I’m not the world’s smartest person. I realize that this is a fairly easy statement to make, akin to stating that I’m not a world-class athlete. But I’m no idiot either. I do happen to know things, and, as a point of order, I like knowing things. Being ignorant of something makes me sleep unwell.
I’ve been going on through my life, never having tasted Bitter, an ale found in England, served by draught or by bottle. So when I made my recent journey to the United Kingdom, I made it my goal to do exactly that.
What I found was an ale that wasn’t bitter at all, but quite smooth and balanced with the taste of the grain. I sampled several different brands and found myself quite taken with this variety. It was far hoppy than the American beers to which we’re most familiar, and I am not a big fan of hops.
Imagine my surprise a bit later, back here in the states, when I found out that Bitter is essentially a pale ale, a type of beer that I have tasted before, on at least one occasion. I do recall liking it back then as well.
I feel a bit chagrined at this discovery, especially as I am at the start of the research phase of this beer book. But I suppose that’s sort of the point of research, isn’t it?
What I did know about Pale Ales (aka Bitter) is that this was the brew that would eventually branch into India Pale Ales, (aka IPA’s), a type of beer to which I am not fond of at all because, as I have previously stated, I am not a big fan of hops. IPA’s are extraordinarily hoppy, as their preservative nature allowed British breweries to make beer and send it off in ships to India without fear of it going bad. If anyone could recommend what they believe to be a good IPA, let me know, and I will give it a try. But for the time being, I’m going to set my preference for the pale ale.
But bitter is a pale ale? Why didn’t I know that before?