Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pyramid Fling Pale Ale

Pyramid's new spring seasonal pale ale, Fling, is now out on the shelves. It splashed into the Portland blogosphere a couple of weeks ago: Angelo used the occasion to lament Pyramid/MacTarnahan's listless lineup and kooky marketing, then Jeff sang Fling's praises, reviewing it alongside Deschutes Red Chair. Shortly after that I was at the Green Dragon and happened to run into Rick Nickerson, a Pyramid marketing guy, who gave me a bottle of Fling to try. I cracked it open last night.

It's quite a nice beer, refreshing and drinkable. I find it odd that Jeff lumped it in with Red Chair -- Fling has much more in common with Deschutes Mirror Pond. In the glass, Fling has a very light golden color with a quickly dissipating head. There's a nice citrus-hop aroma. It's smooth and easy-drinking, and the hops contribute a distinctly lemony taste -- maybe due in part to an experimental hop variety that is part of the recipe. The hop bitterness stays on the tongue just long enough.

Comparing Fling with Mirror Pond is a big compliment in my book. With a constant stream of new beers and new brewers bombarding us in Oregon, it's easy to forget what a well-made classic MP is (the fresh-hopped versions of the last couple years are what re-opened my eyes to it). So is there room on the supermarket shelf for two similar pale ales? I think so, especially with the different hop characters. It's also puzzling to me that a lighter beer like this would be released as a spring seasonal -- the website says it will be available in February and March. It seems much more like a summer beer to me; moreover, it's good enough that I think it would pick up a following if it was available year-round.


  1. I agree that Mirror Pond is a great, under-appreciated beer. Due to a long family illness I spent a great deal time in coastal Central California over the past few years, and MP and Firestone Walker's beers were about the only decent beers available. I though MP superior to FW's pale ale.

  2. Alworth? He doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground.

    (Actually, the two beers got lumped because they were both spring seasonal releases and at least nominally pale ales. But you're right--the connection stylistically is weak.)

  3. Jeff: Now that you've mentioned style, it got me thinking, why are these breweries doing "Spring seasonals" at all?

    The beers aren't particularly spring-like, and the ingredients are available year round. It's more of an artificial gimmick.

  4. As opposed to an authentic gimmick?

  5. Dave: as opposed to a natural gimmick.

  6. I was really disappointed with Fling, although at $2.50 what was I expecting? It came across to me as a light bodied amber, hops are there but so is a lot of caramel-like sweetness.

  7. Bruce: Are we talking about the same beer? Maybe I was just misled by the very pale color, but caramel didn't jump out at me.


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