Pale Ale

Core Differences Between Pale Ale and IPA

Pale Ale is a trendy beer across the globe. It’s consumed most in different countries in the world. Pale Ales are made through warm fermentation, with the final product being pale in color. Today, there is a myriad of ales in the market depending on their aroma, strength, and taste.

The Indian Pale Ale or better known as the IPA is one of the beers. This tends to confuse many people. Differentiating between IPA and American Pale Ale can be unnerving. This is due to perceived similarities. Although there are quite several similarities, still these beers have distinctive differences.

The purpose of this article is to highlight these differences to help you choose your favorite drink.

So, What’s Pale Ale?

Pale Ale is one of the popular beers known for a malty flavor and an amber color. The Ales bridge the gap between light lagers and dark stouts. They come in all the flavor but not too heavy. This is to ensure you’ll never get bored by this style. Various tastes and flavors give you a wide range of beers to explore.

Just like many beers in the world, Pale Ale is as a result of brewing technology. It all started when brewers in Burton were looking for a way to brew a consistent and paler beer. By then, the brewers used wood, which was hard to control, and the beer always roasted. The kilns later found that coke gave then the desired result, leading to a copper, amber, or clear-colored ale.

The water used in processing Pale Ale seems more sacred than in other beers. Kilns who make pale ales all over the world work hard to formulate the naturally-occurring water. In most cases, they use yeast and hops that are utterly different from those that were used in traditional English ales.

The hops chosen traditionally include Northern Brewer, Fuggles, Cascades, Kent Goldings, and Mt. Hood. The traditional British pale ale style is a pleasant beer. It contains enough woody and malty profile hops for a perfect balance. More so, it’s a tasty, elegant, and an excellent session beer.

More aggressive hops are used in Australia and American versions.

Food Pairing

There is a wide selection of food you can pair with this style. Of pale ales fermented outside England, they are hoppier and with less malt flavor. You can pair it with simple dishes like grilled meat. For pales ales in British, they have more malt flavor and less hoppy. You can enjoy this style with various cuisines like spicy Indian dishes and blander from the United Kingdom.

There are several Pale Ales in the market such as;

  1. Youngs Bitter
  2. Cooper’s Original Pale Ale
  3. Sierra Nevada
  4. Base Ale
  5. Pyramid Pale Ale
Pale Ale
Pale Ale

What is IPA?

The India Pale Ale can be both bitter and strong. This is not your ordinary drink and isn’t a drink for everyone. India played a vital role in the creation of this style, but the country did not invent the brew.

The invention of IPA is rather interesting. It was invented by the British in their quest to colonize India. British used to send their troops beer to help them ensure the sea voyage but failed time and time again. The prolonged storages without proper refrigeration and extreme temperatures were not ideal conditions for beer transportation. The beer kept getting spoiled in transit. Although the British had hops and alcohol, they took the time to create more preserving beers. Not until the legend- George Hodgson brewed the first bunch of IPA. Although the beer was highly alcoholic and bitter, it endured harsh weather conditions and conquered a long ocean trip.

Years later, professional breweries sprung in various places, and refrigeration was invented. With the help of the inventor services they got a patent for their invention. For decades, IPA has stuck around and has gathered a flock of diehard fans across the globe. Today, IPAs are formulated with an abundance of hops. Various hops AFFECT the aroma, bitterness, and flavor with smells like flowers, citrus or pine.

Some of the famous IPAs include;

The English IPA – This is the original IPA style. It exclusively used British hops such as goldings and Fuggles for earthy, light citrus, and grassy character.

The East Coast IPA – It’s a relatively new IPA brewed on the West Coast. The kilns use mutated and complicated British yeasts, which have strong smells and flavors.

The Session IPA – This IPA style offer various doses of hops but not more than 5%. The brewers regulate the bitterness to ensure the beer is drinkable.

The modern IPAs have ABVs ranging between 5.5% to 7.5%.

Food Pairing

IPA is bitter, brash, and brassy. However, it has diehard fans who swear by it. And if you are among the fans or planning to join the clique, then you know what to expect. This American craft beer can go well with spicy curries, grilled meats, and salty dishes.


These are the core differences between Pale Ale and IPA. You can try both to find out what will entice your taste buds.







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