Review: Pale 31, Firestone Walker

Pale 31
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. — Paso Robles, CA

  • Style:  Pale Ale
  • Bitterness: 38 IBU
  • ABV: 4.6%
  • Malts: Premium 2-Row, Maris Otter Pale, Munich, Crystal
  • Hops: 
    • Bittering:  Fuggle
    • Aroma:  Cascade, Centennial, Chinook
    • Dry Hops:  Cascade, Centennial, Chinook
  • Sampled: 12 oz. bottle

Description:  "One of the most award-winning American style pale ales in the country. This is the American beer style that started a revolution in taste. We’ve taken the classic British pale ale and elevated it with a wonderful dose of northwest American hops. A crisp floral hop aroma precedes a medium-bodied clean finishing ale."  — Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:   Pale 31 recently won a silver medal in Pale Ale category at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival.  The Gold medal winner just happened to be another Firestone Walker beer, Mission Street Pale.  So clearly, these guys know how to make Pale Ale!  This is one of three Firestone Walker beers I picked up about a month ago.  Pale 31 is fermented in oak barrels.

The tasting:  Color is light golden yellow and is hazy.  It has a white head that stuck around for most of the drink.  Aroma is light, but I got some citrus.  Flavor is mostly piney hops, and it's the predominant flavor in the beer.  I was surprised to see that it was rated at only 38 IBUs.  I expected it to be much higher.   It has nice malts in the background.  Body is light and it's very drinkable.  Pale 31 has a similar creamy mouth feel that I noticed in Solace.  I wonder if this is a result of fermenting in oak barrels?

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again.  I hope the GABF silver medal didn't influence my rating.  I liked Pale 31 because it has a nice strong hop flavor, but is nicely balanced with malts.  So far, I've been very impressed with the two Firestone Walker beers I have tried!

Have you tried Pale 31 or any other Firestone Walker beers?  If so, let me know what you think.


  1. Where can I find Firestone Abacus in Portland?


  2. On the eastside, I'd try Belmont Station, Beer Mongers, or Bottles. On the westside, John's Market or Mainbrew. Call first. If you get it, please let me know how you like it!


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