Pale Ale is arguably the most diverse beer style, with a wide range of subcategories packed with their own characteristics and flavour profiles sitting under its umbrella. IPA, APA and Golden Ale are all popular examples, yet there are plenty of beers labelled simply as “Pale Ale”, so what does this mean?
Originally, this term was used to name beers with malts that had been roasted to a lesser extent than what was common at the time (early 1700s). These beers were paler in colour and stronger in hop character than Porters and Stouts, as well as highly aromatic with a clean, bitter flavour. A century later, the style was refined in Burton-On-Trent, where the pure water, containing an abundance of the mineral gypsum, imparted the beer with a now-signature, biscuit flavour. In the modern era, Sierra Nevada is the brewery widely credited with revitalising the style for a new audience.