Burton upon Trent in the English Midlands popularized large scale consumption of English Pale Ales when they began shipping Pale Ales to London and other cities in the early 1700’s. Burton was particularly well suited to brewing English Pale Ales, as the water in Burton contained large amounts of salt, which allowed brewers to put very large amounts of hops into the beer while keeping it drinkable. And much like Burton developed English Pales in response to its unique local ingredients, American beers evolved further still based on unique ingredients found in American, particularly American hops.
American Ales are largely based on English style beers, but the uniqueness of their ingredients sets them apart. At first glance, American Pale Ales are conceptually very much like their English counterparts. But beneath the surface lurks beer of a distinctly different character than the British beers that inspired them.
While they represent a range of colors and flavors that are sometimes associated with other English beer styles, the American Ales are grouped together as a distinct, stand-alone category because of their common origin in the American home brew and micro movement, as well as their common use of distinctly American ingredients including American hops, malt, yeast and water. These similarities in origin and flavor make them more closely related to each other than to the English beer styles that inspired them.
Source: World Class Beverages
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