I’ve [link2post id=”295″]mentioned that I am trying to shed some lard from my frame[/link2post]. As usual, today I have been crazily hungry and desperate to have a substantial lunch. Yet lunchtime has passed and I haven’t touched any food. This deserves a reward.
[image image_id=”1984″ align=”left”]A small bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale seems like an excellent reward. It is bottle-conditioned, which gives it more life and complexity. It also results in there being a small amount of dead yeast in the bottle, which some people think is a bad thing, not a bit of it! Good to see this beer was once alive. I like its floral, hoppy flavours and its pronounced bitterness is very refreshing. A very satisfying bottle of Pale Ale.
Pale Ale is one of my favourite styles of beer, and there are some good ones out there. My preferred variety is the much-loved Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, particularly when cask-conditioned although the bottled version is quite acceptable. When you see this beer in a boozer you should order it in a second, it is so excitingly livid and invigorating. For a pale ale the alcohol level is slightly on the low side at 4.3%. A cask of this was on offer at the wedding reception of two friends of mine; I found it so hard to choose between the Pol Roger Champagne, Arlaud Burgundy and the Landlord that I just had to keep cycling between the three.
There are two other good Pale Ales available from micro-breweries in my area of London. The Union in Greenwich is the tap boozer for the Meantime Brewery, their London Pale Ale is quite delicious. Again, not so high in alcohol and a bright, refreshing drink. Zero Degrees in Blackheath is quite a fun micro-brewery cum bar and restaurant. You can sit gazing at the brewery equipment behind the glass walls in bar as you drink their excellent Pale Ale and eat one of their (sometimes good, sometimes woeful) pizzas. Some of the beers at Zero Degrees can be a bit hit and miss, but I’ve never had a less than excellent pint of their Pale Ale (the Black Lager is reliable, too).
I’ve been impressed by some Pale Ales from micro-breweries in the US. The first one I tried was Full Sail Pale Ale picked up when I was working in Alaska back in 1995. My chum Keithy and I purchased loads of this as it was such an enjoyable beer, really hoppy and refreshing (and preferable to the dreary Alaska Amber which seemed to be the beer on sale in most places). Sadly I have rarely seen this in the UK so have not had it for a few years. Bums.
The other US Pale Ale which has really done it for me is Burning River Pale Ale from the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Its slightly higher alcohol level (6%) gives a richness and weight which balances the hoppy bitterness very well.
My final suggestion for good Pale Ale is a Western Australian brew: Little Creatures Pale Ale. This is well-flavoured with American hops and they also chuck some Tasmanian-grown flowers in it to add to its aromatics. This is also bottle conditioned, good! The ‘priced like Harrod’s’ corner shop in my housing development sells this and it is one of the few things in there that I do not resent paying their inflated prices for. Its good stuff.
Pale Ales can refresh and invigorate, one of my very favourite styles of beer. If you want more alcohol and more hoppy bitterness you should be going for India Pale Ale, and, as [link2post id=”318″]I have recently suggested, the [link2post id=”1180″]IPA of choice comes from the Meantime Brewery. That is my favourite beer of all time.