You can actually trace the craft beer revolution back to patient zero—Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Back when it was released in 1980, stores and bars alike were full of standard lagers. The crisp, hoppy beer was a blast of flavor the country didn't know it needed. It has become somewhat of the godfather of the brew ever since.
If you want a hoppy beer, a pale ale is like a punch in the teeth. Bitter and aromatic, this style of pale ale is almost truly an American invention, and if you're a fan, you'd put it right up there with baseball, the telephone and Chevrolet. Let's face it: All are of equal importance.
What Are the Characteristics of Pale Ale?
Made with pale malt, a pale ale is distinctly hoppy, more so than other ales or lagers. This high content of pale hops also results in a lighter color and a refreshing taste. However, pale ales, like tastes in most things, varies from North America to Europe. A British pale ale is fruity and malty, while the American pale ale is bitter and aromatic. So, whether you like smelling flowers or eating a plum, there are pale ale varieties for each individual's tastes. Pale ales also allow you a huge range of food options to indulge your inner kid, with burgers, chicken wings and pizza all mixing brilliantly.
India pale ale is another popular version of pale ale, but it's not made in India. It's typically more hoppy than British or American pale ale, but its origins are strictly from the United Kingdom. During the colonization of India, the Bowery Bow brewing company shipped pale ale to India for soldiers and British citizens. The only link that still exists between these two countries is a strong love of cricket.
How to Drink:
While pale ales are just fine out of the bottle or can, try to class it up a bit. Serve it around 45 to 50 degrees for the best flavor, and drink it out of a pint glass, or if you're real classy, out of a stein. It tends to have a fresher and more robust flavor out of the tap, so if given the option, turn to the keg. Make sure to do the same if you're deciding to have a shindig at your house.