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American Pale Ales

Beer guzzler

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Declare your independence with an American Pale Ale, a style we liberated from the British. Originating in the early 1700s when the technology first allowed for roasting paler malt, they were often called bitters to separate them from sweeter brown ales. Our American version tends to use softer malt and a more assertive hop profile than the Brits'. Here are three very different takes on the style:

Fremont Universale Pale, $1.60-$1.90

A decent head with good persistence tops this hazy, orange tinged pour. The aromas are a light mix of grain; soft, resiny hops; and a touch of stone fruit. Very smooth and well balanced on the palate, there's a pleasant biscuit quality to the malt and a nice backbone of lightly bitter hops. Citrus and pineapple come through on the finish. Outstanding.

GoodLife Sweet As! Pacific Ale, $1.60-$1.90

It's a bright gold in the glass with a thick, short-lived head. Lots of bright fruit on the nose, you get melon, mango and berry. Medium to full-bodied in the mouth, the not-too-sweet malt is colored by creamy orange and backed by light hops. Light carbonation makes for a less filling, great tasting brew.

Odell Drumroll American Pale Ale, $1.70-$2

A light amber pour with a cushiony two-finger head, it leaves a lovely lacing. The hop aromas are the most aggressive of the trio, a combo of pine and citrus zest. That's true of the palate as well, with a hop profile that pushes toward IPA levels. There's just enough sweet malt and ripe fruit flavors to keep things in line.