Get to know the best of the pale ales
Now used to describe a family of a lighter-hued ale styles, the term ‘pale ale’ dates back to the 17th century when advances in technology gave maltsters more control over the colour of malts.
While the malt and hop character of pale ales is usually more evenly balanced than in the stronger, more hop-driven IPA style, at the other end of the pale ale category are the very sessionable, lower-strength English bitters.
The inspiration for many of today’s more hop-driven pale ale styles originated in 1975 at San Francisco’s Anchor Brewery. At just over 6%, Liberty Ale was a straw-coloured ale with exuberant use of locally grown piney, citrusy cascade hops – a first for US brewing.
Today the pale ale category can include Extra Pale Ale (XPA), American Pale Ale (APA), Session Pale Ale (SPA), and New Zealand, Australian or Pacific Pale Ale, which give an antipodean accent to APA styles by adding the herbaceous and tropical notes of New Zealand and Australian hops.
Liberty Oh Brother (American Pale Ale)
Pouring a deep golden hue beneath a fluffy, off-white head, the aroma and palate offer citrus and tropical fruit hop notes balanced by biscuity malt, leading into a long, clean finish. A flavoursome and rewarding pale ale. RRP$22.99, six pack 330ml.
Pirate Life Pale Ale
This beer is brewed with mosaic and cascade hops, giving it a deep and dark character with pine forest and citrus elements. Caramel malts keep things lush while a herbal edge and hearty bitterness round things off. RRP$5.99, 355ml.
Panhead Supercharger APA
A great beer with heady hop aromas andflavours from centennial, citra and simcoe hops and a heavy dose of bitterness. One for the hopheads. RRP$24.99, 6 pack 330ml.