Beer Style Musings: Cream Ale

Beer Style Musings: Cream Ale

Beer styles continue to evolve. New subcategories are added every year. The good news is you don’t have to keep track of it all – leave that to the experts! All you need is to know enough about each of the major styles to help appreciate and share your knowledge when it comes to choosing your beer for the day. Today we will discuss the Cream Ale…

The Cream Ale

History: The Cream Ale style was actually born in America, unlike most styles of beer. In the mid-1800’s, American ale brewers were losing business to German-inspired lagers and pilsners. They invented an ale that drank like a lager, which later became “cream ale.” The style was meant to mimic the light, refreshing quality of the German-born lagers with slightly different ingredients and methods.

Profile: You might be wondering if there is cream in a cream ale. The answer is no. So if you are expecting something creamy or maybe even a dark malted beer based on the name, you may be surprised with what you receive. The word cream in this sense, just means rich or silky. The end result is a mild, pale, light-bodied ale, made using a warm fermentation (top or bottom fermenting yeast) and cold lagering. Pale straw to pale gold in color, they are known to have a low degree of hop bittering yet some hop aroma. Some modern cream ales do include adjunct ingredients, which can include lactose and milk sugar. Other coffee and fruit cream ales have been popping up around the country as well.

Food Pairings: Pairs perfectly with sweet, hot, or spicy foods including Asian dishes. The easy drinking quality of a cream ale also works well with your favorite foods of summer – burgers, shellfish, and pulled pork. Try pairing with a high quality Monterrey Jack cheese for a great snack!

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: somewhere between 4.3–5.7%

The Cream Ale is an American classic and we are a big fan! Let us know about your favorite beer style. We are always open to trying new beers!


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Andrew JackmanBurger Republic
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