Pale Ale Examples

Pale Ale – Beer Style

Pale ale is very similar to bitter, and in some regards almost impossible to differentiate as there is a lot of overlap. Pale ale tends to typically apply to bottled beer in the stronger range, but there are plenty of draft examples about.


They descended from amber-coloured “October” beers in England, starting off in London before 1800.

Development & Sub Styles

Belgian pale ales came about in the early 1800s, with De Koninck creating its version in 1833.

The American pale ales (sometimes referred to as APAs) really defines the American craft beer market, more so than the IPA even, and came about in the 1980s.

English Pale Ale


Aroma: Malt & spicy/herbal hops.

Flavour: Nutty malt & spicy hops.

Balance: Well balanced.

Body: Crisp.

Finish: Clean, can be slightly dry and bitter.

Colour: 5-14SRM

Alcohol by Volume: 3.8-6.2%

Bitterness: 20-50 IBU

Seasonality: All Year.

Food Pairings: Pies & English cheese.


English Pale Ale – Martson’s, Hops Maiden England – Weird Beard, London Pale Ale – Sambrook’s.

Hops Maiden England – Weird Beard

American Pale Ale


Aroma: Moderate – Strong citrusy, floral, tropical, spicy hops. Low to moderate malt.

Flavour: Same as the aroma.

Balance: More on the hoppy side.

Body: Light – Medium. Smooth.

Finish: Moderate to high bitterness, medium to dry.

Colour: 5-10SRM

Alcohol by Volume: 4.5-6.2%

Bitterness: 30-50 IBU

Seasonality: All Year.

Food Pairings: As with the American IPA this is great with a burger.


Pale Ale – Sierra Nevada, Gamma Ray – Beavertown, Pale Ale & Table Beer – The Kernel.

Table Beer – The Kernel

Belgian Pale Ale


Aroma: Moderate malt (toasty, caramel etc), fruity, light spiced/floral/herbal hops.

Flavour: Caramel, fruitiness, slight hops.

Balance: Well balanced.

Body: Medium & smooth

Finish: Light bitterness, crisp.

Colour: 8-14 SRM

Alcohol by Volume: 4.8-5.5%

Bitterness: 20-30 IBU

Seasonality: All year.

Food Pairings: Wide range – chicken, spicy foods, cheese.


APA – De Koninck, Palm Speciale – Palm, Årh Hvad (Hva Såå?!) – Mikkeller.

Hva Såå!? - Mikkeller
Hva Såå!? – Mikkeller


Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink – Randy Mosher

2015 Style Guidelines