The Five Basic Styles Of Pale Ales

Did you know that the term “pale ale” originated in 1703 for beers that were made from malts dried with coke? Did you know that malts dried with coke are what gave pale ales their lighter color? Today, pale ales are known for their light-colored body and strongly flavored hops. I will be covering the five main styles of pale ales, so be prepared to learn!

American Amber Ale


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The American Amber ale’s popularity came from craft brewers in California and the Pacific Northwest. The ale’s American variety hops produce medium hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Beer drinkers can expect a well-balanced beer with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness. Most Amber ales are darker than other Pale ales but have more of a caramel flavor and body.

American Pale Ale 


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The American Pale ale was inspired by the classic English-style. The ale is known for its floral, fruity, citrus-like, and piney-like American variety hop character. With a medium to medium-high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. This style has a medium body with a possible low caramel malt character.

English-Style Bitter 


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The English-Style bitter has a malt-driven style, with a lower alcohol content and a hop bitterness of medium. With a gold or copper color, the bitter is recognized for its low carbonation and light body. Traditionally, this style is served cask conditioned, but a variety of breweries have bottled versions.

Blonde Ale 


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The Blonde ale is the perfect beer for your first ale. The ale is an easy-drinking beer that is visually appealing to many. With no dominating malt or hop characteristics, it is an American classic known for its simplicity. The Blonde or “Golden” ale is smooth and rounded, with possible honey, spices and fruit added.

English-Style Pale Ale 


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The English-Style Pale ale is known as an “ESB,” which stands for “extra special bitter.” This ale contains an earthy, herbal English variety hop character, while the yeast used in this style offers fruitiness to its aromatics and flavor. The color of the beer ranges from dark gold to copper with a medium to high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. This style is recognized for its full-body and its interplay between malt and hop bitterness.

Quiz Time!

  1. If you are new to beer, what would be the perfect pale ale to try?
    • English-style pale ale
    • English-style bitter
    • Blonde ale
  2. Where was the American Amber ale first made popular?
    • New York
    • California
    • Canada
  3. Fish and Chips would be the perfect food pairing for which style pale ale?
    • Blonde ale
    • English-style bitter
    • American pale ale
  4. What temperature are most pale ales served at?
    • 35-45 degrees Fahrenheit
    • 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit
    • 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit
    • 17th century
    • 18th century
    • 19th century

Make sure to save your guesses and check back on Friday for the answers!


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