Designed to showcase a German hop variety, Alexander Keith’s Saphir Hop Ale from Anheuser-Busch InBev pours a light amber colour with a creamy off-white head that dissipates quickly, leaving behind nothing but a thread-like collar. This American pale ale has aromas of black tea, bergamot, lemon zest, black pepper and dark honey, with hints of wet grass, perfume and red grape skins.
The taste of Alexander Keith’s Saphir Hop Ale starts with a sharp honey sweetness then quickly becomes very dry, with a bitter citrus peel flavour apparent throughout that becomes quite pronounced in the finish and aftertaste. Subtle notes of toasted caramel malt and strawberry can be detected as well. This ale is grainy, earthy, mildly viscose, scantily carbonated and leaves my mouth feeling rather dry in between sips.
The can that Alexander Keith’s Saphir Hop Ale comes in has a white and brown pattern reminiscent of canvas, with matte royal blue accents. A description of the Saphir (sometimes called Sapphire) hop is found on the side, along with serving suggestions. Coded freshness dating is stamped on the can’s underside.
Alexander Keith’s Saphir Hop Ale is mildly interesting, but fairly odd overall with flavours that seem disparate and never really come together. It isn’t the best of the Hop Series, but the beer is worth a try if you’re at a restaurant or venue that only has AB InBev products. This ale would pair well with salads (both green and fruit-based), mild cheeses, light bread, grilled chicken breast or pork chops.
In Ontario, Alexander Keith’s Saphir Hop Ale is available at many The Beer Store and select LCBO locations. It is also distributed throughout the rest of Canada.
Type: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Anheuser-Busch InBev
Format Purchased: 473 mL
Alcohol Content: 5.5%