What makes a great pale ale a truly great pale ale? Is it the hoppy profile? The crisp, slightly fruity, robust flavor? Or is it the spirit the beer is brewed with, the energy imbued by the brewer upon his brew?

Technically, it’s a higher proportion of pale malts to other ingredients that creates a lighter color in the beer. But all of those other things matter too.

There’s a lot of great pale ales in Colorado. As well there should be: in a place where there’s over 400 established craft breweries, you’d expect to find a healthy variety. But, if you’re really hankering for something special, if you’re dogging for a pale ale that’s going to strike your fancy like a gong, deciding on the right brewery to go to can be an overwhelming endeavor. Where to go? What to drink? How does one choose?!

Well, it isn’t easy. I’ll tell you that much. After many nights spent out on the town drinking, investigating, researching the answers to these questions, we at Rooster, have narrowed the list down to 5 top pale ales of the region, that anyone in Colorado, who’s interested in drinking beer, should check out. And we did it all for you. (No need to thank us – it’s what we do.)

They aren’t all IPA’s. In fact, they aren’t even all traditional pale ales. But they’re all dank as hell and worth a taste. So keep them in mind next time you’re itchin’ to get your pale ale fix.

Madame Psychosis, hazy pale ale – Fiction Beer Company, Denver

Primed with over five pounds of Idaho 7, Mandarina Bavaria, Mosaic, and Citra hops, this hyper-hazy pale ale is an explosion of bright, fruity flavors: ripe papaya, mango, pineapple, orange zest and peach skin. Wow.

And on top of all that, it’s 6.3%. So getting that blitz a buzzin’ is not too hard a task – you only need a few. (But you might want more; especially considering this won a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival last year.)

Townie Ale, English-style India pale ale – The Post Brewing Company, Boulder

It’s what you’ll find the locals drinking in Boulder. Or, at least, it’s what you’ll find the locals at The Post in Boulder, drinking.

Loaded with American hops, American malt and a whole lotta’ heart, this bangin’ brew is a pinnacle of pale ale prowess. 6.2%, rough, smooth, complex, it’s the perfect beer to swill out in the summer sunshine when you’re hanging out in the Boulder Bubble.

Steep Coast Strata, double India pale ale – Oskar Blues, Longmont

Prepare for blast off. This badass, hardcore, in-your-face IIPA is 8%. It’s the rocket fuel that’s going to send you soaring through peach, stonefruit and passionfruit skies, up, up and into the starry unknown above.

Steep Coast Strata is one of the highly praised products of Oregon State’s infamous hop breeding program. The juicy hops, fruity overtones, and notes of cannabis take this beer into the stratosphere – and it’s bringing you with it.

Ryedorado, rye extra pale ale – Fate Brewing Company, Boulder

Easy to drink, delicious and not overly hoppy, this well-balanced rye extra pale ale was brewed with El Dorado hops right in the heart of Boulder. It’s just one of many excellent brews to check out during Fate’s happy hour, and certainly it’s our favorite pale ale on the menu. At 6% it’s pale enough to drink on a hot day, and heavy enough to get you buzzin’ on just one (or two).

Plus, it goes fan-fuckin’-tastic with the Fate’s fried pickles.

Punjabi, English-style India Pale ale – Cooper Smith’s Pub & Brewing, Fort Collins

It’s been described as “the perfect example of a pale ale” and it’s easy to understand why when you get it in your mouth. The beer is even lighter than you might imagine, with heavy citrus notes on the nose and the palate, it’s got a medium body with a really balanced mouthfeel. It’s a dangerous beer, at 7.2%. It’s so light, you won’t realize how strong it truly is until you’re calling an Uber home because you’re too tipsy to drive.

But it’s totally worth it.


If you want to find more awesome beers, breweries and cheap times to buy them, check out the Rooster Happy Hour Page. There’s way more to discover.