Like a lot of people growing up in Northern California in the 90s, my first exposure to craft beer was a little elixir known as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Unlike a lot of people in Northern California… I hated it. I still don’t like it. In fact, I disliked it so much it turned me off completely from Pale Ales.
Flash forward a few years and I finally met a Pale Ale I actually liked: Rubicon Brewing Company‘s Monkey Knife Fight. Aside from the great name, it was just really good. So when Rubicon released a new Pale Ale called First Contact I had to give it a try. It also seemed fitting to try it the same weekend the new Star Trek movie hit theaters.
The first thing you notice about this beer is just how good it smells. There is a hoppy aroma to it, but it’s more floral than your traditional hop- filled brew. Really, one of the best smelling beers I’ve had in a while.
The label is kitschy complete with an alien made out of hops. It might make it hard to take the beer seriously, which would be too bad. On the flip side, it did stand out from the other labels on the shelf so I guess it did its job.
The beer itself is a rich, golden, caramel color with a slight head.
Smooth. That’s the word that came to mind during my first sip. I always felt like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale tasted skunky and bitter. First Contact was neither of those things.
The great aroma translated into a Pale Ale had a really nice flavor. While it doesn’t have the hoppy punch of Monkey Knife Fight, First Contact is a nice alternative Pale Ale in Rubicon’s beer arsenal.