If you’re down in the brewery during our summer months, you might be sampling a flight with two similar sounding beers: Pale Ale and India Pale Ale. Both have a lovely golden color in the glass, and both have a nice citrus smell when brought up to the nose. However, as soon as you take a sip your tastebuds will be able to tell the two beers apart. What makes them so similar yet so different? Let’s explore the differences between our Pale Ale and our India Pale Ale.
The first thing you’ll notice when trying both styles is that the India Pale Ale has a much more hoppy and bitter taste than the Pale Ale. Both styles use a pale malt, so the hops shine through as the main source of flavor. However, India Pale Ales tend to use a much larger quantity of hops, leading to a higher IBU and a much more bitter beer. Pale Ales tend to be on the less hoppy side, with a more mild flavor.
With more hops comes a higher ABV! Our Pale Ale is 5% ABV, while our India Pale Ale is 6.5%. Pale Ales tend to be a better choice for a longer drinking session, as they will not get you intoxicated quite as quickly as a traditional India Pale Ale.
Pale Ales were actually around first, and have been brewed since the late 18th century. They became the base for the India Pale Ale, which was brewed to survive the long journey to India during the dawn of the British Raj. By adding more hops as a natural preservative, the newly created India Pale Ale was able to survive the journey without spoiling. This difference in style has survived until the modern day, which explains why India Pale Ales tend to be much hoppier.
Okay, so this one’s specific to the historic brewery. Our Pale Ale is only available in the summer months, while our India Pale Ale is available year round. So if you came to visit us in the colder months, come back and try another flight of our summer beers. I can outline all the differences for you between the two styles, but the best way to learn is through trying them for yourself!