When you think of summer days spent by the beach, at a camping site, watching the football game, or just de-stressing after a long day or work, there’s one thing that you’ll find in the picture for all: a nice cold, refreshing pale ale.
Because pale ale is the all-American go-to drink.
It is the perfect hoppy pick-me-up to accompany any occasion and make it that much better.
So, to help you out this summer we’ve compiled a list of the best pale ales (and then some).
You’re not doing summer right, if you’re not tasting these beers out.
ABV = Alcohol by Volume.
IBU = International Bitter Units (pale ales usually range 50 and above for this).
Though the terms are often used interchangeably, ale is merely a type of beer. Because it is brewed using a warm fermentation technique, ale is a sweeter and usually more fruity breed of beer.
Pale Ale, is among the more bitter types of ale. It is made with a lighter colored malt, hence the pale coloring. It is also the oldest beer in existence, and the beer that started the great brewing scene in America.
Three Floyds Zombie Dust
ABV 6.2% IBU 50
Bringing you into the world of the undead, Zombie Dust by Three Floyds Brewing Co. is a refreshing citrus pale ale with average bitterness and high alcohol content. It’s taste is reminiscent of the original Sierra Nevada Pale, but with funky bottle art (the bottle concept was actually created by comic artists).
Hill Farmstead Citra Single Hop Pale Ale
Exhilarating and crisp, this pale ale is made entirely of American Pacific Northwest Citra hops. It hits you first with hints of citrus and floral, and leaves you with a grassy aftertaste.
Toppling Goliath Seudo Sue
ABV 6.2% IBU 50
Actually named after the biggest T-rex fossil ever discovered, Seudo Sue by Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is flavorful and juicy. The drink is full of evergreen and grapefruit aromas, accompanied with a lovely mango taste. It is a must try for anyone who loves a good IPA brew.
Half Acre Daisy Cutter
Daisy Cutter by Half Acre Beer Company is full of fragrant hops and, you guessed it, flowery scents. It has a gentle bitterness to the tongue and is more than easy to drink. This pale ale has a special place amongst the natural tasting beers.
Though it may be the all-American alcohol, pale ale was being brewed in England way before America got into it.
Considering the years of experience they’ve got under their belts, the English make a pretty mean pale ale as well. Let’s take a look.
Timothy Taylor Landlord
Winning more brewing awards than any other beer, Landlord by Timothy Taylor’s Championship Beers is a smooth golden pale ale you simply cannot go without. It’s got the perfect balance of malts and hops, and the ABV is great for a couple drinks to liven the night.
Hop Back Summer Lightning
With a hoppy aroma and acute bitterness, Summer Lightning by Hop Back Brewery is an absolute summer necessity. It is as refreshing as it is dry. If you’re looking for a light, bright pale ale this summer, this one’s for you.
Oakham Bishop’s Farewell
Bishop’s Farewell by Oakham’s Ales has a sweet, rich taste you’ll never forget. Smooth and buttery, with fair amounts of carbonation, this ale is lovely for any summer afternoon.
La Cumbre Pyramid Rock Pale Ale
ABV 5.8% 55 IBU
A lingering caramel sweetness, Pyramid Rock Pale Ale by La Cumbre Brewing Co. has you running for more. Made from English Crystal malts, this pale ale is full of earthy undertones and citrus notes.
Cairngorm Trade Winds
Trade Winds by The Cairngorm Brewing Company brings together elderberry and Perle hops for a fresh masterpiece. The ale is pure and simple, with a high concentration of wheat. Trade Winds has a raw and earthy taste to it, yet sweet enough to make every sip a pleasant experience.
If you don’t know already (or know but aren’t quite sure), hops are the pretty green flower at the ends of the female hop plant. They contain alpha acids, beta acids, essential oils, and flavonoids.
Hops are made in all different regions, each greatly affecting the hop in flavor and bitterness. Germany and the United States produce the most hops, followed by China and the Czech Republic.
In the end, the best hops for your pale ale really depends on your own palette. However, if you’re brewing your own pale ale, the thing that makes all the difference when it comes to hops is the ratio of IBU to FG (final gravity), a measurement that is weighed and evaluated during the fermentation process of the beer.
Every beer lover knows that the glass really matters. Different shaped glasses allow the varying types of beers to breathe and carbonate distinctly.
So, to get the richest flavors from your pale ale, you’ve got to use the right glass.
The shaker pint glass is just a simple glass whose sides flare to the top. It is the classic glass you see at every bar and brewery. The shaker pint generally holds about 16 oz (although the English version holds 20 oz). If you’re not looking to spend a lot, this is a great cheap glass option, and the one you should consider.
If you’re going for a cup with a little more character, the Stein glass is the one for you. It’s huge size makes it a perfect match for low alcohol pale ales, i.e when you want to drink a lot and want your cup to hold a lot. These giant glasses are fun to buy themed, personalized, or in a set.