Part 2….American Styles

American brewers have perfected the art of adopting European styles and reinventing it as their own. With the unique flavors of American hops and loads of it nobody can mistake an American IPA for anything else. But that is not the only style they excel in.

American Pale Ale:
This style defines America craft beer more than any other. They are built on a base of pure malt, usually with the caramel & raisin flavors of crystal, counterbalanced by the fresh, pungent flavors of American hops with their piney, citrusy notes.
Origin: Around the 1980’s, as American brewers tried to satisfy their thirst for hops.
Flavor: Fresh hops plus a nutty maltiness, hint of raisins and/or caramel, crisp finish.
Aroma: Malty, fruity, but with American hops in the foreground.
Balance: Medium body; crisp, bitter finish
ABV: 4.5-5.5%
Body: Medium
Color: Dark gold to dark amber
Bitterness: Medium to high (28-40 IBU)

American IPA:
A paler, stronger, hoppier style of pale ale, showcasing American hop varieties.
Origin: Around 1985, as American brewers looked for other hop-delivery vehicles.
Flavor: Fresh hops plus a clean, bready maltiness, perhaps a hint of caramel and a clean crisp, bitter finish.
Aroma: American hops in the foreground and some malty, fruity aromas.
Balance: Medium body; crisp bitter finish.
ABV: 5.5-6.3%
Body: Crisp, dry
Color: Gold to light amber
Bitterness: Medium to high (35-70 IBU)

Amber Ale:
Ambers are basically a beefy session beer, so good drinkability is important. The key is using hops in a way that is assertive without being tiring; building a malt base that is profound but not cloying. Emphasis should be on bitterness rather than aroma.
Origin: Ambers appeared in America in the about 1990, as brewers searched for a way to find discriptors for beer that were neither intimidating nor linked to specific historical traditions.
Flavor: Plenty of caramel malt, delicate hop finish
Aroma: Clean caramel malt plus a hint of floral hops
Balance: Malty to somewhat hoppy
ABV: 4.5-6%
Body: Medium
Color: Pale to dark amber
Bitterness: Medium (30-40 IBU)

Part 3 next….European styles followed by Part 4 Dark Beers

(Post adapted from Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher…..Great book to read for anybody with a interest in beer)