Piney hops, flowering herbs, orange pith, and honeysuckle give this copper ale a unique flavor, but it lacks any sort of substance.
I think every Pittsburgher who loves craft beer has a soft spot for PA breweries. It’s a slight bias that always has me reaching for familiar, regional brands when it comes to crunch time in a distributor. It also seems like a handful of taps at every bar in the burgh are devoted to local brews. Drinking around here, it would be hard to keep Tröegs Brewing Company, from Hershey, PA, out of your rotation. They celebrate their twentieth birthday this year and can be found everywhere in the area. However, last fall they did a complete overhaul of their image. Tröegs redesigned their old artistic style, and switched up the offerings a bit. The most notable being that Solid Sender Ale has replaced their classic Pale Ale, and is now a year-round staple in their flagship line of beers.
Thanks to being in a college town, I had to drop a steep fifteen bucks at the corner store to pick this up. Look how goddamn pretty the label is, how could I not?! In all seriousness, I am a big fan of the new artwork on their packaging. It was a bold move, but not everyone is happy.
There is some really negative stuff said there! Even worse, this was one of the very first press releases of the new concept. Being a small business owner, I know how making changes to your marketing can be terrifying when you consider it could be poorly received. Especially with the prevalence of social media today, things can blow up in your face real quick. Now we just return to the exhausting, age old debate between change and stagnation.
It reminds me of when Apple upgraded their iPhone firmware from iOS 6 to iOS 7. Lemme geek out and be an information scientist for a minute. All throughout the 2000s the realism design style dominated the web and operating systems. Fake leather and wood textures, shadows under icons, and 3D effects were found everywhere and attempted to add depth to virtual environments. Around 2010 this was outdated and the newer flat design style became more and more common. Apple’s update to their mobile interface in 2013 was billed as the “biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone”. Due to the popularity of the device, this upgrade was a huge benchmark in the transition from realistic to flat style in the industry.
Replace the iPhone with beer and you’ll understand what I’m getting at. Change is unavoidable, and there will always be dissenters. Tröegs has been around for twenty years, and that is forever in the recently booming craft beer world. The revamp was inevitable and necessary. The way we consume and discover beer, having an appealing label is critical to attracting customers. Obviously there will be strong opinions in the immediate aftermath of change. I don’t foresee Tröegs going anywhere though. Much like Apple, they transformed their image to something cleaner, sleeker, and more eye-catching in today’s market. Is it weird that I want to go back and try beers that I have had a hundred times just because they look and feel new?
Enough of the cosmetics, let’s talk beer. If marketing mattered more than taste, then beers like Thirsty Dog’s Old Leghumper or Rouge’s Yellow Snow IPA wouldn’t sell. It’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? I knew going into this that the 5.2% Alc/Vol wasn’t going to pack a punch, but I was disappointed by how weak Solid Sender tasted. The herbs and fruit add some unique flavors, and I would definitely enjoy it more if I was sitting on a porch in July. There just wasn’t enough substance for it to become one of my new favorite hoppy ales.
Being instantly added to their year-round selection, it’s apparent Tröegs put a lot of care into this release. They even did a “five things we love about our new Solid Sender Ale” series on their Instagram account. It is crazy drinkable, which might appeal to less snobby bear aficionados. In my opinion, the beer tasted good but wasn’t anything special enough to warrant a permanent spot in their collection. I recommend you try it and see for yourself, but I don’t know if I will look for this one again in the future.
Availability: Released on November 23, 2015 in 12oz bottles; 1/6 & 1/2 kegs
Mine was freshest by: 04/28/2016
Food pairing provided by Tröegs:
Suggested Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit