- Food and Cooking
Beer Reviews: Pale Ales and IPAs
A beer drinker's reviews of Pale Ales and IPAs
In this page I will review different IPAs and Pale Ales.
These reviews are my opinion only and have no commercial purpose whatsoever.
Also, the picture attached to this introduction has nothing to do with ale or beer reviews. It is an antique photo I found, but honestly, doesn't this lady look like she could use a good cold brew?
What is an IPA (India Pale Ale)?
Back in the days of British Imperialism, the soldiers stationed in India wanted and needed beer ... not as a recreational beverage but as a source of clean water. Since this was before the time of refrigeration, it was too hot to brew in India. Beer had to be shipped from elsewhere. A beer was developed that would last the 6 week ship journey without spoiling. It had a high level of hops as a preservative and was pale in color as lighter colored malts were starting to be used by brewers. These pale malts were more economical as you could extract more sugars from them than you could from darker malts. Also around this time the cost of glass dropped considerably and people liked the appearance of a lighter colored ale in a glass vessel.
What is a Pale Ale?
A variation of IPA came into vogue in England, brewed for the most part in Burton-on Trent. It was the beginning of pale ale.
Pale Ales tend to be lower in alcohol than IPAs and lighter in flavor, though they can and are aggressively hopped. American Pale Ales and IPAs tend to be more "in your face" than English style IPAs and Pale Ales. Also, in England, Pale Ales are referred to as Bitters.
Hoppy Trails IPA
Appalacian Brewing Company, Harrisburg PA
Appalachian Brewing Company is a solid regional brewery in South-Central PA. They have brewpubs in Harrisburg, Camp Hill and Gettysburg PA.
Appearance: Pours a deep gold with a solid white head. The head has good staying power. The beer is clear and has a constant stream of bubbles rising through it.
Smell: Citrus and pine balanced by an almost cracker-like aroma. Balanced.
Taste: The flavors of citrus and pine from the hops dominate but are backed up by a sweet bready malt flavor. A nice bitter aftertaste typical of the style is present.
Mouthfeel Medium bodied and no real carbonation sting. Refreshing
Overall:A good representative of the style. Lots of American hops flavor and well balanced. This beer would go great with sharp cheese and would balance any sweet dessert.
Misery Bay IPA
Erie Brewing Company, Erie PA
This is another IPA from a PA brewery. I prefer to support local and regional breweries.
Appearance: Pours a nice amber, crystal clear and topped by a thick head of various sized bubbles. The head leaves lacing around the glass.
Smell: As soon as I opened the bottle I was able to smell grapefruit and pine from the hops. The aroma from the glass also includes caramel and malt
Taste: Nice. Bitter and good hops flavor come through first but is backed by caramel and malt. The hops bitterness lingers after.
Mouthfeel: Light bodied and no carbonation bite
Overall: This is a good example of an American IPA. Well balanced and puts domestic hops to good use. Would pair very well with a sharp flavored cheese, a sweet dessert or a beef dish.
Double Old Thumper Ale
Shipyard Brewing Company, Portland ME
Style: Bitter is another name for pale ale in England. This is a double strength bitter so I am not really sure what category to place it in.
Appearance: Pours a coppery brown in the glass with a thick white head that is long lasting
Smell: Sweet and malty with dark fruit and a definite alcohol presence
Taste: Sweet, malty, fruity and hoppy followed by a strong alcohol aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with no carbonation or alcohol bite
Overall: Warming. This is a beer to sip slowly and savor.
Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico CA
Rye is a grain that more and more brewers are using in their beer. It has a distinctive flavor that goes well with sweet malts and spicy hops.
Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a thick white head that is long lasting and fluffy
Smell: Spicy hops and peppery rye dominate the smell with tones of sweet malt and caramel
Taste: Sweet caramel and malt flavors are balanced and contrasted with spicy hops and rye. Nice flavor. No alcohol in the aftertaste, just citrus and spicy hops.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a smoothness that makes it very drinkable
Overall: A good IPA. It would go well with steak or any other meat dish. It is well balanced and satisfying.