Thursday, September 4, 2008

APA Invasion

A recent trend in craft beer lately seems to be the American Pale Ale. This style just seems to have popped right out of the woodwork and has gone from the odd one in a brewers’ line up to the ‘must have’ in nearly every range.

And this is NOT a bad thing.

Apart from the fact that the citrusy hop character and floral aroma suits the weather here (is there a beer that doesn’t suit the weather if you really want it to?) the extra personality of a good APA means that these beers are a good style to food match with.

While the Prohibition era virtually saw off the ale as a style in the US, the American Ale, and the APA in particular, were given a new life with the emergence in the 1980s of microbreweries and the craft brewing explosion. The Pale Ales, based on the English Pale Ales are, as you might expect, lighter in colour and lean towards a greater use of aroma and flavour hops than their British forefathers and often achieve their distinctive hoppiness from dry hopping as well as from the ballsy and bitter US hop varieties, in particular the Cascade and Centennial. They can also tend to lean towards the amber end of pale.

Australian craft brewers have jumped on board in a big way over the last few years and where it used to be the sole domain of Little Creatures Pale Ale and one or two token gestures to the brand, we now have an almost unlimited choice when it comes to this type of ale. Many craft brewers have also tipped their hats towards the American Ales and to Sierra Nevada especially as the inspiration for the realisation of their own craft brew dreams. Readers of this blog will be aware that my current beer quest is to get me some SN Pale Ale and quick smart! No joy as yet but my two year quest may soon be at an end as Chris from Cloudwine Cellars has told me has some on order.

Another favourite craft brewer of the Beer Blokes is 3 Ravens who stick doggedly to producing a range of hand made real beers – or ‘live’ beers as they call them. Best drunk fresh and even better from the keg, these guy, led by Marcus Cox have just added a ‘55’ APA to their stable of great ales. Celebrating the brewery’s fifth birthday and packed with 5 hop varieties, this ale is a joy. Think I’ll have another. Back soon.

Murray’s Nirvana Pale Ale is another which has something of permanent residence status in the Prof’s fridge and is (from what I’m told) a great tribute to the Sierra Nevada. Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale is one which sings at the top of its lungs with hop gusto, Bright Blowhard is very serviceable, Moo Brew Pale is growing on me and Sweetwater is a newcomer to the scene and presents admirably.

It’s nice to be spoilt for choice! Support the Coalition of the Willing (Beer Drinkers Division) and grab an American Pale Ale today. If only Osama drank beer.

Prof. Pilsner


Buttle said...

Sierra Nevada is almost a cliche here in the States. It's one of the few good beers to have beer around since since before the craft beer boom. Still a good beer though. Hopefully, you'll get a reasonably fresh bottle.

Tim said...

A lot of people tend to think that Little Creatures Pale Ale is very similar to Sierra Nevada's offering, but the reality is they are two similar but very different beers. LCPA tends to have more of an intense hop aroma and this forms the basis for the beer. SNPA on the other hand is really malty and bitter with a slight citrus tang, but its by no way the dominant flavour. Anyway, I can pick up SNPA in my local supermarket, and at the moment they have SN Summerfest as well. I have not had any for a while though, my last time is documented here.

Beer Blokes said...

Buttle and CB,

Thank you both for your offerings. My 'Quest for the Holy PAle' has become something of a running joke for a while now. I learned that the inspiration for many great Aussie craft brewers was the SNPA and for the last two years my quest has been to seek and find it! Other noted beer bloggers have ribbed me by telling me of these gems and sharing their enjoyment of it - even rubbing it in when they find it on special! Chris from Cloudwne has ordered some and so I hope to find a new quest soon. I had heard the SNPA was similar to LC and likewise heard it was different! I guess I'll just have to do several side-by-side tastings of the two(all in the name of accurate research!!)

Wish me luck, boys!
Prof. PIlsner

Anonymous said...

Its crazy that SNPA aint readily availible. Ive heard someone imports it and charges like 35 bucks for a sixer. Charging whatever the market will bare for beer aint cool...