‘Tis The Season: Pale Ales and India Pale Ales

8 07 2010

There is no denying it: summer is here in the Northern Hemisphere. The days are long and hot. And the nights are short and warm. It is the ideal weather for picnics, cook outs, sitting on a porch or cafe patio and for drinking beer. Every one has their favorite beer styles for the summer. But for me, in early summer, I love pale ales and IPAs. We have already gone over the history of pale ales (both English and American) and IPAs before so we won’t go into that deep of details here. But here are three reasons why I think they can be perfect for a long, hot summer day.

Photo Credit: sashafatcat CC

1. Hops, Hops, Hops-

Since I grew up in California, it should come to no great surprise that I am a bit of a hop head. While I am less and less impressed by those monotonous hop bombs, I do love a good slap you in the face IPA. Lately, however, I have become much more impressed with a very interesting and complex IPA that has citrus, pineapple, cedar, pine, moss, spruce and other aromatics. A good, crisp pale ale with strong bubbles and a complex hop profile can be so incredibly refreshing on a hot day. And the maltiness of a well balanced pale ale can be so very satisfying.

2. Sessionable. Or not…-

American Pale Ales and IPAs tend to lean toward the low end of alcohol. Ranging from 4-8% ABV, you can have have a few and maybe a few more and still feel alright the next morning. We always advocate responsible drinking at The Thinking Persons Beer and we believe pale ales and IPAs are perfect for sense-able drinking. One can drink a few until the palate is tired and then be done. Or, if you feel so inclined, you can have some Double IPAs or Imperial IPAs. At 10-12% ABV, you can feel the buzz pretty quickly and enjoy the rest of the night that way.

3. Food Parings

Photo Credt: Sonnett CC

With the scrubbing bubbles and spicy, citrusy hops, pale ales and IPAs are nearly perfect for pairing with picnic and cook out foods. Spicy hops help balance the spice of BBQ sauce or chips and salsa. The scrubbing bubbles help cleanse the pallet from fats like potato salad, juicy hamburgers or fried chicken. Maybe you are wanting to sit on the patio of a cafe, pale ales go very well with fresh salads dressed in vinaigrette and fresh goat cheese. A grilled veggie sandwich on freshly baked sourdough toast would be perfect with a good pale ale as well. And while it may sound crazy, a bold Double IPA is a better partner for a slice of New York cheese cake as the citrus matches the vanilla of the cheese and the crispness cleanses the palate of the fattiness of the cheese.

This weekend, we will be sharing some of the best pale ales and IPAs of the year along with food parings for the summer. Which is your favorite IPA?

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