Automatic, a seasonal release from Creature Comforts, presents itself as a hazy and bright straw-colored pale ale. The large-bubbled, meringue-like foam, while aesthetically pleasing, dwindles a bit too hastily, leaving behind an impressive lace adhering to the glass. The label artwork, reminiscent of American industrial art deco, adds a touch of originality, akin to the works of Edward Hopper or Joseph Stella.


Before cracking open the can, the aroma of Automatic makes an immediate impression. The blend of Mosaic and Crystal hops creates a complex symphony of scents, featuring notes of berries, citrus, herbs, and pine. Lemon balm, vanilla frosting, and lemon pound cake emanate beautifully from the Mosaic hop addition, while the Crystal hops contribute green plant and lemon balm herbal characters that intensify as the beer warms.


The flavor profile of Automatic unfolds with dominant white pepper and honeydew rind notes. The absence of specialty malts in the recipe results in a super-dry mouthfeel, contributing to a crisp experience. However, this absence poses a double-edged sword; while it enhances the clean pale malt character, it also accentuates hop bitterness without adequate balance. The risk of abrasiveness and astringency is skillfully navigated, leaving a desiccated sensation in the mouth without crossing into harsh territory. With a mild presence on the IBU spectrum and a modest 5.2% ABV, Automatic aligns with the ideals of a true American Pale Ale, avoiding the trap of excessive bitterness and high alcohol content.


The mouthfeel of Automatic is characterized by its super-dry texture, a consequence of the no-specialty-malt recipe. While the lack of sugar in suspension enhances the snappy, clean pale malt character, it poses the challenge of potentially magnifying hop bitterness. Despite this, the beer manages to steer clear of abrasiveness, offering a desiccated mouthfeel reminiscent of chewing a cotton ball. The lower bitterness and alcohol content make it a genuine American Pale Ale experience, providing a respite from the prevailing trend of high-IBU, high-ABV counterparts.


Creature Comforts Automatic stands as a compelling rendition of a modern American Pale Ale, skillfully crafted by contemporary breweries. Eschewing specialty malts, the focus on aroma hops, lower bitterness, and alcohol content makes it an accessible choice for those who shy away from intensely hopped beers. While not pushing the boundaries of intensity, Automatic delivers a delicious experience. The lasting finish, reminiscent of sourdough bread, flour, and mild lemon acid, adds a pleasant touch, albeit deviating from the typical APA profile. Despite its merits, a subtle critique arises in the form of the beer’s overly dry body, suggesting a potential improvement with a touch of added sugar to enhance the overall flavor dynamics.