The other night I got home from a long day downtown Chicago. It was super duper humid, a heavy day to be outside. Kabobs happened to be on the menu for the evening. I reached into the fridge for a cold one, and pulled out Odell’s 5 Barrel Pale Ale. I was happy: I have been really surprised so far this “summer” that both Pales and IPAs have gotten so freakin palatable in the heat for me. Of course there are styles fit for summer, but man, I have really started craving Pales and IPAs when it’s hot. Don’t know if that is strange or not. But it’s official: when it’s hot I now prefer a Goose Island IPA over a 312. Hands and feet down.

The grill was hot, the meat and veggies marinated in Trader Ming’s Soyaki, olive oil, sea salt and crushed black pepper. And Odell’s 5 Barrel Pale Ale was absolutely awesome.

Poured a nice brownish copper color into the classic pint glass, with excellent pine and citrus aromas, while I poured a perfect foamy 2-finger head. Smelled nice and sweet, definitely a balanced malt/hop combo. As it was a Pale, I licked my lips, knowing I could throw it down and not regret quenching my thirst in so eager a fashion. Really smelled great, felt cold. I had had a merely “okay” experience with Odell’s IPA, feeling that it didn’t quite live up to the style and deliver on its claims, so I guess I wasn’t really thinking the 5 Barrel would be that great.

I was wrong. The equilibrium of hops and malts was spot on in the 5 Barrel Pale Ale. A nice crisp bite to it, great carbonation, adequately hopped, well malted. I know a lot of “purists” claim Pales, IPAs, and DIPAs should have tons of hops and little-to-no malt presence. I simply disagree. As a guy who really likes hoppy beers, and really malty beers, this Odell creation is an absolute masterpiece. Now I wish I had brought back more with me from Kansas City!

Straight up awesome ale. I could drink a few of these… Grade: A

Matt: Pours a nice, clear orange color and immediately blasts you with a citrusy, orange candy slice aroma. I pick up hints of maybe tangerine or Clementine. The taste mimics the smell very closely which is not always the case with hoppy, aromatic beers. Man this beer is smooth. Almost too smooth meaning I wish it had a bit more alcoholic bite because the taste is so pleasing but it seems just a tad watery to me. It gently coats my mouth with a nice hoppy, resiny bitterness, making me want another sip, much like a tasty bite of food will make you want to take another bite. One thing for sure, this is a drinkable and tasty pale ale. I get a slight metallic, iron-y taste that I don’t enjoy so much but its hardly present and does not take away too much from my overall experience very much. With that said, I wish it wasn’t there. 5 Barrel is a well balance, hoppy, slightly fruity, smooth and delicious pale ale, one I wish was available in my region. Thanks to my friend Steve in Colorado for the generous, pre-vacation care package full of beers I can’t get my hands on regularly here in Chicago. (more reviews to come). I owe you one! Grade: A-

ABV: 5.2%

Final Grade: A-