yellowbelly-pale-ale-barrel-300Is there a prettier pint in the city than Yellowbelly’s Pale Ale? The craft beer’s dark bronze colour is deeper and richer than other pale ales, which are often pale yellow, as the name suggests. So, Yellowbelly’s brewer Liam McKenna, in the English style, labels it a best bitter.

The scent gives you a good balance of full-bodied malt and slightly bitter hops. As for the taste, the light hops make it tasty and easy-to-drink, without putting your tastebuds into a state of shock. You may get a hint of grapefruit, caramel, and honey at the finish. An ideal session beer, it’s not too boozy (4.5% ABV), and perfect when you’re settling in for a pint or two.

Overall, it’s a simple but well-crafted beer, and that may be the reason it snagged the title of Best Local Craft Beer for 2015. It’s familiar, but not too familiar. It’s agreeable enough to be accessible to your average bar patron, but it’s got enough craft in it to make beer aficionados tip their glasses in appreciation.

In a marketplace increasingly encroached upon by major American manufacturers, eating up shelf space by mimicking (or buying out) true craft breweries, Yellowbelly Pale Ale is an excellent symbol for success. It reminds us that local things, done well, by people that care, can become the gold standard.