belgium’s Fat Tire is my most well-known of their beers, and I wanted to try a their Pale Ale. I’ve heard they don’t make many of these.
The Mighty Arrow is named for Arrow, a Aussie/border collie mix that lived at the New Belgium Brewery and “ran it [literally]” for 12 years. It’s made with Cascade and Amarillo hops and boasts a “honey malt base.” Pours copper into the snifter, with a frothy off-white one-finger head that disappears pretty quick and leaves some decent lacing. Definitely smells like a Pale Ale, with those Amarillo and Cascade hops right up front: the Amarillos dominate as the aroma is mostly grapefruit with very little pine. There was a twinge of something else that made me think of lemon (how can I tell the difference between grapefruit and lemon? you ask … I dunno).
Well-hopped for a Pale Ale, which is to say, it’s a weak sauce IPA. You’ll taste those citrus and pine notes immediately. And it’s sweet like honey, very subtly. I thought the mouthfeel was average based on less carbonation than I expected. Before the finish, I was going to give this beer a solid B. But the finish was memorable in a bad way: the hops faded into a dry, bitter taste akin to soap. It was, I imagine, like licking an unwashed lemon peel. Chalky and soapy. No thanks.
With such an unpleasant finish, I finished this beer quickly to hide from that aftertaste. I didn’t get any water … that taste lasted about 2 minutes before fading from my palate. That’s too bad. I hope it isn’t intended … can’t see myself warming up to that taste, ever.