Friday, January 16, 2009

CPA: An Oxymoron or Not?

You decide!

Okay, a fairly normal-looking beer with a nice sounding name: Firestone Walker. Makes you think of sitting around the fire and flexing your toes for fire-walking (or tires?). It's a good-tasting beer (I won't get into flavors and All That Jazz): better than Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, at least as good as Alaskan Pale Ale. Their motto appears to be "Passion for the Pale" - hey, that's Sf's kind of beer, I tell ya! It's a Pale Ale, but...
Look closer, it says it's a California Pale Ale (hence, the CPA). One would suppose that epithet is in contrast to an India Pale Ale (IPA)?? Except that they make an India Pale Ale - check out their our Pale Ale's section.

Is it an oxymoron? Where's Alaska Al, my IPA/beer expert, when you need him? I don't suppose he's run off to some warmer clime like Hawaii or Florida for the winter?


Anonymous said...

India Pale Ale or IPA was invented by the British who needed a beer that would survive the rough and warm sea crossing to India.

I think others are just a pale immitation.

Maria said...

IPA had a purpose; American or California Pale Ale is brewed by people who think that adding waaaay too much hop to a beer will make them look tough. Then they cover their insecurities with glib nonsense about showcasing American hop varieties.

NB: I am an amber drinker.

Silver Fox said...

Definitely a pale imitation! :D

Part of the humor for me is actually that there could be a *California* Pale Ale - it just seems strange to me! Why not call it something else, like "Firestone Pale Ale?" Especially since the outfit already makes an IPA. Maybe I'm being too hard on California, though. Can't help it since I grew up there.

I think the extra hops in beer/ale recently is found mostly in ones called IPA's? The original so-called "American-style" pale ale wasn't as hopsy as these new things are, imo.

I like many pale ales (non-IPA), some/many ambers, and almost all the IPA's I have ever had.

BrianR said...

I like beer that tastes good ... this includes some Cali pale ales ... yum!

andrew said...

California pale ale is a genus whose type species is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It's fresh, moderate in alcohol and has a good dose of fragrant hops added late in the boil. Cascade is the canonical hop, spicy, floral and piney.

Silver Fox said...

I didn't realize that people were actually capitalizing American Pale Ale (APA) as a type! Live and learn. And that two outfits (Firestone, ACME) make a California Pale Ale.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, one of my first favorites in this category, was first put on the market in 1981. Alaskan Pale Ale (that is not a type because Alaskan is the brewery's name) was first put on the market in 1988. I'd rate Firestone Walker's California Pale Ale right up there with Alaskan Pale Ale, above Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - although I haven't done a double-blind taste test of the three!

I may not know what hops taste like, or something, since I didn't really think of SNPA as a hopsy beer, but apparently some people find it *too* hopsy.

Anyway, I have a fondness for hops dating back to trips across the Great Valley (of CA) while growing up. I don't know that they actually grow hops there any more!