Beer of the Month: SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale


As I sat in a 100-year-old log and red brick pub deep in the Appalachian Mountains thousands of feet above sea level staring at a diverse selection of microbrews, domestics and imports, it quickly became clear which would be the first of the evening, SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale.

There were other microbrews from the area that I was anxious to sample, but what good would it have done the intrepid Osprey drinker to read a review about something unavailable in their natural habitat? So, I opted for the extra pale ale. I’ve had several other varieties of the Atlanta beer during some of my travels through the Southeast like the IPA and the Georgia Brown, but I was in the mood for something light and crisp after a long hike up the mountain.

When poured from a bottle, it produced a one-finger head that quickly dissipated into a light fluff. However, when draft poured, it stayed at a consistent minimal head. Regardless of the medium, it left a nice lacing throughout the entire drink.

It was a slight more golden amber than I am used to in my American pale ales but it only added to the light and sweeter flavor of the beer.

The aroma was fairly strong at first with a noticeable smell of hops but was complimented by its airy and fresh nature. It quickly dissipated, much like the head but was quick to return with a swirl of the glass.

It had good structure with hints of citrus, blueberry and floral hops. A slight grain taste as well as a stronger pale malt taste was visible throughout. It was also crisp and dry on the finish with a light body and no after taste.

It’s definitely easy to drink, as it is light and has a pleasant and semi-fruity taste and aroma.

The SweetWater Brewery, founded in 1997, has won several awards such as the 2002 Small Brewery of the Year award at the Great American Beer Festival and various others at the World Beer Cup.

SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale and several other variants can be found at Total Wine & More at the St. Johns Town Center for under $10.