Different Interpretations of Amber & Red Ale
This is a classic Belgian Ale which was first brewed in the early 20th century as a local rival to the spread of British pale ales and Central European pale lagers. It’s an everyday drinking beer, one with soft biscuit and honeyish malts, dry peppery hops and a fruity, banana-like yeast.
Irish Red Ale
There is history of paler Irish beers, but they were more likely to be just pale ales or bitters. When those beers arrived in America they were often served next to Guinness and in a similar smoothflow way, which highlighted malt sweetness. In a sharp marketing rebrand they were then called Irish Red and it effectively created a new style of beer. It’s now been picked up by Irish craft brewers who are taking on the style in a new way. Bay Ale is toasty, nutty and smooth with malts, and it’s balanced and easy-drinking, yet still with a definite dry bitterness of hops.
Welsh Red Ale
It’s a bit like a maltier British bitter with a heap of American hops through it, giving tangy citrus and juicy berries.
American Red Ale
Magic Rock Rapture is the hop-forward expression of a red, or an American-style Red. It’s got a richly malty caramel and dried fruit body and then there’s a blast of grapefruity, piney, citrusy hops on top. BrewDog’s 5am Saint is a similar hopped-up red.
This became the most popular early craft beer style, something of a gateway beer between pale lagers and pale ales, with its softer malts and fruity hops.