When you watch commercials for various types of beer, you hear all kinds of different terms, such as ale (also known as pale ale) and India pale ale. What is the difference between these two drinks? They are both golden in color, they both have bubbles, and they both have a nice, smooth taste. You might be surprised to learn that there are many differences between IPAs and regular ales.
- Ale – Way back in the olden days, there weren’t the many different varieties of beer that we have today. In fact, there were only three types of beer. In England, lighter malts were referred to as pale as opposed to beverages made with darker malts. Pale ales have a range of gold shades, and are often more bitter due to the hops used. In fact, ale is sometimes referred to as bitter. You can taste the malt, which is somewhat sweet, and be able to enjoy a strong aroma. There is a huge difference between American-style pale ale and English-style pale ale, because the American version is more citrusy than its brother from across the pond. Some fruits used to brew American ale are lemons and even peaches.
- India Pale Ale – It’s funny how some things come about. If it hadn’t been for England’s military and trading presence in India in the 18th century, we may never have developed this wonderful drink. Beer that was exported ended up sour and flat by the time it reached India, so it was necessary to find better ways to preserve the drink. The result was an increase in hops and alcohol content, and India pale ale (or IPA) came into being. IPAs have a stronger aroma, and are less fruity than other ales, and the pine and citrus flavors in the hops really shine through. IPAs also have more carbonation than other pale ales.
Now you know the main differences between IPAs and regular pale ales. You will find many home-brewers making both types of drinks, and they are very popular craft beers that microbreweries produce regularly. The next time you are searching for a cold, refreshing drink, try one of the popular ales or IPAs.
With more than 100 breweries, Pennsylvania is well-known for having some of the finest-tasting beers in the United States. The only problem with having so many breweries in one area is that it makes it tough to be able to choose a favorite, because so many of them are great. So, what makes a brew great anyway? Is it the aroma? Is it the taste? Is it the color? Or is it the combination of these and many other factors that make a great beer?
It’s All a Matter of Taste
A drink that is great to one person may not be so great to another person, and vice versa. Everyone has different tastes, and we all tend to like different beers for different reasons. While there are dozens of different varieties, the two that seem to be the most popular in the US are lager and ale, and you will find many varieties of both. Here is a quick breakdown of each:
- Lager – The yeast sinks to the bottom in a process known as bottom fermenting. The yeast used to make lager needs cooler temperatures during fermentation. Lager is usually light in color and has a drier taste than ales, and it is the most popular type of beer in the US.
- Ale – The yeast gathers at the surface before settling on the bottom. Fermentation must happen in warm temperatures in order for the yeast to work. Ale has a higher alcohol content and a richer taste than lager.
The list of breweries in Pennsylvania is so long that space prohibits them from all being listed here. Some of these breweries were founded more than 100 years ago and are still in operation, while others are more recently formed but still popular. Some of the most popular breweries and microbreweries in the state are:
- Breweries – Pittsburgh Brewing Company (founded in 1861), Vecenie Distributing Company (founded in 1933), Yeungling (founded in 1829, this is the oldest brewery in the US).
- Microbreweries – Troegs Brewing Company (founded in 1997), Sly Fox Brewery (founded in 1995), Victory Brewing Company (founded in 1996).
There is a lot more to crafting a fine beer than you may think, and more and more people are becoming interested in the process. You will find dozens of microbreweries in Pennsylvania, and more are popping up all the time.
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