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Cream Ale

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All About Cream Ale

Don't let an aversion to dairy products stop you from enjoying a tall, refreshing mug of cream ale. Though its name might suggest that it's made with rich cream, this beer gets its moniker more from its texture than from its ingredients. Find out why cream ale is so delicious and how best to enjoy this American beer.

What's the Story of Cream Ale?

While most beer styles originated in Europe, cream ale is distinctly American. In fact, it's the product of some serious competition. After all, what could be more American than that? When tastes started to change in the mid-19th century and beer drinkers started to prefer lighter lagers over heavier ales, American ale brewers knew they had to do something drastic.

So they invented an ale that had a lot of the properties of a lager and called it a cream ale. Sound sneaky? To make these, most breweries added non-barley ingredients to achieve a lighter taste. While wheat and rice are perfectly acceptable options, many cream ale connoisseurs prefer corn for its uniquely American flavor.

In addition to creating a lighter beer, cream ale brewers also succeeded in hurrying up the fermentation process. That meant they could make cream ale faster than other breweries could produce lager. In other words, they hit the jackpot.

How Does Cream Ale Taste?

Over 150 years after the first cream ale hit the market, this foamy beverage still serves as a showcase for American innovation. No two cream ales are alike, which means you'll find tons of variety among breweries.

Snag a cream ale with tangerine notes from Denver, a dry-hopped brew from Boston or a darker ale from Chicago. Set your sights west and sip a light, beachy cream ale from California or a fruity, floral version from Oregon. The sky is the limit.

Best Times to Drink Cream Ale:

While there's really no wrong time to throw back a can of cream ale, this brew is best enjoyed when you're looking to relax with an easy-to-drink beer. Think beer, buns and sun. Get a few beer-loving friends together, fire up the grill and sip a few cream ales while soaking up the sunshine.