I am not that old but, I guess, I am really not all that young either. I am not sure that I every went into a bar to have a beer in the 70s but know I was doing that by the fall of 1981 in Nova Scotia. Before that, there was drinking in friends' basements, drinking out by the reservoir, drinking along a dirt road. We drank pale ale. Oland Ex, Schooner or Moosehead Pale Ale was not so much what we preferred as what other people bought for us or what someone in some pal's next oldest generation had enough of sitting around in the garage that he wasn't keeping count. We Bluenosers were proud that it had more graininess. That it was not smooth cold lager. It was ale. We didn't want any stinking lager. Because that's what New Brunswickers wanted. Because they drank Alpine. They went 'pine-ing. We did not.
Pale ale is the root of all beer. Sure there was less paleness in the pale but there is more than enough evidence that our brewster ancestors were well aware of how to make pale ale as pale as pale could be pale much further back than those other guys would have you believe. The Session this month celebrates pale ale. The host for this month, a proud Maine-ah, has a two pale ale plan that you may want to think about. I had my two pale ale moments earlier this week. Nothing forgettable about either. Yet so different there is no way they should be considered of one style. By its very nature, pale ale defies the concept of "style" and certainly our present laughable style-acitis. Yet each of the two pale ales I had this week delicious and true to the spirit of those who brewed this beer decades and even centuries before we ever sat in darkened rec room stealing sips of someone's uncles brew.
Pale ale makes demands. It makes you admit all that it is and can be. It is a big raft beer that needs you to understand what is going on. It is exactly what you want, too. It has many names and many varieties. Volume #1 of the Classic Beer Style's series is Terry Foster's Pale Ale. Number one. Old school. Realer. Not fancy. Not what New Brunswickers like.