English Pale Ale

Just had a look at the top 50 highest scoring ones. Guess how many I have had!



There’s no reason for you to have avoided them all, perhaps you’ve crossed paths with 2 of them, but the fact that you’re posting implies it’s closer to 0. I’m on 6, and I’m temted to guess that the other 44 would also make me say “there’s nothing English about this” too.



I’m drinking a top 50 English Pale Ale now. (I’ve had 8, apparently). This one is 4.2% ABV, hazy pale gold and hopped with Mosaic, Galaxy, Simcoe, Citra. It’s Philter XPA. It has a small head. Maybe that makes it English.

I got a private message from Tilford Brewery stating that their beer was an EPA. I’d joked that I couldn’t add it as one hand I’d been there that lunchtime and they tracked me down.

Although of a brewery states that their beer is an EPA (such as Elusive) who’s to sayvthatvtheir beer is not based on the US style;)

Not one of the beers in the top 20 is brewed in the UK! LOL

(I stopped looking after 20, so it’s probably more than that).

I’ve just looked at the rest i.e. 20-50 and whilst I checked through most, I never checked each and everyone individually, but I am quite certain that not one of that entire 50 are from an English or even UK brewery. It appears that alongside the many from the US, that France, Italy, New Zealand and Australia brew a style that we barely recognise which is probably right as most of us here would just lump it into the Golden category anyhow.

I’ve been told before that it’s the same as “Scottish Ale” i.e. an American classification and therefore nothing in the UK will be classed as such! As Fin says, English pale ale is usually just a golden.

Yes, that’s where the confusion comes in. The original Pale Ales in the UK were not very pale at all by modern day standards, not even golden (generally). Pale Ale was what they were called by the brewery, and what was on the bottle labels, but they came to be known as Bitter by drinkers on draught in pubs, without the benefit of point of sale branding back then. They were the same beers (courtesy Martyn Cornell’s research). Mainly brown twiggy bitters - although some (e.g. Boddingtons) were quite pale. Those of us of a certain vintage (i.e. me) will remember that, once upon a time, it was very rare to see a bottled beer labelled as Bitter.

More recently, those bottled beers labelled as Pale Ales (notably Bass) exported to the US where what, in all probability, inspired the English Pale Ale style there, possibly originally as clones made by homebrewers. It may have evolved into something somewhat different nowadays in the US - I’ve not had enough to know. I’d imagine, though, that “English” hop varieties remain key.

English Pale Ale seems to be making a bit of a comeback on labels in the UK. What it actually means is rather obscure to me. I suspect it’s often used for beers that resemble APAs but the brewer doesn’t want to call them “American”. I’d wager that not many are brown twiggy beers like the American “originals”. I guess, as @BeardedAvenger says, there may be some that are modelled on present day American EPAs, whatever they are. I dunno.

In the UK, the area inhabited by Bitters/Golden Ales/EPAs/APAs/Session IPAs/IPAs is very cluttered. Not helped by the fact that many UK beers tend to be a few notches down from their US counterparts in ABV. Precision is hard to tease out. Maybe impossible.

Cheers Chris, your post got me thinking about what actual EPA’s I have rated and where they were from.

Only had 20 apparently, that alone tells me that they aren’t something I come across very often (out of my 8,000 plus rates).

The diversity of countries however is amazing:

English 6
Italian 3
Welsh 2

and 1 each from this bunch;

Czech Republic

Interesting selection, even if I say so myself.


Don’t be at all surprised if those numbers decrease! I think the EPA moniker is in fairly common use in Europe for Bitter-like beers using “Brirish” hop varieties. I don’t recall seeing Bitter used much in labelling there.

I have a feeling it is as you allude to where it’s pretty much an APA, but perhaps the difference being the use of English (or at least English-grown) hops, therefore the term English Pale Ale is one of more accurate semantical value if nothing else?

But of course, the meaning no doubt varies from brewer to brewer… Like BrewDog… initially suggested their Indie Pale Ale was an “English Pale Ale” despite the use of American hops, in fact I’m not sure exactly what was supposed to be English about it. James’ comments on the EFP forum seemed to suggest the “yeast-derived flavours and esters” were what Indie was all about, and that if being pedantic about style he would place it “somewhere between an English Pale Ale & a Blonde ale, just nudging towards the English Pale.”

So yeah, I can’t see the confusion ever clearing up, there doesn’t seem to be any agreement from anyone about what makes a beer an English Pale Ale, especially with these modern interpretations arguably fitting better in other styles.

This old thread came up on my screen and I thought I’d see how many English EPAs there were. Some cheeky mutha had changed Timothy Taylor’s Landord to EPA:


I think here in America it means less agressive Pale Ales…with English hop and malt characteristics…i like most i have tasted.
I do not know why some get so upset of these type of things…the USA is the birthplace of the new craft beer styles…so they do not correspond to the old Europe?
Who cares shit changes

1 Like

But only the bottle version. The cask version is a bitter.

Last night the cask version was the #1 rated EPA. So that’s one corrected, just 50+ to go😁

But it is an English Pale Ale!?!?

As are all bitters, obviously.

Ignore ratebeer styles, and anyone influenced by them, they are pulled out of an orifice I’m too polite to mention.