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Beer Styles 201: What is a Amber / Red Ale & Dark Ale?

Amber / Red Ales and Dark Ales: where they come from, their appearance, flavour & aroma, palate & mouthfeel, food pairings and serving suggestions are all explained in this Beer Styles 201 article.

Beer Styles 201: What is a Amber / Red Ale & Dark Ale?

What are Amber / Red Ales and Dark Ales?

Amber / Red Ales and Dark Ales are a more modern, non-traditional style of beer.

Amber ales are brewed in the US, Ireland and England. Amber / Red / Dark ales can sometimes seen as the predecessor to Porter style beers. Their complex malt character, pronounced bitterness and strong hops flavour makes them great for grilling season.


Amber / Red Ale & Dark Ale Essential Information:


Amber / Red Ale Style Region:

North America


Red / Amber Ales range from amber to copper in colour. They have variable clarity and head retention. Darker ales are brown and tend to be opaque.

Flavour & Aroma:

Amber / Red and Dark Ales have a complex malt character with a fruity character from the yeast. There are some that have a pronounced hop flavour and bitterness from it.

Palate & Mouthfeel:

Amber / Red Ales and Dark Ales have a light to medium carbonation and weight. Their texture is smooth and the complex malt flavours linger on the finish.

What foods pair well with Amber / Red Ales and Dark Ales?

Grilled meats are an obvious choice with Red and Dark Ales. Think steak, sausages, and grilled lamb, but they also go surprisingly well with cheeses.

How to serve a Dark Ale and Amber / Red Ale:

In North America, these brews are often served in Shaker pints. In England Nonic pints are more common. They are pretty much your standard beer glasses. If you’d like to be a bit fancy try a Weizen glass which will highlight the beers beautiful colour with its narrow bottom, but still enable you to take big satisfying gulps with its large, round top.

Comparable styles to Amber / Red Ales & Dark Ales:

English Pale Mild Ale


Now that you’re a Amber / Red Ale specialist, learn more about other beer styles:

Amber Lager / Dark Lager
Belgian IPA / White India Pale Ale
Berliner Weisse
Double IPA / Imperial IPA
Golden Ale / Blonde Ale
Golden Lager / Pale Lager
Gruit Beer
India Pale Ale (IPA)
Strong Ale
Wheat Beer

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