Here Are The Best American Pale Ales

If you haven’t tasted a Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale, you’re missing out on a “fresh, balanced and lively” drink that’s “almost Pilsner-like,” says a panel of beer experts in the New York Times. The Flying Dog took top honors in a taste test of 20 American pale ales, followed by Long Trail, Stoudts, Sly Fox, and Otter Creek. If you can’t remember these smaller labels this weekend on your way to the cookout, you can always stick with Sam Adams pale ale, which placed seventh.

The paper says that although pale ale is of British origin, it’s an area where American brewers have excelled in the past 35 years.

American brewers seem to have this style down cold, although we found more than a few variations on the theme. Some brews emphasized maltier flavors, while in others the hops were more pronounced. A few even seemed surprisingly spicy. In this, the American pale ales were of a piece with their British forebears, which can also range widely within the genre.

What all these beers had in common, however, was balance and harmony. You could drink them over a long afternoon in the sun, whether at a ballgame, a barbecue or the beach, and still feel refreshed and energetic. The alcohol content is fairly mild, around 5.5 percent, only occasionally going above 6.0. In short, as Kevin and Matthew put it, they were “highly sessionable.” [You can drink more than one in a several-hour session without becoming drunk, thanks to the lower alcohol content.]

“Sampling American Pale Ales” [New York Times]