Is Pale Ale Passe ?

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

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  1. KStark

    KStark Devotee (422) Jul 13, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)

    Does anyone drink plain old pale ale (bitter) anymore ?

    At one time pale ales where the the flagship beers of most North American craft/micro brewery s. The original session beer with more interesting and enjoyable flavors than domestic lagers and they even had hops.

    But now I find that craft pale ales have been eclipsed by ESB s, IPA s and double IPA s. Even new pale ales seem to be hopped more like IPA s with new session IPA s. Those founding brewers that produced those pale ales are selling them like they are macros and increasing their brewery capacity for the demand.

    Is this a style of beer that needs to be revisited by craft brewers and drinkers ?
    StonedTrippin likes this.
  2. hoparoundnw2337

    hoparoundnw2337 Initiate (55) Aug 6, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I agree. Except when you see Zombie Dust is classified as an APA... ZD is not passe. I don't know the criteria for categorizing beer styles. But I think ZD drinks like an IPA. With that said. True pale ales in my mind that are worth drinking are Alpha King and Mirror Pond
  3. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2007 Pennsylvania

    What do you mean by pale ale (bitter)? Do you mean an Ordinary Bitter or Special Bitter or an American pale ale like Sierra Nevada?
    victory4me and hoparoundnw2337 like this.
  4. einhorn

    einhorn Disciple (301) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    I'm kind of with you on this, and maybe it depends on where you live, but for me pale ales & ambers get very little love in CA.
  5. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,454) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Personally, still drink and enjoy a Pale ale, especially a couple of the locals that I can get fresh (within days of being bottled or regularly on tap). In addition Pale ales have not been eclipsed here in SEPA. The Yard's Philadelphia Pale ale is their top selling beer. Similarly, a couple of years ago Vicory introduced their Headwaters Pale Ale which has become so popular that they swopped it into their variety case, replacing one of their other flagship beers. My local retail shop couldn't keep it in stock and it still is selling well. Indeed, the beer has beccome so popular that it is now Victory's best selling beer (replacing Hop Devil in that slot) and is one of the reasons they are opening a new production brewery to produce their year round flagship beers, which now include their Pale Ale. As a stop gap to keep up with the demand Victory suspended brewing of some of their most popular seasonals until they can bring the new brewery on line (e.g., Old Horizontal, St. Victorious, etc.).

    So no, Pale Ales haven't become Passe in one of the major beer drinking areas of the US.
  6. Kinsman

    Kinsman Champion (873) Aug 26, 2009 California

    Ever hear of this beer called Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? I'm pretty sure quite a few people drink it.
  7. kawilliams81

    kawilliams81 Meyvn (1,248) Feb 27, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Having the gold,silver, and bronze GABF pales within 50 miles of me, I would say those are not passé! I guess average pales are you could say.
  8. kingofhop

    kingofhop Initiate (0) May 9, 2010 Oklahoma

    I don't find easy going, tasty, well-made brews (lagers or ales) to be passe' at all.
  9. Schmuck82

    Schmuck82 Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2008 Texas

    I don't care what it's classified as, as long as it tastes good to me.
  10. lsummers

    lsummers Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2010 California

    I love pale ales as session beers. July 4th wouldn't be the same without them.
  11. Indybier

    Indybier Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2011 Illinois

    I'd still put the old dog Alpha King up against most apa's and ipa's today. Do 'em blind and let your palate be the judge.
  12. Cenosillicaphobe

    Cenosillicaphobe Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2011 Maine

    I love summer...12-packs of SNPA all day...until I move to Indiana...then it'll be Zombie Dust by the case on the reg.
    Malty_Matty likes this.
  13. Horbar

    Horbar Zealot (560) Feb 24, 2012 Rhode Island

    Hill Farmstead Edward is a great APA and a must get growler fill whenever I go there
  14. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (2,211) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Dale's. Pale Ale
    Maine Beer Co has Peeper and Moe. Both are excellent pale ales.
  15. RichardMNixon

    RichardMNixon Zealot (515) Jun 24, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I think the line between pale ale and IPA is becoming fuzzy as pale ales get more and more hoppy. There's still some great pale ales out there though that aren't IPA.
    jcb7472 and devlishdamsel like this.
  16. VitoFerrante

    VitoFerrante Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2012 Pennsylvania

    A good pale ale is a good beer. Tasty and hoppy? Who can resist. Dave's, Alpha King, Zombie Dust, and many other pale ales are great. The problem is many are mediocre or just plain suck. Many micros are showing up with just a fancy label. I say find a good pale ale if you like it and drink it. Why over analyze this when you could actually be out drinking it?
  17. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    chinabeergeek likes this.
  18. kingofhop

    kingofhop Initiate (0) May 9, 2010 Oklahoma

    Perhaps IPAs were invented by the Brits to send to their Limey brethren in the far-flung Empire, knowing the hops would fade with time and therefore more closely resemble the fine Pale Ales of Ye Olde Merry England. Maybe bitterness is an aberration and not an attribute.
  19. No1Smitty

    No1Smitty Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I'll see your Mirror Pond and raise you Red Chair. Mmmmmm. Now that's a tasty Pale ale.
  20. Norica

    Norica Aspirant (249) Feb 2, 2006 Massachusetts

    Plenty of people love/drink pale ales...they just don't start threads about them on beer centric websites.
  21. hoparoundnw2337

    hoparoundnw2337 Initiate (55) Aug 6, 2011 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I fold... You are correct. Dissappointed in myself... I had one the other day.
    No1Smitty likes this.
  22. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (725) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Cheers for bringing up Headwaters. Many in this thread are bringing up Zombie Dust and Dale's, which are really IPAs masquerading as pale ales. A truly balanced and well crafted pale ale (such as Headwaters, might be the best in the US at the moment) is amazing. As is a well-made lager. Sometimes I'd rather have 2 or 3 low abv pale ales or lagers than one 7 or 8% abv IPA (or "pale ales" at 6%). They can be just as complex if you look hard enough. :slight_smile:
  23. Derranged

    Derranged Devotee (484) Mar 7, 2010 New York

    I'm not even sure what the fuck passe means, but I'm drinkin meself a nice English Pale at the moment I am.
    njhopspop, BeerKangaroo and NiceFly like this.
  24. smartassboiler

    smartassboiler Savant (939) Apr 9, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I don't drink many pale ales in the winter, but it's a staple for me in the summer.
    Cubatobaco likes this.
  25. WYVYRN527

    WYVYRN527 Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2007 Minnesota

    I was wondering the same thing.
  26. BillManley

    BillManley Aspirant (259) Jul 2, 2008 Minnesota

    Not 100% sure what you mean by "get little love" there are more SN Pale Ale handles in norCal then there are ABI handles. That's a lot of beer and love. Our Pale Ale is seeing more growth and love from the market as a whole than it has in over a decade and we don't really see any signs of slowing.
    Pale Ale may not be the beer style du jour, but it is still incredibly popular At the end of the day, pale ales are really one of the most easy-drinking all-occasion beers on the market today. Thankfully, well-made flavorful beers are becoming the norm rather than the exception and pale ales are beers that really help to open the eyes of new craft drinkers, and earn a spot in the fridge of veterans every single day.
    Clearly, I have a vested interest in the success of pale ale as a style, but the numbers prove that it is insanely popular and I hope it always will be so.

  27. JamesMN

    JamesMN Initiate (0) Jul 12, 2012 Minnesota

    I've thought this many a time before since I really never buy pale ales anymore. I think they exist to get people into craft.
  28. einhorn

    einhorn Disciple (301) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Your beer, which is closer to an IPA for many beer drinkers, is no doubt one of the exceptions to the rule.

    My retail customers seem to shy away from new non-IPA, DIPA or even TIPA brews. When we get a new pale ale, or even some of the established brands, it is usually with hesitation that they end up putting it on the shelf.
  29. BB1313

    BB1313 Poo-Bah (2,734) Jul 16, 2009 Ohio

    I agree that I see alot of pale ales out there are borderlining the IPA style and seem to abandon what traditionally makes it a pale ale. For example, Zombie Dust is an IPA, I don't care what they call it. I like my pale ales to taste like Great Lakes Burning River, The Brew Kettle Four C's APA, and SNPA.
  30. Jips

    Jips Initiate (198) Nov 29, 2007 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Not for me! Still love Boulevard, Sierra Nevada, Half Acre, New Glarus, Alesmith, Founders... doesn't need to be IPA level to have delicious hop flavor. More maltly ones are great too!
    CBlack85 likes this.
  31. camhack

    camhack Initiate (0) Jul 9, 2011 Illinois

    Brickstone APA. Slight citrus hop, good malt
  32. WYVYRN527

    WYVYRN527 Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2007 Minnesota

    I happen to be a huge fan of pales. Sierra Nevada is a staple in my fridge, along with Indeed Day Tripper, Ale Asylum Hopalicious, Mad River Steelhead EPA, and a few others. Quite refreshing, and perfect session brews for a Sunday afternoon.
    DelMontiac and CBlack85 like this.
  33. HumphreyLee

    HumphreyLee Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I agree. I tend to prefer them and Pilsners to the IPA during the warmer months still because of the sessionability since too much hopage will coat my tongue. If I could get Daisy Cutter regularly here I'd buy it by the case.
    landrewg likes this.
  34. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (526) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Becoming fuzzy? It's never been clear.
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  35. KStark

    KStark Devotee (422) Jul 13, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)

    I guess I am thinking of broader category of pale ale not including the more high octane IPA.

    I agree SNPA and Mirror pond are great beers and both different in their own right. Unfortunately have not tried many of the other pales you guys have mentioned.

    I have always been a big fan of pale ales, APA ,English Pales and bitters. Its The first style or styles of beer I began drinking after I moved away from Macros. I had been drinking lot of IPA s until recently when I revisited the pale ale as more session able option and sort of rediscovered it. It is a category that a has lot of diversity between brewery s and regions in North America and especially in the UK where THERE ARE LIKE THOUSANDS of pale ales/bitters. (They way I understand it in the UK pale ale is the bottled version of bitter)

    So it seems that in the sea of IPA s and double IPA etc there is hope for those that seek out the humble pale ale.
  36. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,598) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Of course people drink them. They are usually pretty tasty and refreshing when they are done well.
  37. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Zealot (523) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    Considering that almost every craft brewery makes a pale ale and pretty much every beer bar that offers craft beers has at least one on tap, I'd say someone's still drinking them.
    CBlack85 likes this.
  38. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,538) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Burning River is terrific, as is Headwaters and Dales Pale Ale, and for sheer value SNPA 12 packs for 14 bucks can't be beat. I didn't bother with Zombie Dust because it's an IPA even if they insist on putting a APA label on it which it is, it is an America dry Ale, but it's a hop bomb which I love, but you can't lump it in with the others with that the kind of hop profile. But even the IPA/DIPA/Triple Hoppy IPA's are blurring as the hops are crammed into the vats.
    CBlack85 likes this.
  39. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    Glad someone enjoys Burning River, it's a true aberration in the Great Lakes lineup for me. There's a bitterness that I just can't get past after having one...none of my friends who are GL fans seem to want it either when I get a mixer. I have no problem w/Commodore Perry or the Lake Erie Monster, but the bitterness throughout Burning River justifies the name itself...
  40. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,839) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Damn you! I still have 1/4 of a Growler of Stage Driver Stout to drink, got some in my glass now, and the Red Chairs I have are calling out to me. They, who must be obeyed.
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