Pale Ale

A beer made by warm fermentation using predominately pale malt.

Origin

Glassware

Pint Glass

Snifter

Food Pairing

Hamburgers

Colby

Gouda

Beer Styles

American IPA

The American IPA is a different soul from the reincarnated IPA style. More flavorful than the withering English IPA, color can range from very pale golden to reddish amber. Hops are typically American with a big herbal and / or citric character, bitterness is high as well. Moderate to medium bodied with a balancing malt backbone.

Examples: Bells Two Hearted, Ballast Point Sculpin, Victory HopDevil

American Pale Ale (APA)

Of British origin, this style is now popular worldwide and the use of local ingredients, or imported, produces variances in character from region to region. Generally, expect a good balance of malt and hops. Fruity esters and diacetyl can vary from none to moderate, and bitterness can range from lightly floral to pungent.

American versions tend to be cleaner and hoppier, while British tend to be more malty, buttery, aromatic and balanced.

Examples: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 3 Floyds Zombie Dust, Deschutes Mirror Pond

American Pale Wheat Ale

An Americanized version of a Hefeweizen, these beers range within the pale to golden range in color. Reminiscent of a Hefeweizen in appearance, unless filtered. Long-lasting head with a light to medium body, higher carbonation is proper. German Weizen flavors and aromas of banana esters and clove-like phenols will not be found. Most use a substantial percentage of wheat malt. Hop character will be low to high but most are moderate in bitterness. There may be some fruitiness from ale fermentation though most examples use of a fairly neutral ale yeast, resulting in a clean fermentation with little to no diacetyl.

Often served with a lemon wedge (popularized by Americans), to either cut the wheat or yeast edge, which many either find to be a flavorful snap … or an insult and something that damages the beer’s taste and head retention.

Examples: Bell’s Oberon, 3 Floyds Gumballhead, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat

American Double/Imperial IPA

Take an India Pale Ale and feed it steroids, ergo the term Double IPA. Although open to the same interpretation as its sister styles, you should expect something robust, malty, alcoholic and with a hop profile that might rip your tongue out. The Imperial usage comes from Russian Imperial stout, a style of strong stout originally brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court of the late 1700s; though Double IPA is often the preferred name.

Examples: Sixpoint Resin, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Elysian Space Dust

English Pale Ale

The English Pale Ale can be traced back to the city of Burton-upon-Trent, a city with an abundance of rich hard water. This hard water helps with the clarity as well as enhancing the hop bitterness. This ale can be from golden to reddish amber in color with generally a good head retention. A mix of fruity, hoppy, earthy, buttery and malty aromas and flavors can be found. Typically all ingredients are English.

Examples: Boddingtons Pub Ale, Bass, Fuller’s London Pride

English IPA

First brewed in England and exported for the British troops in India during the late 1700s. To withstand the voyage, IPA’s were basically tweaked Pale Ales that were, in comparison, much more malty, boasted a higher alcohol content and were well-hopped, as hops are a natural preservative. Historians believe that an IPA was then watered down for the troops, while officers and the elite would savor the beer at full strength. The English IPA has a lower alcohol due to taxation over the decades. The leaner the brew the less amount of malt there is and less need for a strong hop presence which would easily put the brew out of balance. Some brewers have tried to recreate the original IPA with strengths close to 8-9% abv.

Examples: Harpoon IPA, Samuel Smith’s India Ale, Guinness Nitro IPA

Belgian Pale

Belgian Pales consume the Belgian brewing scene, and were initially brewed to compete with Pilsners during the WWII time frame. They differ from other regional Pale Ale varieties, by traditionally being less bitter, using aged hops for a delicate hop finish, and boasting sweetish to toasty malt overtones. They should be decanted properly, leaving the yeast in the bottle. This will showcase their brilliant color range from pale straw yellow to amber hues. Most will be crowned with thick, clinging, rocky white heads. Flavors and aromas will vary. Some have natural spice characters from yeast and hops, while others are spiced.

Examples: Leffe Blond, Orval Trappist Ale, Palm

Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Like a Belgian Pale Ale, the strong versions will also be pale to golden in color. What sets them apart is a much higher alcohol content that can range from hidden to spicy to devastatingly present. Expect a complex and powerful ale, yet delicate with rounded flavors and big, billowy, rocky, white head. Hop and malt character can vary, most are fruity and quite hoppy, but hop flavor and aroma will generally be within the low range and artfully balanced.

Examples: Duvel Belgian Golden Ale, North Coast Pranqster, Delirium Tremens