Despite the fact that the San Francisco’s Social Brewery brought home the gold in the “Classic English – Pale Ale” category at GABF in 2015, I, as a San Francisco resident, had never seen the brew on draft anywhere in town: until last week. One of my favorite local beer bars happened to be pouring it when I came in one afternoon, so I finally got to give it a try, and I was definitely not disappointed.
You don’t see a lot of English-style beers being made in California. Known for brews of a hoppy variety (the bar I was at is one I go to specifically because they have Russian River’s single IPA, Bling Pig, on draft all the time), it’s just not a style you see on draft very often here. Despite taking home the gold in 2015, The beer doesn’t rate super high on Untappd or Rate Beer, in part I think because people aren’t going in expecting an English-style pale, instead they’re expecting something more in line with breweries in the area like Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas — this beer is not that.
An excellent representation of the style, this one has just a touch of citrus married with woody grain, malt, and pine. It’s exactly what I would expect from an English brewery, or to be handed at a pub in London.
The malty backbone, however, makes this beer feel like more of a warm-weather pale ale than one you’d want to have during hotter summer months where something a little crisper should likely take top billing on the menu. Still, if you happen to see it on draft while you’re out and about, it’s worth giving this one a try and seeing what a gold medal English Pale Ale tastes like.
Brewery: Social Brewing
City: San Francisco, CA
Style: English Pale Ale