Pale ale is a popular beer style among brewers, some of whom couldn’t pick just one favorite.
Victory Headwaters and Ballast Point Grunion
I really love Victory Headwaters (Downingtown, Pennsylvania), and Ballast Point Brewing’s Grunion (San Diego, California) is great, too. It won the gold medal (to our NYPA’s silver) at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.
Brewmaster at Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill, New York
Anchor Liberty Ale
The first pale ale I had was Anchor Liberty Ale (San Francisco, California). It holds a special place in my heart. I’d never had anything like it before, and I was blown away. It started my downward spiral toward pale ales and IPAs.
Head Brewer at Austin Beerworks, Austin, Texas
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Perfect balance makes Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Chico, California) irresistibly drinkable while being refreshing and invigorating. It is a great American example of a style-defining beer that has stood the test of time and is now both legendary and accessible. There are very exciting new pale ales out there resulting from the explosion in aromatic hops varieties, but few have the breadth of achievement embodied in a glass of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Founder of Mystic Brewery, Chelsea, Massachusetts
Fuller’s London Pride
There would be no American pale ale without Sierra Nevada. It is still my favorite, and it’s a great introduction to American hops. For English pale ales available in the United States, I’d have to say Fuller’s London Pride. It’s much different from Sierra Nevada, with a richer malt character. The hops character is there, grassy and woody, but it’s in balance with the caramel maltiness. It’s tough to beat one of the standard bearers.
Founder & Brewmaster at Saint Somewhere Brewing Company, Tarpon Springs, Florida
Firestone Walker Pale 31
A great pale ale that sticks out in my mind is the Firestone Walker Pale 31 (Paso Robles, California). I think it is just exemplary of the style—a really full-flavored pale with everything in the right place. It’s one of the rare beers that you really can’t find any fault in, where you taste it and think, “There is just no way this beer could be any better.” It is so well composed, with a wonderful whole-cone herbal note and remarkable hops brightness, as well as an extremely pleasant floral quality. It’s a very impressive and timeless beer and one of my favorite pales.
Quality Assurance Specialist at Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, Alaska