All of you out there currently enjoying that chocolate Bourbon-barrel-Brettanomyces continuously-wet-hopped Imperial black IPA, take a moment and say a silent "thank you" to the humble West Coast American Pale Ale. Sure, it might seem tame to your 21st century craft beer sensibilities and sensory-overloaded palate, but back when it was just four dudes and a 20-foot storefront, this style was the "extreme" beer, and it's still going strong.
More than any other, this widely-imitated ale is responsible for bringing craft beer into the national consciousness and re-introducing America to real beer. Now it's a classic. Decidedly clean, firmly hoppy, and drinkably bitter, this isn't an ale that feels the need to jump up and down and scream for your attention. From Chico, California to all points of the compass, whether you're pairing it with Mexican, burgers and fries, or just conversation, there's always a good time and a place for a good, basic pale ale.