Pale ale, the classic English beer

In the world of beer we usually use the English names. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, you’re always going to find the names of the beers and the styles in English. So let’s start analyzing this one.

A Pale Ale is a paler beer than a classic ale. The barley it’s been slightly malted, making it a bit darker than a lager and also with a more bitter flavour. It wasn’t until 1703 when they started to use this name comercially. In Pale ales, the hops start to have more importance than in Lagers, but not ignoring either the importance of the barley, which gives the beer a more biscuity flavour and more caramel notes than in lagers, where you’re looking for smoothness. The hops are more used to give it a subtle aroma than for bitterness (but this of course depends on the brewer). They’re considered one of the most versatile beers after Lagers, and it’s the kind of beer that I recommend you to drink if you’re used to drink mass production lagers and want to get a bit closer to the craft beer world. It’s also a good style of beer to drink with not very strong cheeses, or light things like fish or pasta.

In this style we can differentiate two sub-styles: American Pale Ales and British Pale Ales:

American Pale Ales

When Americans started to brew this kind of beer back in the 1980’s, they got the name more than what the british used to do. They were brewing the same kind of beer using more aromatic hops (US hops are very good for that) while the British ones are more bitter and earthy. A very good example of an American Pale Ale could be Gamma Ray, by Beavertown Brewery.

British Pale Ales

British versions of Pale Ales aren’t that different than the american ones. As I said before, hops in this kind of beer are more important than in lagers. British Pales are also clearer in colour and smooth to drink, and also have a bit more mineral taste due to the composition of the water. A good example could be Camden Pale Ale or Meantime Pale Ale.

In the Ale family there’s a lot other styles, but we’ll talk about them in the future.

What did we learn today? That Pale Ales are a good type of beer to get into the craft beer world as they have more flavour than lagers. And that there’s also two styles: British and Americans.


Source of images


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