Pale Ale or IPA? What’s the difference?
These days there is a fascinating array of beer styles, each with its own unique characteristics. We wanted to delve into the realm of India Pale Ale (IPA), Pale Ale, and Pilsner to explore the distinguishing features that set them apart from one another. As a craft brewer we thought it might be useful to share our experience and knowledge with you, giving you a bit of insight as to how a Cornish brewery creates new beers too.
IPA - India Pale Ale
Originating in England, IPA gained prominence in the 19th century due to its association with British colonialism in India. This beer style is characterised by a pronounced hop bitterness, which serves as its defining feature. IPAs typically exhibit higher alcohol content and are heavily hopped, resulting in a range of flavors including floral, citrusy, and piney notes. The bitterness of IPAs can vary, with West Coast IPAs leaning towards a more intense bitterness, while New England IPAs tend to emphasize a juicy and less bitter profile. Black IPAs, on the other hand, incorporate roasted malts, adding a dark, rich character to the IPA experience.
Interestingly, the use of these hops originates from days gone by and sailors using extra hops to ensure beer remained drinkable for longer!
We have a number of IPA’s that we brew, Cornish beers that cover the full spectrum of IPA flavours. We have Meor IPA, Alba IPA, Slipway IPA and Destination DIPA. Each has it’s own flavour profile and defining features. Try them all and find your favourite.
Pale Ale: A Balanced Blend of Malt and Hops
Pale Ale, another style with roots in England, offers a well-rounded flavour profile that strikes a balance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness. It typically showcases a copper to amber colour and exhibits a moderate hop presence, making it more approachable for those seeking a beer with a milder bitterness compared to IPAs. Pale Ales often feature a combination of caramel, biscuit, or toasty malt flavors, complemented by a range of hop aromas such as floral, earthy, or fruity notes. This style encompasses a broad spectrum, including American Pale Ales and English Bitters, each with their own regional variations and nuances.
Our ever-present pale ale is Hella – try it for yourself. She’s a golden ale, dry-hopped with a fruity nose and hints of strawberry.
Pilsner: Crisp, Clean, and Refreshing
Pilsner finds its origins in the Czech Republic, specifically the city of Pilsen, and has become one of the most popular beer styles worldwide. Pilsners are known for their pale golden color, brilliant clarity, and exceptional drinkability. They showcase a clean, crisp flavour profile with a focus on the interplay between lightly toasted, bready malt sweetness and a moderate hop presence. The hop character in Pilsners tends to be more subdued, offering floral, herbal, or spicy notes. Pilsners are typically well-carbonated and possess a light to medium body, providing a refreshing experience that makes them particularly enjoyable on warm days.
Our Porth Pilsner is a really crips affair, a proper nod to the summer and one to drink with your toes in the sand or near the sea.
IPA, Pale Ale, and Pilsner, though all under the umbrella of beer, demonstrate distinctive qualities that set them apart. IPAs boast assertive hop bitterness and a wide range of flavours, while Pale Ales strike a balance between malt sweetness and hop character. Pilsners, on the other hand, emphasize a crisp, clean, and refreshing experience. Whether you prefer the hop-forward intensity of an IPA, the harmonious interplay of flavors in a Pale Ale, or the pristine perfection of a Pilsner, there is a beer style to cater to every palate and occasion. Cheers to the diverse world of beer!
If you still aren’t sure which should be your go to then head over to our online shop and grab yourself a mixed case – it’s the sensible way to sample the range.