Three Nations’ GPA Makes The Grade.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Three Nations Brewing Company‘s GPA.

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Fast Facts on Three Nations Brewing Company’s GPA.
Style: Pale Ale.
ABV: 5.2 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 32.
Color: Medium orange.
Availability: Year-round in kegs and cans.

Overview.
Three Nations Brewing Company hails from Farmers Branch, a previously under-represented area in the Dallas-Fort Worth brew scene. Three Nations opened earlier this year hoping to change that, and it’s been pumping out an impressive and innovative pale ale with its GPA ever since.

The brewery’s focus lies in blending old-world styles from Europe with innovations from American brewing. And while, as of this posting, Three Nations has only two beers listed on its website, I can say with confidence that the company is on to something good here with GPA.

One thing that sets GPA apart from its peers in the pale ale category is its use of German Koelsch yeast, a medium flocculating and medium attenuating yeast that normally ferments at slightly lower temperature compared to other ale yeasts commonly used for pale ales.

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Background on Pale Ale.
Pale ales are refreshing, balanced and drinkable. Of all styles, this is one of my favorites. Balance is key to this style, though. Too much hop aroma and flavor, and the beer moves in to unbalanced territory. Likewise, too much highly-kilned malt or under-attenuated yeast, and the beer moves in to unbalanced territory on the other side. The hope is that a pale ale should carefully straddle this line. There is room on both sides, but it gets weird quickly.

Appearance.
GPA pours deep gold, almost orange, with a pleasant white head that sticks around for a few minutes. There’s noticeable lacing down the glass too. That’s not necessarily required for the style, but appreciated nonetheless. This is most likely a filtered beer, a testament to its clarity.

Aroma.
This beer smells like an IPA, minus the bigger malt backbone of a higher-alcohol beer. The American-hop aroma is huge on this beer. Because of the lack of a bigger malt backbone present like with a whiff of most IPAs (or double IPAs), GPA lets you know right off the bat that it’s a lower-alcohol beer. And I’m OK with that, because it smells like a bouquet of floral hoppy goodness.

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Flavor.
At first impression, I was afraid that GPA would fall victim to the recent epidemic of underwhelming session-ish IPAs that taste like hoppy water. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with GPA. Its huge bouquet of American hops tingles your tongue with big floral, piney, citrus notes. The aftertaste has a moderate level of bitterness that hangs around. Overall, this is a nicely-balanced beer. One note about the ABV: Depending on your definition of what makes a session beer (mine is less than 5 percent ABV), this beer borders on that session boundary with its 5.2 percent level. Another important note: The mosaic hops GPA uses are a daughter breed of the classic simcoe hop used in many IPAs. Maybe it’s the simcoe that gives the aftertaste on this beer a little bit of a “catty” bite.

Mouthfeel.
GPA has a smooth and biting carbonation, and it’s not too foamy or oily on the mouth like some other poorly-made pales or IPAs. Likewise, GPA tastes a tiny bit thin. But, hey, this is a low-alcohol beer; a higher grain bill would push this beer toward a higher alcohol percentage and into IPA territory.

Overall Impression.
This is a very nice pale ale. GPA teases with hops on the nose, hops in the taste, a biting carbonation and, for the most part, it isn’t totally overkill on alcohol, so you can drink a few without feeling like shit the next day. Not pictured in this review is Three Nations Brewing Co’s sweet can design.

Like I said, there’s a lot to like about what’s happening here with Three Nations.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Three Nations Brewing Company GPA a 7.5.

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What’s happening in the area brew scene? (Powered by Dallas Brew Scene.)
• Thursday, September 17-20. Addison Oktoberfest at Addison Circle Park.
• Thursday, September 24-26. Fort Worth Oktoberfest at Panther Island Pavilion.
• Saturday, September 26. Pegasus Music & Craft Beer Festival at Verizon Theatre.
• Saturday, October 3-4. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.
• Saturday, November 7. Untapped Dallas at Fair Park.
• Friday, November 13. 2nd Annual Brewer’s Ball at Renaissance Dallas Hotel.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Tupps’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

 

 

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