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Bale Breaker Brewing Company | Field 41 Pale Ale

Bale Breaker Field 41 Pale Ale

ABV: 4.5% | IBU: 38

Recently, at a north Seattle neighborhood taproom, I overheard a patron declare her aversion to “hoppy beers.” Puzzled, I wondered if it was the hop aroma, earthy flavors or customary bitterness that displeased her. Maybe she hadn’t yet tried a hop forward session ale that didn’t clobber her with an intense and boozy ABV. Did she really dislike hops? I didn’t ask—and she didn’t say. But I did think back to this occasion the first time I tried Bale Breaker’s Field 41 Pale Ale. Let me explain.

Hailing from the country’s top hop-growing region of Yakima Valley, Washington, Bale Breaker Brewing Company is nestled among acres of family-owned, commercial hop fields. Co-owned by a small group of fourth-generation hop farmers, Kevin Quinn, his wife, Meghann, and her brother, Kevin Smith (formerly of Seattle’s Two Beers Brewing Company), Bale Breaker epitomizes the idea of a “locally-run” and “locally-sourced” brewery. So, it’s no surprise that Bale Breaker’s beers are hop forward. In fact, the owners even named their Field 41 Pale Ale after the vast hop field the brewery occupies.

One of Bale Breaker’s flagship beers, Field 41 is an easy-drinking session pale ale, dry-hopped with the brewery’s star ingredient—locally grown hops. This light-bodied, golden brew has an aroma of citrus, floral hops and pine, supported by a huge hop flavor, but without too much bitterness. It’s a smooth and balanced ale with a gentle malt backbone, crisp mouthfeel and dry finish.

Field 41 is a beer for all occasions—and for beer enthusiasts of all tastes. Equally suited for a winter day on the ski slopes, a sunny picnic at the beach or a chill evening with Netflix, this brew has the juicy hoppiness of an IPA, but without the bitterness or heavy ABV.

Thinking back, perhaps I should have recommended Bale Breaker’s approachable Field 41 to my hop-adverse neighbor that day in the taproom. It may have changed her mind about “hoppy beers.” Or not. Regardless, Bale Breaker’s Field 41 Pale Ale is a satisfying sipper for anyone who loves hop forward beers, or is willing to give them another try.

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  1. Hmm since our blog was tagged in the tweet and I live in North Seattle… I think some beers are over hopped just for the sake of IBUs. I like balanced beers and I find many Imperial IPAs to be much more enjoyable than regular IPAs. By balance, I mean the malt-hop balance and the hop flavors balance. When I find the hops excessively over whelm the malt, that I experience either palate fatigue or I can’t taste anything but hops for an hour afterwards. That is especially true when I am judging or when I am working on food pairing. I love a great IPA but I do think there is a thing of too many hops. I am not hop adverse. There are lots of hop forward beers that I love. It’s all about the balance.

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