The Pale Ales From The British Isles


These days, you can find pale ale beers being brewed at breweries all around the world. This style of beer is made with pale malts. Its amber color is easy to recognize, and most pale ales have a thin head. However, the pale ale style of beer did originate in the British Isles. So, if you want an authentic pale ale, you're best off purchasing one from this region. Today, you actually have a few different sub-types to choose from. Here's a look at some of the most common sub-types of pale ales from the British Isles.

English Bitters

English bitter is a very classic type of pale ale — perhaps the most similar to the original pale ales brewed centuries ago. Contrary to what the name might suggest, this style of beer is not all that bitter by today's standards. It is brewed with hops, which adds a touch of bitterness, but an English pale ale is not anywhere near the hop character of an India Pale Ale. English bitters are a deep amber in color, have little head, and go down quite smoothly. They pair really well with beef dishes and other hearty fares.

Irish Red Ale

Ireland and England, despite both being in the British Isles, have quite different beer traditions. So, when the Irish started making pale ales, they did things a bit differently than the English. An Irish red ale is brewed with the same pale malt as an English pale ale, and so it falls into the pale ale family. However, Irish red ales are a bit sweeter with more caramel notes and less hoppiness. In the glass, they look redder. The maltiness is noticeable, and so these beers, again, pair well with a hearty meal.

Scotch Ale

In Scotland, pale ales are a bit stronger than in England or Ireland. The Scottish brew their version with a slightly higher ABV, and they tend to age it longer. A Scotch Ale will have notes of burnt toffee and sometimes vanilla, depending on the barrels it is aged in. The hoppiness is there, but not in the forefront, and the beer is a bit less malty than most pale ales. Scotch Ale is better enjoyed with pretzels or crackers than with a full meal.

These three pale ale varieties are all worth trying. Each one has its own characteristics and strengths. Pick some up, and have a sampling. Talk to a liquor store to find pale ale beer in your area. 


22 August 2022

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