Some beers are seasonal, some are not. Some seem seasonal but can be enjoyed any time of the year. This is the case with amber ales. Although their colors range from ruby red to light brown, they are perfect drinkers for anytime of the year. Amber ales can be dry and malty or caramel sweet. Some have strong hop profiles while others are lightly hopped. Every country has their version of an amber beer, be it lager or ale. Today I am going to showcase two of my favorites, Irish Red, and American Amber Ale.
The general perception is that the Irish red was Ireland's take on the English bitter style. With time it has developed into a style all it’s own. A hint of dark roast malt gives it its signature color and adds a bit of roast character. Caramel malts can be used sparingly, but the style tends to be drier, not caramely sweet. Lightly hopped with floral English hops, it’s an easy drinker. Check out our Kev’s Rugged Good Looks Irish Red for a great example of the style. (Here is a little backstory on Kev and how he came to have a beer named after him).
American Amber Ales are a newer style born out of the American craft beer movement. They lean towards the sweeter caramel malt flavors. They can be hoppier in flavor and aroma than their Irish counterpart (Americans love their hops!), but usually not too bitter. The hops used are classic American types that range from fruity to citrusy and even piney. Check out our Four Seasons Amber Ale, slightly sweet from caramel malts and hopped with Cascade hops for that West Coast feel.
Feel free to make (and drink) these styles year-round, but if you’re craving a beer to match the colors and aromas of the fall season these are both solid choices.