Settle down, Hop Heads. Sometimes a simple beer is just what hits the spot.
Sometimes it feels like brewers are constantly chasing trends. And, too often pale ales are ignored in this hyper-experimental climate. Wacky new recipes are fun and important, but so are the classics. Moreover, pale ales are great because they are about more than hops; there's malt in there, too!
Yes, June is the perfect time to revisit American Pale Ale.
English pale ales are a bit softer and smoother than a typical American pale ale. They tend towards less alcohol and more malt than hop flavors. Here in 'Merica we like to turn up the volume on everything. Pale ale is no different. American pales tend to be more hops than malt, but only slightly.
Deschutes Brewery's Mirror Pond is a textbook representation of American pale ale...literally. The Beer Judge Certification Program lists it in its style guidelines as one of the best representations of the style. Not shabby, Deschutes.
For a bit softer version, Worthy's East Side Pale Ale has some of the mouth-feel of English-style pales, but still maintains some classic characteristics of American pales. It also has the pleasant contradiction of a dry finish, but lingering caramel-malt flavor. This is a crowd pleaser pale ale.
GoodLife Brewing Company's Dry Hop Pale Ale is another popular local. Though compared to Mirror Pond and East Side, it's a little rough around the edges. The hops are more pronounced, hiding that great malt flavor a bit too much.
Pale ales are excellent background beers, good with almost anything coming off your grill; summer is the perfect season for these brews. For a well-suited pairing, try American pales with medium-firm cheeses; the saltier and sharper, the better.
Make some room, the beer fridge won't be complete without a couple different pale ales at the ready. Simple, flavorful refreshment. Get some.