Pinstripe Red Ale, Ska Brewing Company, Durango

Style: American Amber/Red Ale

ABV: 5.15 percent

Serving Type: 12-ounce bottle

Malty? Hoppy? Malty, but balanced with hops and citrus flavors

Reviewed: March 2013

This beer was a total accident. When the Durango-based brewers at Ska didn’t have enough ingredients to produce their True Blonde Ale during opening week in 1995, they made do with what they had on hand. The result was Pinstripe Red Ale, a brew that has become one of Ska’s staple varieties.

Pinstripe is on the subtle side of amber ales; nothing about it makes the drinker say “whoa.” But unlike so many Colorado microbrews that try to stand out with hops, hops, and more hops, Pinstripe is downright refined and light—without being boring. It’s color out of the bottle has more golden tones than many other ambers. It has a sweet, citrus taste that that is rounded-out with hints of caramel malts. Some critics call it too basic; I say it’s completely crave-able and the kind of beer that appeals to the masses.

Would we buy it again? I keep a six-pack in my fridge for an easy-to-drink, year-round ale.

Drink Like a Local: Mix the Pinstripe with Ska Brewing’s Blonde Ale for a lighter ale. The half-and-half concoction is a Durango tradition.

Jerilyn Forsythe
Jerilyn Forsythe
Jerilyn Forsythe is a freelance writer and editor, and 5280's former digital associate editor. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @jlforsyt.