Introduction to Craft Beer Part 3 – What is a Pale Ale?

One of the more common beer styles you see is the pale ale. Understanding this is important because IPAs are called India pale ales and are a stronger version of a pale ale. Most pale ales tend to be on the darker side and have a significant malt taste in the background. Malt flavors seen in pale ales tend to be more towards the bread and toast flavor. Frequently the toasty flavors come from roasting the malts themselves. Some lighter color pale ales use different varieties of malts that can give them a nice sweet finish while not overpowering the hops.

Pale ales can be made with many different types of hops but typically have less hops than other styles so that the flavors are not as intense or bitter. Many pale ales in San Diego focus on the pine and floral hops. To understand these flavors think of familiar smells. The beers taste pretty similar. Pale ales tend to be lighter in alcohol, somewhere around 4.5%, with some stronger extra pale ales closer to 5.5% or even 6%. Many higher alcohol pale ales tend to be lighter in color.

Local Favorites: Saint Archer Pale Ale, Green Flash Pale Ale, Karl Strauss Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Helm’s Pale Ale, Alesmith X Extra Pale.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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