Forget images of con artists and snake oil salesmen, because Maplewood Brewery & Distillery’s Charlatan pale ale is nothing like its namesake. Instead, the Chicago-made brew has built a hoppy reputation as an exemplary American pale ale, winning awards in the style category at the Great American Beer Festival in 2016 and 2018. Generously dosed with Citra, Centennial, and Simcoe hops, Charlatan is heavy on fresh citrus flavors with a subtle hint of earthy pine.
Appearance and Aroma
On looks alone, I’d be drawn to this beer. It pours a brilliant clear gold out of the can with a big, bright layer of off-white foam. The head sticks around well after pouring and leaves lacing on the glass. The aromatics are strong, with biscuity sweet malt upfront and zesty notes of fresh-cut lemon, orange, and tangerine.
Charlatan is a straightforward pale ale with just the right punch of refreshing citrus hop flavor.”
Charlatan is crisp and bold on the palate and starts off with the flavor of bitter grapefruit. This subsides quickly and gives way to bready malt flavors balanced by strong hop flavors of lemon, orange, and earthy pine. The ending is dry and clean with a resiny aftertaste lingering at the end.
Sometimes I like to keep beer choices uncomplicated. During those times, I reach for a simple American pale ale. Charlatan is one such straightforward pale ale with just the right punch of refreshing citrus hop flavor. If more readily available where I live, I know I would be reaching for it more often. Alas, only those in the Windy City get to enjoy it for now. Find Charlatan in Chicago year-round in cans.