We Asked Brewers To Share Their Favorite Pale Ales For Summer Drinking

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The pale ale has everything you want in a summer beer. It’s highly crushable, light, subtly hoppy, and very refreshing on a sun-drenched, sweaty day. Honestly, there might not be a better beer for summer drinking (though, my god, is that ever debatable). IPAs are often too bitter to drink all day, wheat beers can be a little bold at times, and lagers sometimes come off a little basic.

In the US, the most popular variety of Pale Ale is, you guessed it, the American pale ale. This version of the style was first introduced in the ‘80s, when Sierra Nevada released its pale ale. Since then, craft breweries all over the country have brewed their own offerings. Since craft brewers clearly know quite a bit about pale ales, we asked some of our favorite brewers to tell us their go-to bottles and cans for summer drinking.

Fiction Madame Psychosis

Brad Manske, beverage director for VH Beer

Madame Psychosis from Fiction Beer Company is a New England style Hazy Pale Ale. It pours a hazy gold with flavors of papaya, mango, pineapple, and orange. Perfect after a long, hot day.

Cisco Whale’s Tale

Scott Francis, President, co-founder, CEO and co-owner of Santa Monica Brew Works

Whale’s Tale Pale Ale, Cisco Brewers. Wide beaches, rolling surf, and a laid-back lifestyle – that’s what we love about Santa Monica. When I’m looking to relax California-style on the East Coast, I’ll grab Whale’s Tale Pale Ale from Cisco Brewers on Nantucket. Lightly sweet malts with hints of straw and citric hop aromas.

If I can get my hands on that beer near the sand, you can bet I’m grabbing one.

Four Peaks 8th Street

Mike Stoneburg, brewmaster at Blue Point Brewing Company

I’d have to go with Four Peaks 8th Street Pale Ale. This beer is just so solid and balanced, and the Four Peaks crew are amazing people. You can’t know finer humans.

Saranac Pale Ale

Jake Lovett, brewer at Bonfire Brewing

Saranac Pale Ale. It’s got a great body — slightly maltier and roastier than many of the pale ales coming onto the market currently. It has a classic mouthfeel with old school bitterness, and just a hint of fruity and piney notes to round out the taste.

Odell 5 Barrel

Carl Heinz, head brewer at Breckenridge Brewery

My favorite pale ale is 5 Barrel Pale Ale from Odell Brewing Co, not only due to its quality but also the memories made while sharing a few. It reminds me of college at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where I first learned to enjoy craft beer. I’ve had countless bottles of 5 Barrel around a campfire with friends after fishing, as well as a few after a long week of finals.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Mark Theisen, head brewer at Coronado Brewing Company

I’d have to say Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It’s a classic, and it was my first introduction to craft beer in college. I have fond memories of drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at a great bar in San Luis Obispo called Spike’s.

Three Floyds Alpha King

Alex Coronado, Head Brewer at Nap Time Liquid Creation

Probably Alpha King by Three Floyds. It’s so classic in its composition but still feels aggressive, subversive, and relevant. It does for me consistently what Sierra Pale did when I first tasted it.


Joe Connolly, director of Springdale Beer

For my favorite pale ale, I’d have to go classic and leave the US-style. That’s why I picked Orval. It’s a perfect little beer fresh or aged, with elegance and complexity.

Roc Brewing Golden Pale Ale

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Dean Jones, brewmaster at the Genesee Brew House

ROC Brewing — Golden Pale Ale. It’s a great, easy-drinking pale with a subtle maltiness balanced with just the right touch of spicy bitterness.