Drunken Speculation

#6 Boston’s Mill Pale Ale

bostons mill pale aleNot named for Boston in the US, as I had originally thought, but rather named for John Boston. He sounds a bit like the free-man’s version of James Squire: republican, surgeon, apothecary, opportunist, schemer, salt-maker, trader and brewer. Fuck me, people in the 18th century got shit done. It’s probably a lot easier to be productive without memes distracting you every fifteen seconds.

Looking at the back and, whoa, the description is probably longer than this article is going to be. The abridged version:

…[this beer] is a brilliant copper coloured ale, brewed using a combination of traditional pale and crystal malts. As well as the distinctive colour, the crystal malt imparts some caramel flavours and a lingering malt sweetness. A traditional ale yeast strain produces fruity esters, whilst three distinct hop gifts impart soft bitterness as well as a dominant hop character.

I could be wrong but I don’t think that last sentence makes sense. The aroma definitely has overriding caramel characteristics. I’m not getting much of the floral, fruity or other notes normally associated with what I would consider a standard pale ale. That’s a bit unusual but this is craft brewing so ironically, that unexpectedness is expected.

The photo doesn’t really make it clear but the colour is slightly darker than you would normally associate with pale ales, especially the lighter coloured likes of 150 Lashes. Definitely has a caramel colour and the beer is decidedly clear. The white head disappears quickly, which is a bit disappointing but not unexpected, although as per the above irony, everything is expected, even the unexpected. Now I’m not making sense.

Basically, I think everything about this beer is down to the crystal malts. The true pale ale flavours (fruity esters, soft bitterness) that Boston Mill have noted in their description get a bit buried under the caramel. If you want a vivid indication of what it tastes like, get your favourite standard pale ale and add one-third of an amber ale. Stir to mix up the flavours but not to flatten the beer and there you have it. But not ideal is it?

You could drink the Boston Mill Pale Ale for a bit if you were so inclined. There’s nothing too heavy about it and, perhaps if you’re not like me, this is a good way to get a malty, caramel flavour into your drinking without enduring the heaviness of a porter or amber ale.

Personally, I’ll probably give it a miss next time. I really only want one or the other. The idea of a hybrid, while intriguing, is not demonstrated sufficiently well here for me to abandon the purebred alternatives.


  • Website
  • Genre: Pale ale
  • Regionality: Sydney, NSW
  • Strength: 4.9%
  • Rating: 2 / 3 taste + 1 / 2 ancillaries = 3 / 5
  • Plus: I like the idea of mixing caramel and pale ale.
  • Minus: I’m not sure it works very well.
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