With seemingly thousands of varieties of beer available – this Beer Friend started to ask what’s the difference between each? The differences between a Stout and hefeweizen are obvious – but what about everything in between? The Beer Friends decided to explore this and start defining beer styles and types, but also giving our two-cents about each type. This Beer Friend starts with Amber Ale, which is my go-to beer at any bar. The Amber ale is a type of Pale Ale. While Pale Ale will be described in a later post, I’ll give you the basics so we can tell how Amber Ale is different. Definitionally, pale ale is only pale in color compared to the typical porters that were common in England in the early days of brewing. Pale Ale is typically a bitter beer with it’s more potent selection of hops, so much so that while breweries called it Pale, customers called it bitter.
Amber Ale is typically a beer with a coopery color, with more red than basic pale ale, but not enough brown coloring to be a brown ale. The taste of a Amber can vary but still has a hoppy bitterness to it which defines it as a Amber ale – under the pale ale family of beers. A good Amber, in this Beer Friends opinion, will have a excellent balance between the hops and malts to create a smooth taste. If your looking for a spicy beer try an IPA -- no room for that in a Amber.
Two favorite Amber Ale’s of this Beer Friend are both from Colorado, New Belgium’s Fat Tire and Bristol Brewery’s Mass Transit. While Fat Tire is one of the darlings of the Colorado craft beer scene, Mass Transit flies below the radar. Despite the lower profile, it is one of this Beer Friends’ top five beers and is -- sorry mom and dad -- the thing that brings him back to Colorado from time to time.
Look for future in-depth reviews of Fat Tire and Mass Transit.