Since the football season started again, my intake of Pale ales has shot up dramatically. I don't know why, but when watching the footy I almost always go for a Pale - Stouts, Porters, Wheats, Wits...other styles just don't cut it. I suspect it's due to their easy-going nature, but that's not to underplay Pale ale. It's my favourite style, as much for the varying interpretations of it out there, as for it's sessionability. Pale Ale really is a blank canvas. Here's three that have really hit the spot of late.
First up is Ilkley's Mary Jane (3.5%abv). MJ's a beer that I've enjoyed on draught a few times now, but it's a rarity for me in that I think I prefer it's bottled counterpart. MJ's orange-grapefruit aroma really comes alive in the glass, and the slight carbonation means that it's got a softer, more mellow mouthfeel than some bottled pales have. It's clean, thirst-quenching and exactly the sort of Pale we seem to like these days - hopped with C-hops, and with a decent bitterness. American-influenced, if you will. Ilkley are a relatively new brewery but are filling the trophy cabinet already and becoming a firm favourite on the Yorkshire brewing scene. Keep up the good work, lads.
A brewery that needs no introduction (on TGS, anyway) is Acorn - purveyor of consistently high-quality beers. Blond's (4%abv) no exception - a grainy, cereal-tinged body gives way to a lemony aroma and surprisingly dry finish. In fact, it's this dry, crisp finish that makes Blonde a success in my opinion. It's super-pale, but packs in a lot of aroma. Another one for Acorn completists to have a bash at, I think.
Finally, staying in Yorkshire (thanks lads!), Wentworth's WPA (4.%abv) is well worth a try. Straw-coloured, it's got an amazingly vibrant apple/pear nose; one that you really don't expect. Well-balanced, with an excellent bitterness at the end of a very long sip, it's one to drink a lot of, for sure. I'd love to try this on draught and compare the two - I really didn't expect much out of the ordinary from WPA, but was surprised at its depth of aroma. A pleasure to drink.