I am, admittedly, a “hop-head” and absolutely love IPAs. My love affair with IPAs began in 2000 and my love for this style has only grown. And IPAs continue to be one of the most popular craft beer styles, whether it’s a traditional IPA, or a Double, Imperial, Triple, New England-Style, Red, or Black IPA… IPA’s are incredible diverse and appealing to so many people… like you and me!
With all that interest, it’s easy to overlook a wonderful craft beer style that is all American!
The American Pale Ale is a style that is similar to English Pale Ales and to Amber Ales, but differs from both because of a stronger hop profile. But, American Pales Ales don’t have the bitterness inherent in IPAs and often have almost no distinct bitterness. And that’s part of the appeal of this fantastic beer style.
What really separates American Pale Ales from English Pale Ales and Amber Ales is the use of American hops, with Cascade hops being one of the most popular types for this beer. But there are plenty of others that are used. Columbus, Summit, Crystal, Magnum, Galaxy, Zeus, Mosaic and Citra are just some of the hops that become part of the brewmaster’s recipe in brewing an American Pale Ale.
An American Pale Ale ranges from having a deep golden to copper color and are usually clear or slightly hazy. When you raise your glass for a drink, you’ll pick up citrus and floral aromas and when you taste it, you’ll find low hop bitterness. The malt flavor is more apparent in an American Pale Ale because it’s not overwhelmed by hops the way the malt is in an IPA. You’ll sometimes taste a slight biscuit or caramel flavor that the malts bring to American Pale Ales. You’ll also notice that you won’t usually detect alcohol in the flavor and if you do, it’s very mild.
If you’ve not ventured into the American Pale Ale style, pick up a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It is a beer that is almost universally acclaimed by craft brewers as one of the best craft beers made in America.
The Craft Beer Guy