Sonoran Burning Bird Pale Ale
I’m going to come out and say it, because I’ve only said it a few times before and it deserves even more recognition, but I love Sonoran Brewing Company. I have now tried 3 of their 4 brews available for purchase in bottles (not counting the root beer, but I might just try that, too) and can’t wait to get to their brewery to try the rest. All of their beers are so flavorful and fit the styles they are labeled, they really know what they are doing over there in Pinnacle Peak. Not to mention, the heads on their beers are to die for. Beautiful, fluffy white stacks of bubbles, all more than 4 fingers thick with great retention…it must be a secret recipe, because none of the other beers I’ve tried have been able to produce such a wonder.
Speaking of heads, the head on their Burning Bird Pale Ale is hardly any different. I barely poured half of the 22oz bottle into my snifter before the foam had built itself up to such magnificent proportions, I didn’t even want to add any more liquid for fear of the head overflowing. The thick, fluffy, easily 4 finger thick creamy head of nice, big bubbles sat upon a lovely, lightly hazy, golden-orange liquid. It stuck around until the very end with great retention and left behind thick sticky sheets of lacing – everything about this brew is just as Sonoran as the others. They are nothing if not consistent!
I love watching the head continue to build upon itself in layers, only to fall slowly back down to a thin layer just on the top of the beer. It makes the whole drinking and reviewing process that much more satisfying. Sonoran brews are probably my favorite to drink thus far, and I am really eager to try the rest of their flavors and styles. The Burning Bird carried early wafts of a bright citrus that closely resembled grapefruit, a little bit of pine, and a very light malty sweetness that hid behind a delicately bitter blanket of refreshing hops. It was so summery in smell alone, I couldn’t wait to taste it and quickly dove in.
I was not disappointed. Sure enough, I was definitely given what I paid for, and much more. The beer tasted just like it smelled, only with a bit more of a kick. There was the citrusy grapefruit right at the front of my tongue, but I found that as I sipped along, the grapefruit was pushed to the back of my tongue by some very light sweet malts and accompanied by a slight bitterness, probably due to the hops. The best part about the strength of the flavors, was that although they were more robust than the scent, the whole drink itself leaned more on the mellow side with a medium to light body and a very fine carbonation.
Burning Bird starts off with a zesty beginning and smoothly melts into a dryer, bitter ending. I’m becoming a huge fan of bitter lately, which is not something I expected to happen throughout all of this tasting and writing. It is so easy to drink, I doubt I would have any problem (gracefully) sucking down two or three bottles on a hot summer evening here in Arizona. I’m really glad to know about this brewery so that next summer, when it starts hitting 120º and I start pretending to enjoy it while sprinting from my air conditioned car to my air conditioned house, because by that time, I’ll have a house, I can pop open one of these babies (or you know, the other delicious brews they offer) and cool off even faster and in good taste.