83 of the Best American Pale Ales, Blind-Tasted and Ranked

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Stignacious, Feb 23, 2016.

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  1. SmashAdams

    SmashAdams Feb 3, 2015 New Jersey

    MO is fantastic but for me Otter Creek Overgrown (not tested) is right up there with it.

    And it's a 3rd of the price.
    hillind and ONovoMexicano like this.
  2. ajcuster89

    ajcuster89 Apr 14, 2014 Vermont

    TG is probably too busy dropping out of EBF, again, to be bothered by anyone else.
  3. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico

    One takeaway from this list is that I just realized most New Mexico breweries don't even bother making APAs. IPAs and up.
  4. TongoRad

    TongoRad Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    That's probably reflective of your market. It's not a pale ale if it's not made for drinking all day long, so maybe there's no call for that kind of beer.
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  5. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico

    I know plenty of people that drink all day and would benefit from a lower ABV beer, but it's often joked around here that a 7% IPA is on the low side of things.
    TongoRad likes this.
  6. Kadonny

    Kadonny Sep 5, 2007 Florida

    Not me, 7% is sqaure in my targeted IPA abv. 6-7.5 is my optimal IPA range.
    WesMantooth and ONovoMexicano like this.
  7. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico

    A great local brewery called Bosque Brewing debuted a 4.8% session IPA about a week ago and it's kind of redefined my desired ABV. It's low enough I could drink a 64 ounce growler and still be sober, but amazingly has the body, feel, aroma, and flavor of something that usually packs a lot more punch.
    sharpski likes this.
  8. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Mar 17, 2009 Massachusetts

    Knee deep placing 3rd is what surprises me; amongst some of the best pales in the country. That beer is pretty bad
    tzieser likes this.
  9. David_Deas

    David_Deas Jan 26, 2016 North Carolina

    About 7.5% is what a modern IPA comes in at these days, while 8% is the cut in for a double IPA.

    Didn't use to be like that but the difference between a double and a single is getting pretty narrow.
  10. Sir_Whats-his-face

    Sir_Whats-his-face Mar 2, 2015 Oregon

    It's always surprising to see Boneyard on lists like this, not because of quality- they obviously make incredible beer- but because their beer is so cheap an easy to get out here, I often take it for granted. It's rare and frankly shocking to go to a bar in town that doesn't at least have RPM IPA on tap, and the place down the street from me does $2 pints on Mondays. I'm gonna miss that when I have to leave Oregon.
  11. nick0417

    nick0417 Jun 13, 2014 Illinois

    Yeah, sometimes I do. I'll have my wife pick a few examples of a style and I'll taste them out blind. I did a very small pale ale tasting a few months back and of the beers available in my area, SNPA came out on top with Moon Man a very close second. Now, of course, I only tasted six pale ales with a pretty limited scope in terms of distro...
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  12. ELS

    ELS Apr 22, 2012 Florida

    Another point is how many ounces of each beer they drink when they do the blind taste test. I've had plenty of Pale Ales and I know from experience that for some I really enjoy the first few ounces but by the end of the pint of beer my opinion has changed and I realize the PA wasn't all that good. Likewise, I've tried PAs where the first few ounces were just ok and by the end of the beer I realize how good it is. My point being that I don't think these tastes tests are all that accurate when you only drink a few ounces of each beer and you are drinking multiple beers in one sitting.
    Cameron_como, macesq and TongoRad like this.
  13. stephenjmoore

    stephenjmoore Feb 17, 2011 Maryland

    Looks like they botched the abv on Pennslyvania Tuxedo...DFH has it at 8.5% That's a pretty big "pale ale."
  14. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    I almost want to say our area, like @TongoRad was sorta saying, is living in that limelight where it' HAS to say IPA. Bosque called their 5.5% X beer just recently a IPA. They did have a SMASH pale ale recently that was sublime. Both under 6%. I too am finding my butter zone to peak at 7.5% on IPAs for the most part, with almost no focus on DIPAs. I love scale tipper at 6.5%, and with a bit less IBU, it could be called a APA. La Cumbre has their cascade hop back pale ale, which I found just above par. People tend to just gravitate to elevated. What's interesting is that La Cumbre has more BA entries for APA than IPA and DIPA combined. They did try a square root of Elevated a couple years back. I guess nothing has stuck in that APA range. I would love to have a consistent option. I too found after having citradelic at 6% abv, that drinkability wins out on long drawn out drinking days. I would love for a local canned option of a juicy 6% ipa, ie Scale Tipper amped down a notch.
    TongoRad likes this.
  15. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico

    What you want is the same thing that I want, which is for that Southwest Session to get canned (haha) and become a permanent fixture here in New Mexico. Such an awesome beer.
  16. WillemHC

    WillemHC Jun 21, 2013 Utah

    Ill be the first to say that I love Trillium and I kept waiting for them to show up on the list. That said, I love Boneyard just as much and I wouldn't be surprised if it were ranked higher than trillium if trillium had been included.
  17. TongoRad

    TongoRad Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    FWIW- I'm not just considering the alcohol level in what makes a beer a candidate for doing a 'session', but the whole way it's put together as well. Ironically, I don't find the Session IPAs that I've had to be up to the task; they get pretty one-note on me.
    zid likes this.
  18. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Thanks. Will make a trek sometime this weekend. I seem to only be able to make it there once a month. Both locations a bit out of the way. La Cumbre and Marble DT always closer, so I get totally distracted. I did see you mention the bosque session also in the NM beer thread. I think for the most part, I see NM beer peeps as keen drunks. They want a nice bang for your buck. And with elevated being what its ABV is, there is almost no better value. It's scary but places that aren't too keen on the ABV, serve this in a 22 ounce vessel (same as La Cumbres mug club) but without the limit. Why would someone try a 5.5% pale that tastes a touch LESS than elevated? I guess its just the culture of our area. Or maybe its like that everywhere. I sometimes fall victim to that when places are busy. If I can only have one beer for the hour I'm there, and the place is busy, it may not be the great pilsner. But in fact the higher ABV mainstay I can get in larger quantities and still enjoy.

    I think price is the big one though. I see many pass up pilsners at 5% because local IPAs can be sold for same price at 1.5 to 2.5% higher.
  19. tzieser

    tzieser Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    Victory Headwaters Pale Ale absolutely deserves to be on that list
  20. BSanch8

    BSanch8 Apr 16, 2015 California

    Russian River should have sent Row 2 Hill 56.
  21. do_ob

    do_ob Feb 12, 2015 Kentucky

    Interestng list. I've not had many of those, but of the APA's I have had, MO is my favorite, with Daisy Cutter being a close 2nd.
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