India Pale Ale vs Pale Ale: What Are the Differences?


It’s a hot summer day, and you go to grab a beer out of the fridge.

You see two different kinds: India Pale Ale or just a Pale Ale. You get a bit confused since they sound so similar, so you’re not sure which to grab.

India Pale Ale vs Pale Ale - What Are the Differences

Instead, you play Eenie Meenie Miney Mo so the rhyme can choose for you. You now have an IPA in your hand, but you’re still wondering what the differences are between the two.

In this Indian Pale Ale vs Pale Ale guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

What Is India Pale Ale?

The original IPA came about in the 1700s by accident, but it has become all the rage in today’s world.

The IPA variety has much more hops than any other beer, which makes it have a higher alcohol content as well. When it first came out, this higher alcohol content actually preserved the beer longer so it could be transported further.

While that’s not as important now, the hoppiness has come to be something that people love.

Most IPA recipes use a variety of American hops, such as Cascade, Citra, and Centennial, to complement the bitter hoppiness with more of a juicy flavor There are also different varieties of IPAs, like a hazy IPA, a bitter IPA, or a hoppy IPA.

These also come down to the differences of an American IPA, a New England IPA, the Brut IPA, and the West Coast IPA. All have slight differences in where they fall on the IBU scale.

More About Drinking Pale Ale

A Pale Ale is a light malt beer. While it is lighter, it still has a bit more of a hoppy flavor and is a bit more bitter than the darker-style malted beers.

When choosing a pale ale, you’ll notice the hops right away, but not as much as in an IPA. There are also several different pale ales you can try. These are:

  1. American amber ale: a darker, fuller-bodied variant that mixes Carmel flavors with the juicy flavors
  2. American pale ale: these take on a fruitier flavor than the traditional English pale ales
  3. Blonde ale: Smooth and easy to drink
  4. English-style pale ale (ESB): this is a hoppy beer and resembles the original style the most

More About the Two

While there are general guidelines to follow between drinking a pale ale and enjoying an IPA, the general idea is that IPAs tend to be hoppier and more bitter. However, this will differ depending on the type of brewery you go to or the brand of beer you get.

It will also change based on the type of IPA or pale ale you grab.

Whether you like IPAs or pale ales, find our beer here.

India Pale Ale vs. Pale Ale

When it comes to grabbing a refreshing beer, know the differences between an India Pale Ale vs. Pale Ale to avoid surprise bitterness.

And now that you know the difference, you can make an informed decision about which one you want to try out!

Did you enjoy reading this article? Check out more expert beverage tips on our site!


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