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Is Pale Ale Passe ?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by KStark, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Jerrky

    Jerrky Zealot (95) Massachusetts Sep 18, 2010

    No way.
  2. Jerrky

    Jerrky Zealot (95) Massachusetts Sep 18, 2010

    Your right, and hopefully extreme IPAs will be passe. While I love hops, I don't see the point of hopping a beer to the point where you can't taste anything else. A good beer has a nice balance and you can taste more than just the tongue numbing hops.
  3. Tho I still like SN Pale Ale on occasion I've become bored of it & its numerous clones (most of which aren't nearly as good). For a long time I think SNPA was THE standard for the American Pale Ale.

    I'm seeing sort of a renaissance / re-thinking of the style with newer pale ales such as Widmer Drifter & Victory Headwaters brewed on a broad scale (& some other boutique breweries) making balanced, interesting, drinkable pale ales that don't taste like SNPA. Seeing different hop combos being used too.

    Glad to see it as a customer not interested in the latest imperial / bbl-aged / belgo-style / adjunct-laden fad.
  4. fx20736

    fx20736 Advocate (685) New York Mar 7, 2009

    one of the best sentences I have ever read on BA.:)
  5. steveh

    steveh Champion (970) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

  6. 510a

    510a Savant (460) Washington Jan 12, 2013 Beer Trader

    Drinking A Red Chair as I write, Deschutes Mirror Pond is still a regular staple in my beer fridge. Locally we have Mannys Pale , tap only ,but its everywhere , and quite tasty.
  7. Handle

    Handle Savant (415) North Carolina Mar 16, 2009

    Took the words out of my mouth. This style will never become passe, no matter how many drinkers--myself included--reach for an IPA instead.
  8. thedominator

    thedominator Zealot (85) New York Mar 22, 2010

    Daisy cutter is the SHIT!!!!
  9. If passe is french for "Very tasty, sessionable beer" then yes, APAs are passe.
  10. basscram

    basscram Savant (395) Maine Mar 29, 2006

    I'll say one thing is for certain,.. Pale's are getting some nice additions of hops on the aroma end of the boil which could be pushing it to the ipa spectrum. your nose has a lot to do with things I believe. They are still moderate on their grain bill but use certain hops in the beer and crafted just so, as to fool your senses and also bring both senses of taste and smell together.
  11. bismarksays

    bismarksays Advocate (510) Iowa Dec 7, 2008

    Pale ales are not only popular, they tend to be very versatile. They are great as a session beer, match up well with a variety of foods, and express both the hops and malt well.
    Give me a SNPA or Widmer Drifter any day and I will be a happy man.
    tgchief likes this.
  12. I love a good pale ale. I buy quite a lot of them.
  13. That's just one specific pale ale. Not saying that it is passe as far as my own tastes go, but using one beer to argue that an entire style isn't passe doesn't sway me. Sierra Nevada simply makes such a good pale ale, but the style does seem to be phasing out. I do enjoy a good pale ale as a Minnesotan drinking Summit's flagship EPA, as well as drinking the SN Pale and 8 Bit from Tallgrass, but from the decrease in popularity I've noticed, it seems to be becoming a bit obsolete, with some specific exceptions as aforementioned, amongst consumers as a style.

    Those are my observations, anyways.
  14. jesskidden

    jesskidden Champion (810) New Jersey Aug 10, 2005 Subscriber

    The lastest IRI data I've seen, from November (admittedly, not the best source since it does not include on-premise and some other retailers) has IPA's at 16.6% of the total craft market (#1, other than "seasonal", as noted) and Pale Ale's at 12.3%.

    I'd say looking at those figures, one wouldn't accurately call IPA "dominate" nor Pale Ale "passé" - although IPA's share has been on the rise and continues to grow while the latter style is down. Still, throw in Amber Ale, Golden Ale, ESB and Blonde/Kolsch (all lower ibu and abv styles of ale) along with Pale Ale as a subset of ales, and IPA's don't even outsell those.
  15. I agree that anything with 10% or more share in any market can't necessarily be considered passe, however I suppose my question would be what these figures were 5 or 10 years ago. I would guess that the pale ale numbers have been dropping; past years number's put into a pattern would tell more of a story than a single year's numbers would. I may be wrong, but I would like to see what the pattern has bee, and of course only time will tell how this argument ends.
  16. Jimjohson

    Jimjohson Zealot (80) Georgia Dec 26, 2012

    I've been wanting a Schoenling for a while, grew up on 'em. When a fermenter comes open I've decided to go after that Cincinnati Pale Ale that Palmer mentions to see it it'll scratch that itch. :)
  17. steveh

    steveh Champion (970) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Oh gawd, the IPA villagers are lighting their torches...
    mgoose likes this.
  18. Kadonny

    Kadonny Advocate (705) Pennsylvania Sep 5, 2007 Beer Trader

    I actually just got the Pale Ale bug last week since warmer weather is on the horizon (it is on the horizon, right, I mean Punxutawney Phil didn't see his shadow so winter is almost over) and am picking up a Troegs Pale Ale sixtel tonight. I can't wait, I haven't had the Pale Ale on draft in probably two years, should be good.
  19. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Advocate (635) New Jersey Mar 6, 2008 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Are figures for the volume of beer sold or the $ amount?
  20. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Advocate (515) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    IPA has been growing insanely. If I remember my IRI data correctly*, IPA was up something like 40% year over year.

    *highly unlikely

    Edit: looked it up, the IRI data I was referencing was midyear 2012. +39.9% for IPA. It was year-to-date numbers vs same mid year numbers in 2011. "Double, Triple, Imperial" IPA was up over 60% (they were included in the IPA numbers also). This is dollars, not volume.

    Edit to my edit: As of that point in the year, IPA had passed Seasonal, but Seasonal repassed it later on. Fall and Winter are good times for the Seasonals.
  21. jcrackimus

    jcrackimus Aspirant (25) Indiana Feb 11, 2013

    You can't go wrong with Alpha King or Zombie Dust. Just picked up a case of Alpha King and couldn't be happier.
  22. hagbergl

    hagbergl Savant (320) Maryland Aug 27, 2009

    While IPA has certainly outstripped Pale Ale in popularity many times over, there have been a TON of really good pale ales that have come on the market recently that I've gotten to try. I think these have all been mentioned earlier in the thread: Maine Beer Co.'s Peeper and Moe, Victory Headwaters (definitely NOT an IPA in disguise a la Zombie Dust), Half Acre Daisy Cutter, Hill Farmstead Edward...And I recently got to try 3F's not-so-new APA's, Zombie Dust and Alpha King. In short, I feel like there are plenty of great Pales out there and that the style's enjoying a bit of a resurgence. I know I've been drinking more Pale Ale than I used to.
  23. Kinsman

    Kinsman Advocate (660) California Aug 26, 2009

    Well I could have used any brewery with a flagship APA but I specifically said SNPA because of it's popularity. BeerAdvocates for years have drifted more towards the big and bold styles yet SNPA is still widely respected and enjoyed amongst this vocal minority and outside of BA, it's incredibly popular with craft and non-craft drinkers alike.
  24. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Advocate (515) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    "Many times over" apparently means 1.3.
    drtth and jesskidden like this.
  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Champion (810) New Jersey Aug 10, 2005 Subscriber

    Since my interest in the brewing industry is beer-related, and not investment-related ;) I prefer to use volume comparisons.

    It is interesting in the macro vs. craft stats to see the different market share numbers of dollar vs. volume, but I don't think it says much with"pale ale vs. IPA". Yeah, the dollar share percentages are broader (18.1% vs 11.9% respectively) - but what does that mean, other than IPA's generally cost more? I suppose it could be attractive to a brewery- make an IPA, throw a few bucks more hops in the kettle and get an extra dollar or two for every case wholesale?

    And without on-premise/keg sales counted, the spread is probably made wider. In my locals, pale ales and IPA's tend to cost the same amount. I pay the same for a draught of HopDevil that I do for Headwaters. Most people don't order "Gimme five dollars worth of IPA..." nor probably even look at draft pricing when ordering. I don't know, SN Pale Ale and SN Torpedo are the #1 sellers in their respective categories, do people really buy SNPA because they don't want to pop for the extra 17¢ a bottle for a sixpack that cost a buck more?
  26. I wonder what percentage of those pale ale sales are Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? Correct me if I'm wrong (I think you had a post regarding this recently) but hasn't SNPA recently passed Boston Lager as the number 1 selling craft beer (behind seasonal of course)?
  27. jesskidden

    jesskidden Champion (810) New Jersey Aug 10, 2005 Subscriber

    A little less than half - SNPA has 5.9% of the craft market within that IRI "food" store designation.

    The IPA market is much more varied, with SN Torpedo, NB Ranger, Lagunitas, RH's Longhammer, Deschutes and Stone all in the Top 20 craft brands.

    I think those two brands have been neck and neck for that title for a few years, but, again, since the IRI doesn't count on-premise or some other retailers, I don't think that's definite - esp. given what I assume is SABL's larger draft/on premise presence.
  28. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Advocate (635) New Jersey Mar 6, 2008 Subscriber Beer Trader

    When i took the tour at Sierra Nevada 1n 11/1011 the tuor guide stated that SNPA was just less then 65% of total production.
  29. I love my beer full bodied, usually dark (imperial stouts rule!) but I dig an SNA or 2 at local restaurants. It's usually the best one they offer, and goes well with anything. Northern California was drowning in it uncontested for at least 10 years, so my friends and I burned out on anything pale for a long time, but I bought a sixer of Mad River Steelhead Pale for my wife yesterday (she's still a rookie) and it was as tasty as ever! As long as there are warm summers and people who want to drink something decent all day, it'll stick around.
  30. Pale ale's are what got me into craft...SNPA, Dales, Victory Headwaters...the problem is that they have become a stepping stone for IPA's..and once you get into IPA's regular pale ales...excuse the pun...pale in comparison. They don't offer the same flavor and bite that a good IPA or DIPA do. But they're solid beers to give your friends who may not be ready for an IPA. So to answer your question..they don't need to be revisited by breweries because true enthusiasts have already visited them and moved on to bigger and better. Yet they should continue to brew them for they are tasty enough for an experienced craft drinker to enjoy from time to time and mellow enough for those less familiar with stronger hop flavors.
  31. I think it was higher a few years back. Torpedo and other beers they make are doing well.
  32. I love a good pale. Sometimes after too many IPA's I like a little malt balance and want a pale. Mirror Pond, Flying Dog Doggie Style, Sierra Nevada Pale, New Glarus Moon Man, these are beers I can any time any place and put down 2 or 5 as well without getting un-driveable like IIPA's. Some of the IPA blur-ing styles like Alpha King and Red Chiar rock as well.
  33. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,045) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    Sigh, that's always been my problem in life- it's so difficult to just move on. Maybe one day I will find a way to do it, and finally get shown the True Enthusiast secret handshake.
    patto1ro likes this.
  34. ESHBG

    ESHBG Savant (265) Pennsylvania Jul 30, 2011

    Interesting topic, and one I was just thinking about recently as I was downing some Victory Headwaters (which I thought was just okay the first time I tried it, but over the last year I am really starting to dig this beer!). Here are my random thoughts on Pale Ales:
    • Many breweries are almost turning them into IPAs or...
    • ...many breweries are making them too bitter and "off" tasting.
    • Some examples of Pale Ales I enjoy: Yards (but I admit it, being a huge Pilsner fan the Pilsner malts they use has a lot to do with it), Victory Headwaters, SNPA (a solid brew for sure, but this one is just okay to me), Sam Adams Boston Alle.
    • Some examples of Pale Ales I have just been "Meh" about: Stone Pale Ale, GL Burning River, Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale.
    So I guess it would be a fair statement to say that I want my Pale Ales to be more English style and/or a bit tamer?
    I think this is a good way to sum up Pale Ales in the current market:
    I haven't had one in a bit but every time I do, this is pretty much how I feel as well.
  35. Kadonny

    Kadonny Advocate (705) Pennsylvania Sep 5, 2007 Beer Trader

    I disagree. You say that a pale ale is only good for beginner craft drinkers and for a craft veteran "from time to time". There are many, many craft beer veterans that really love and drink pale ales on a regular basis. I'm one of them. To say they are only good as a stepping stone to IPAs is insane.

    If you clearly differentiate between an APA and IPA, you can see the advantages of each. An APA is usually crisper, cleaner with less malt and much easier to drink than an IPA. Does that make it only a stepping stone to IPAs? Of course not. Tons of breweries brew APAs and sell plenty of them for various reasons, mostly of which are because all kinds of people love them and drink them, even veteran craft drinkers. In fact, I just tapped my keg of Troegs Pale Ale for spring drinking and its sublime. Fresh and hoppy, just how I like it.
  36. Ok..don't get so excited....in my original post substitute the words "craft drinker" for "IPA drinker" and that's the point I was trying to make...And when I wrote "true enthusiasts" I was referring to IPA enthusiasts. As I said earlier...being an IPA lover, I still enjoy APA's from, yes and I'll say it again "time to time." Yet MOST of them, not all, just don't satisfy the hop craving like a good IPA or DIPA. And that's way I see it.
  37. Kadonny

    Kadonny Advocate (705) Pennsylvania Sep 5, 2007 Beer Trader

    A good hoppy APA can satisfy a hop craving with no problem. Alpha King, Dales, Zombie, SNPA, Burning River, Troegs PA etc are all damn hoppy. Now if it's true depth and complexity of both malt and hops you crave, then yeah an IPA is a better beer to have.

    I just thought you sort of dissed the APA when it didn't deserve it, that's all.
  38. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

    Yeah, I got stuck drinking Mild. What an idiot I was.

    I've moved on to Imperial Mild. Much better.
  39. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Advocate (635) New Jersey Mar 6, 2008 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Well said. As a style i prefer APA's to IPA's. There are 2 reasons why. APA's are more refreshing and go better with food than IPA's.
  40. Ron, you have a singularly rascally wit!;)