For years all beer was Brown Ale until the Czech Republic invented the Pilsner Lager. Pilsner soon dominated everywhere with its refreshing colour, and as the various breweries saw the success of Pilsner, they began producing similar styles to compete.
Belgian Pale Ale
Belgian responded with the Pale Ale, which isn’t as pale as Pilsner, and well, many of them have the colour of a well-bronzed supermodel. These beers are unique in that they are moderately bitter, and medium bodied with a nutty and bready flavour. There’s a soft fruitiness on the nose, and often you’ll find hints of licorice, orange peel and cinnamon in the flavours of this extremely smooth and drinkable beer.
Due to the subtle licorice/fennel/anise flavours in this beer, it is fantastic with roasted and herbed chicken. Think savoury herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme. The breadiness of the beer will complement the dark skin of the chicken even further. The same goes for Turkey. Turkey has a light nutty hint to it, as does this beer, and the fennel flavours within the beer will go well with stuffing.
Pork, Lamb and Beef are all great matches for the earthy flavours of this beer. If there are mushrooms, potatoes or Brussel sprouts involved, the whole dish will come off even better. If you’re a fish eater, choose a lighter fish for this beer. Darker fish tend to be oilier, and needs the cutting power of a brighter beer with a stronger finish.
North American Pale Ale
North American Pale Ales are somewhat different in that they lack the biscuit malt flavours of a Belgian Pale Ale and instead are bitter up front, followed by a fruity finish. Darker Pale Ales are referred to as Amber Ales. Amber Ale is maltier than its paler siblings and often has a fuller body. Both beers contain hops, which give them a citrus edge.
American Pale Ale and Amber Ale love Tex Mex foods because of the hops within the beer. Often you will taste Cilantro or Lime, which makes them perfect for tacos, quesadillas, tamales, chimichangas, chilaquiles, enchiladas, fajitas and huevos rancheros. Spicy Thai and Vietnamese dishes go extremely well too with American Pale Ales. The bitterness of the American Pale Ale lifts through the heat of the dish, and the remaining hoppy flavours play well with spices in the dish.
Canadian Pale Ale and Fish and Chips
Canadian Pale Ale basically falls under the classification of North American Pale ale. However, there is one of notable distinction which is Mill Street’s Tankhouse Ale. This beer has aromas of citrus and spice and a complex malty feel with a classic cascade hop bitterness. It’s our most favourite beer with Fish and Chips. The bitter hops helps cut through the deep fried batter, allowing you to enjoy the subtle fish flavours you may have never noticed.
The bitter hops also makes a Canadian Pale Ale a wonderful pairing with Poutine. On top of the palate cleansing nature of the carbonation and hops, the slight sweetness of the maltness is the perfect foil to the saltiness of Poutine.
British Pale Ale and Food Pairing
British Pale Ale is subtler than both Belgian and American Pale Ale. It’s an amber coloured beer of moderate strength. Caramel flavours are strong, while bitterness is moderate. The beer is sweeter and less zippy than American Pale Ale. British Pale Ale goes well with Grilled Meats.
The caramelized flesh of the meat matches the malty sweetness and bitterness of a fine British Pale Ale. British Pale Ale is also a sandwich kind of beer. It’ll go great with Ham and Cheese, Turkey, Chicken, Cold Cuts, and Hamburgers. Its bitterness will take on any hot mustard you toss on your sandwich, along with any hot peppers. Other foods that go great with British Pale Ale are Chicken Pot Pie or Shepherd’s Pie, fried fish, and cream based pasta like Alfredo, carbonara and Primavera.
Finally, India Pale Ale is whole different breed of beer which you can read more upon.