what’s the difference between a pale ale and an ipa?
Clubs of America | Feb 27, 2023
Craft beer has taken the world by storm in recent years, and with so many different styles to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the differences between them. Two popular styles of beer are pale ale and IPA. While both of these styles are hop-forward, they do have distinct differences in flavor and history. Read on to find what the difference between a pale ale and an IPA.
Pale ale is a beer style that originated in England in the 1700s. It was originally brewed using pale malt, which gives it its light color. Typically, pale ales have a moderate hop flavor and bitterness. They are are often described as balanced. This means that the bitterness from the hops is not overpowering and is balanced by the sweetness from the malt.
There are several different sub-styles of pale ale, including American pale ale and English pale ale. American pale ales tend to have a stronger hop flavor and aroma than English pale ales. Known for their citrusy and piney flavors, American pale ales often use American hops. English pale ales, on the other hand, tend to be more malt-forward and have a more subdued hop flavor.
IPA, or India Pale Ale, is a beer style that also originated in England in the 1700s. It was originally brewed to survive the long journey from England to India, and it was heavily hopped and had a higher alcohol content than other beers at the time. Known for their strong hop flavor and bitterness, IPAs can range from citrusy and fruity to piney and resinous.
Like pale ale, there are several different sub-styles of IPA, including American IPA, New England IPA, and Belgian IPA. American IPAs are similar to American pale ales in that they use American hops and have a citrusy and piney flavor, but they are typically stronger and more bitter. New England IPAs, also known as hazy IPAs, are known for their cloudy appearance and juicy hop flavor. Belgian IPAs are a hybrid between Belgian and American styles, and they typically have a spicy, fruity flavor with a hoppy finish.
The amount of hops used and the intensity of their flavors is the main difference between pale ale and IPA. Pale ales are typically more balanced and have a moderate flavor. They also are generally lighter in color and have a lower alcohol content. IPAs are more hop-forward and have a stronger hop flavor and bitterness. They also tend to have a higher alcohol content.
Pale ales and IPAs are both hop-forward beer styles with distinct differences in flavor and history. Whether you prefer the balanced sweetness of a pale ale or the bold hoppy flavor of an IPA, there is a craft beer out there for everyone to enjoy.