Why Pale Ales?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by TheFlern, Oct 26, 2013.

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  1. TheFlern

    TheFlern Initiate (0) May 9, 2009 Idaho

    I hear ya. :slight_smile:

    If I held stock in Uinta I'd be singing a different tune but I'm just a BA.
  2. spaceman24

    spaceman24 Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2008 Texas

    Haha. I've never even heard of them so I wouldn't know, but I don't doubt you.
  3. NavyGuy

    NavyGuy Initiate (0) Jan 5, 2008 Florida

    I suggest you take a trip across the pond and see how they do it in the UK. They have 1000s of breweries brewing "hogwash" cask conditioned real ales and none of them is over 4.5% but I assure you they are amazing beers. As the craft beer market opens wider breweries are now brewing for a clientele with varied tastes, not just people who want to drink 7.5% IPA and have their mouth explode. I went to a real ale festival in the UK last year, over 300 casks on tap, and the interesting thing I noted was that there were as many women there drinking ale as dudes. My point is there is a market for these beers and if done right a session ale can be an amazing beer, so in my opinion the more breweries in the game the better the chance they'll eventually master it.
    DemoniChris, dasenebler, jmw and 4 others like this.
  4. EdH

    EdH Initiate (0) Jul 27, 2005 Utah

    Trader pre-dates Hop Notch by a decade or so. Personally, I hardly ever drink Trader--not with Wyld next to it on the shelf--but if they ever "scrap" it, it'll be because it stops selling. That hasn't happened yet--so, evidenly, not everyone agrees with you and I.
  5. TheFlern

    TheFlern Initiate (0) May 9, 2009 Idaho

    I'm not against session IPAs. I'm against mediocre styles of beer when a brewery already brews a better beer in a similar style. Compare Hop Notch to Trader IPA from Uinta. I love the all day IPA from Founders. I love SNPA. It has nothing to do with abv or what a beer is called. It has everything to do with the session IPA from Uinta, the beer that prompted my OP, simply not being a good beer. There are great session IPAs but I don't understand why so many breweries are content with brewing mediocre versions of this style.
  6. JG-90

    JG-90 Devotee (413) Nov 29, 2012 New Jersey

    No you don't get it, OP say no one like Pale Ales.
    OP right.
    You no like Pale Ales.
  7. NavyGuy

    NavyGuy Initiate (0) Jan 5, 2008 Florida

    Agree, you would think a brewery like Unita would want to put their best foot forward with each product they put their label on, though somethings in life will never be understood, like Sam Adams cranberry lambic, why god why...
    TheFlern likes this.
  8. KentT

    KentT Aspirant (244) Oct 15, 2008 Tennessee

    Sometimes, one wants a good, unfussy, well made low ABV session Ale. On occasion, I like them. I like my IPA too. Sometimes I want something which is not a hop bomb, sometimes I want something better balanced. I like different styles.
    JimKal likes this.
  9. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    I think a brewery would produce what sells for them. If it doesn't sell enough, they'll pull it from their lineup. Pure speculation on my part.
    chimneyjim and Spikester like this.
  10. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,931) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Actually, a well-made Pale Ale is one of the yardsticks that I judge a brewery by. Any half-competent brewer can throw a ton of hops into something, or bbl-age a mediocre Stout, and pay some extra attention to it and make very-good to great specialty. But, to make a tasty, well-crafted, "everyday drinking" beer, that can hold your interest sixer after sixer, year after year, is a testimonial to their ability. I can't count the gallons of Deschutes Mirror Pond I've drank in the 13 years I've lived in the PNW, and I still look forward to the next one.
    DemoniChris, jmw, TheFlern and 2 others like this.
  11. kudos

    kudos Initiate (0) Aug 16, 2013 Florida

    All Day IPA is tasty though. I drink beer for the taste not the abv.

    Just bought some SN Pale Ale today. Passed up the torpedo because pale ale is great.
    hardy008 likes this.
  12. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,059) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    "Good" is subjective. I don't think any brewer ever said "we're missing a substandard APA in our lineup, let's get one out there ASAP".

    Out of the 28 active beers Uinta has on here, 7 are APA/IPA/DIPA. One quarter of their lineup.

    About one third of HF's 61 active beers falls into the APA/IPA/DIPA category.

    Since "good" is subjective, and less of their lineup is devoted to these styles than some other breweries, I reckon leave em to it. If it doesn't make economic sense to brew them all, then I imagine they'll stop.

    The shit people complain about.
    chimneyjim likes this.
  13. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (365) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    It seems Uinta's beer line up is heavily influenced by the restrictions posed on beer sales in Utah where, according to the Beer Institute, 3.2 (4% abv) beer made up 87% of beer sales in 2011 (it was 96% of beer sales in 2009). It would seem as though Uinta is simply making the most out of the commercial opportunities that exist in their homestate by brewing a large number of 4% beers. If these beers are popular in Utah it only makes sense that they would try to sell them elsewhere, where the lower abv makes them into a "session beer" alternative, rather than the "temperance drinks" that these beers represent in Utah.

    I of course can't speak to the quality of their beers, but when one considers the legislative situation in Utah, their line up of beers makes alot of sense in offering more or less hoppy pale ales (or IPAs), which are the big sellers elsewhere as far as styles go, only at the government mandated 4% (in those retail channels which aren't allowed to carry stronger beers that is).

    In Sweden where beer stronger than 3.5% is only allowed to be sold in monopoly stores, craft breweries brew beers at that particular abv, or at the lower abv of 2.8%. If these restrictions didn't exist, it is unlikely that they would bother brewing such weak beers, but they obviously feel that it's an opportunity to reach more consumers by accessing the grocery stores, of which there are thousands, compared to limiting themselves to the 400 government monopoly stores (and the 3.5% segment still makes up a healthy portion of total beer sales here, so there's a market to be tapped, just as in Utah with their 3.2 beer market).
    denver10 and BBThunderbolt like this.
  14. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Session IPA's don't do much for me. I don't get Imperial Pils, and pumping up Lagers to 8% ABV. I've had some tremendous lagers and Pils lately that are far from boring, and a Durham brew pub that makes terrific British inspired styles that push 4% and incredibly flavorful. IPA's need enough malt to balance out the bitter or they're just painful to drink, I think some styles would lend better to session than an IPA.
  15. TheBungyo

    TheBungyo Champion (827) Dec 1, 2004 Washington

    You truly have a penchant for being overly dramatic. If you can't handle someone disagreeing with your opinion or pointing out when you say something ridiculous you may not want to post your opinion on a forum dedicated to opinions.

    Why brew so many hop forward variants? Because it's nice to have options. There are many occasions where a 4.0% beer suits me much more than one that is 7.5% ... what's wrong with having options? And honestly, it isn't as if Uinta sees such a demand for their IPA that it would even make sense to entertain the notion of of axing stuff from their lineup to make more of the IPA. They're hardly The Alchemist.

    And where did I say you can't complain about it? Care to point that out? Your post, sans the info that you bought a mixed twelve pack, came off as downright goofy .... "as I sit drinking this style that I dislike/don't get but for some odd reason just paid money for ..."
  16. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Savant (972) Sep 4, 2010 California

    I agree with what you said above. BUT IPA's are and have been the fastest growing segment of the craft market for some time.
  17. victory4me

    victory4me Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2004 Pennsylvania

    Sometimes I want to drink a nicely hopped beer without drinking any beers exceeding 5.5% ABV. I like having those options.
  18. victory4me

    victory4me Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2004 Pennsylvania

    Why does every beer from every brewery have to be a BA-centric "good beer?"

    Personally, I love pale ales, I love session IPAs, and I love regular IPAs/DIPAs and I'm more than happy to pay a premium for all of them. There are plenty others out there who feel the same way.
    SoCalBeerIdiot likes this.
  19. colforbin73

    colforbin73 Initiate (0) Mar 30, 2010 California

    i sort of know what you are saying flern. and i find this to be true among any number of breweries...

    i will now submit a statement of pure heresy (i am sure.)

    i live in northern cal and have been drinking Lagunitas for 15+ years. i visit the brewery a couple times a year just to see what they have on tap that you cant get outside the taproom. (i drink mostly IPAs and mix in some stouts, porters, belgians, and pilsners depending on the time of year or when i am just burned out on too many IIPAs.... )

    back to the point, while i consider myself a "fan" of the brewery, i find that from their pale ale through their ipa, through summin summin, wild, the fusions, and even to a degree into their barley wine and stouts.... i find all their beers taste a little bit the same. maybe it is the water, house yeast (my guess), malt and hop choice, equipment, employees, methods... maybe it is just in the air. but there is a sameness to their brews to the point that i often feel they are just tweeking a little bit here and there as opposed to making something wholly and uniquely new.

    ESPECIALLY for "pale ale"/yellow beers... i think it is the nature of the beast: unless you use different water, malts or yeast strains, they are all going to be a shade of the same.

    go to lagunitas on any given day and they will have 15+ beers on tap, and about 10 of them will taste like a variation of the same beer.
    azorie likes this.
  20. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    "IPA" has become little more than a valuable marketing tool. It used to be a beer style, with specific attributes in terms of color, IBUs, ABV, etc. But then IPA became the most popular style of craft beer, and brewers began to realized that they would sell more bottles of a new "red IPA" than they would of the same beer marketed as an amber ale, and more "belgian IPA" than they would a hoppy blonde ale, and so on. The result is that by now "IPA" can mean virtually anything: we have black ones, red ones, straw colored, amber; we have "session" IPAs with ABV's in the low 4s and "imperial" with ABVs over 12, we have IPAs with IBUs in the 30s and up over 100, IPAs made with assertive belgian yeasts and "IPLs" with lager yeast. Etc etc etc.

    I don't suppose this matters much. It's like arguing about the difference between stouts and porters.
    azorie and colforbin73 like this.
  21. SoCalBeerIdiot

    SoCalBeerIdiot Crusader (708) Mar 10, 2013 California

    You should've just said it this way in the first place.
    LambicPentameter and azorie like this.
  22. dashmartino

    dashmartino Initiate (179) Aug 30, 2006 Pennsylvania

    everyone loves a good bold hoppy ipa, but a well made and balanced apa is hard to find i think...
    victory4me likes this.
  23. victory4me

    victory4me Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2004 Pennsylvania

    I didn't realize there was a shortage of Hop Notch. I love it too, but I never have a problem finding it.
  24. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (384) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    Hop Notch is indeed a fine (and in line with current standards) IPA; I've got the dwindling remains of a fresh sixer in the fridge right now.

    But in re: the present topic, pales are a home base style for me, in that I'm always coming back to 'em, and I tend to think of IPAs as wonderful derivations of pale ales rather than thinking of pale ales as incomplete IPAs.
    Burferd and EdH like this.
  25. muddyh2oblues

    muddyh2oblues Initiate (0) Mar 13, 2010 Illinois

    it's what's selling. hop forward beers are the craze and i'm not ashamed to admit i'm right there in the middle of it.
  26. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,200) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    Agreed. Not a big Lagunitas Pale Ale fan but I love DayTime.
  27. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    It's really simple. People like hops. If you can put a lot of them in a beer that has low abv. that's appealing to a lot of folks like me who are hopeless hop heads, but really couldn't care less about the buzz.
  28. YamBag

    YamBag Initiate (191) Feb 2, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I love Victory's new session double IPA Dirt Wolf.
  29. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,903) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Production breweries use the same source water and adjust it (if they know what they are doing). Most use a house ale yeast for all beers, but some will haves German wheat strain, a Belgian strain and a Lager strain, for example. The base malt comes from the big silos, so usually the same for a big batch size. Specialty malts are often the same, some breweries use one crystal malt for most beers to minimize labor and mistakes. Other malts are added by the sack, not fractions of sacks. Hops are easier to have a variety of, but some breweries use a limited number that they like and contract for.

    Equipment and process are also big players in how a beer tastes. Lagunitas is said to mash at a high temp for a short time, which will give good body for all of their beers. Fermentation equipment and procedures have a very big influence on taste.

    A breweries house flavor will be a combination of all the above, so yes, I agree with what you said.
    azorie likes this.
  30. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (669) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Dale's Pale Ale is really good, but at 6.5% ABV it's easily pushing into the IPA catagory. But these lines are never hard and fast of course.

    This is totally conjecture, but I'll bet that if Oscar Blues had created Dale's Pale today, they would have labeled/marketed it as an IPA. Hear me out... Oscar Blues and Dale's Pale is one craft beer's older, established brands from years before IPAs surged into popularity. Back then people were not clamoring for super hoppy IPAs, so it probably made more sense for Oscar Blues to downplay the hoppy character of the beer by marketing it as an pale ale.

    Now that IPAs are all the rage, brewers today are doing the opposite and labeling/marketing their hoppy APAs as "session IPAs". It's kind of funny actually.
  31. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    And all varieties of hops do the same thing to every beer they are used in not matter whether they're used in the boil, a hop back or used for dry hopping. Brilliant!
  32. Brad007

    Brad007 Poo-Bah (4,014) Mar 28, 2007 Vermont

    So the answer is to troll people who just happen to enjoy the IPA and its' many variants?
    LambicPentameter and JrGtr like this.
  33. LCB_Hostage

    LCB_Hostage Initiate (171) Jan 30, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Well....that and whether or not they can sell them. And based on the sales estimates people post here and the choices most brewers are making, I think it's safe to assume that PAs, IPAs and the variants of both are minting major coin for the breweries that do them well. That's not to say that's all that reputable brewers should, or do, produce. While there are definitely a lot of hoppy beers on the shelves to choose from, I have no problem finding outstanding beers that fall well outside the PA/IPA categories. As long as the industry as a whole isn't ignoring other styles (and I think it's safe to say that it is not), then I see no harm in throwing a wide range of PA/IPA versions against the proverbial wall and continuing to brew the ones that stick (so to speak).
  34. Burferd

    Burferd Initiate (0) Aug 26, 2013 Illinois

    A few days ago I was at a Firestone Walker tasting event where flights of four beers sold for $10. They were Wookey Jack, Double Jack, Parabola and Pivo Pils. Which one of these is different from the rest? I overheard someone tell the barkeep, "this Pivo tastes like Corona." Lighter beers with nuance get less attention these days. Granted you should not taste 9% and 10% abv's then expect a lighter taste profile to give your palate much to notice. Breweries must find their way on the fly after consumer tastes pushed an upward swing in massive flavor profiles and ABV's.

    Clearly there is a swing the other way with the rollout of so many "session" ales. As the IPA category got hot I tasted many awful ones that others think are great. Now the same thing will happen with lighter, lower abv ales since beer drinkers are looking, at least part time, for a tamer version of the delicious heavier beers they enjoy. It is interesting that, as others have already mentioned, the hop profile in these ales would have been considered adequate not so long ago.
  35. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    That's what I was thinking. Titling a thread "Why Pale Ales?" doesn't sound so much like "Uinta brews two beers that are barely distinguishable from one another", but rather seems to question people's enjoyment of (and brewers' decisions to brew) a rather broadly-defined group of beers.

    I think the attitude you are picking up on is because your chosen thread title doesn't seem to match the subsequent clarification. It sounds like you are questioning the entire group of ales brewed with pale malt. And fair or not, people can get a little defensive/chippy when they feel like their opinion is being criticized, much like you did not appreciate your opinion being criticized.
    azorie likes this.
  36. BostonHops

    BostonHops Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2011 Massachusetts

    That's fine, but the point I was trying to make was that I don't see the situation as being an either/or scenario. Take your own example of Sierra Nevada. Sure you can get your SNPA, but they also throw stuff in barrels and experiment with a range of styles, just like countless other breweries. Which is how it ought to be IMO. Maybe YOU want Summerfest in June, but I'll be drinking my imperial peanut butter porter aged on cocoa nibs. :wink:
  37. Treezilla

    Treezilla Initiate (0) Aug 12, 2013 Colorado

    Another reason i love the Bruery. All their beers are different. With little to no hoppy beers.
  38. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,903) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    If Pivo Pils tastes like Corona to that guy, his taste buds are broken. It is called a hoppy Pilsner, it is around 40 IBUs, which is probably 4 times the bitterness of Corona. The hop aroma and flavor are very nice.

    Did he taste the Pivo last? That would do it, as his taste buds would be saturated and on tilt. I have had things like Racer X, then to throttle back on the alcohol a Racer 5, which then tasted like water.
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