Since all four selections this month are members of the Ale family, it seems fitting that we explore some details about this fine family of beers.

– Ales have been brewed and enjoyed since before King Tut strutted his stuff. But they nearly disappeared at the turn of the last century in our country as the Lager, the new kid on the block, turned the heads of so many former ale fans.

– The microbrewing revolution in the U.S. resurrected scores of ale styles that had been more or less forgotten. Today, appreciative ale drinkers have a variety of ale brews from which to choose.

– Ales comprise a few broad categories, usually determined by the brewing region. A few examples are Irish and English ales, Belgian and northern French ales, and Eastern European ales which include those from Germany and most wheat beers. American ales are based on these European styles, but with a Yankee twist.

– Long ago, most ales were muddy brown. The pale ales that followed were considered weak in color, thus in substance. But it’s documented that pale ale was the first “luminously crystal sparkling beer,” not the Bohemian Pilsner as is commonly believed.

– English ales are served at cellar temperature, about 55 degrees F. The best ales are cask condition, meaning they are naturally carbonated, and less “bubbly” that the mass produced ales sold in local stores.

– A striking difference between the English and the U.S. beer drinking public is that 85% of beer is consumed in British restaurants and pubs, while 85% of beer is consumed in the U.S. in our homes.

Keep soaking up more ale facts as you soak up this month’s ale selections from the Beer of the Month Club !

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