Pale ale, another classic British top-fermented ale style, has more hop flavor than “Bitter” but not as much as “India Pale Ale.” (There is a good measure of over-lap when other than mainstream examples of these three brew styles are compared.)


According to the Association of Brewers’ 2004 Beer Style Guidelines, Classic English-Style Pale Ale is golden to copper colored and displays unique “earthy, herbal” English-variety hop character. It has a medium to high hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma, low to medium malt flavor and aroma. It is essential that there be obvious fruity-ester flavors and aromas. What differentiates the American-Style Pale Ale from its English cousin are the American-variety hops used to produce higher hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma with stronger fruity-ester flavor and aroma than the English style.

The following is from the Association of Brewers 2007 Guidelines:

Original Gravity (ºPlato):

1.040-1.056 (10-14 ºPlato)

Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.008-1.016 (2-4 ºPlato)

Alcohol by Weight (Volume):

3.5-4.2% (4.5-5.5%)

Bitterness (IBU): 20-40

Color SRM (EBC): 5 – 14 (10-28 EBC)


Specific guidelines from the folks at CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) can be found here –


Fred Eckhardt, in The Essentials of Beer Style, notes that the American-style brewing process is  markedly different than the English brewing process. The production of American “Pale Ale” has been…  “brewed as top fermented ale, but then krausened with lager wort (sweet non-carbonated maltose and water solution)  and yeast. Krausening is a process where the beer, after ferment and aging, has a “dosage” added. This is a method similar to that used in the Champagne charmot process, where sugar and yeast are added in a special tank, starting a second ferment and charging the liquor with carbon dioxide.”

Garrett Oliver, brewmaster for the Brooklyn Brewing Company, notes in his book The Brewmasters Table, that “American pale ales are deep gold to copper in color and highly aromatic, with a dry, medium-bodied palate supported by relatively light malt flavors. They have snappy bitterness up front and then give way to some fruitiness and malt flavor in the center, leaving a dry, clean finish. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a classic version of this style, “



From the kitchen of  Clark Nickerson


Toronto, Ontario


(6 servings)


6 lamb shanks

14 oz. plum tomatoes

1/2 pint pale ale

1 carrot – chopped into large pieces

1 stalk celery – chopped into large pieces

1 clove garlic – chopped into small pieces

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

1 tbs. tomato paste

Salt & Pepper to taste


Brown the lamb shanks, on all sides, in a large pan. Combine all other ingredients in a 2 quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Place lamb shanks in a roasting pan and cover with liquid. Roast (covered) in a pre-heated 375F oven for approximately 3 hours, turning shanks every half hour to insure even cooking.


Serve over white rice or mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables.