Is cream ale a light?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Cream ale is not technically considered a light beer, but it is often described as being light-bodied. The term “light” in the beer world typically refers to beers that are low in calories and alcohol content. While cream ales can be lower in alcohol compared to other beer styles, they are not necessarily low in calories.

Cream ale is a style that originated in the United States and is known for its smooth and easy-drinking qualities. It is often compared to American lagers in terms of its lightness and drinkability. However, it does have some distinct characteristics that set it apart.

One of the defining features of a cream ale is its use of both ale and lager yeast. This unique combination of yeast strains gives the beer its clean and crisp flavor profile. The ale yeast adds some fruity and estery notes, while the lager yeast contributes to the smoothness and clarity of the beer.

In terms of appearance, cream ales are typically pale and clear, with a golden or straw color. They may have a slight haze, but are generally quite clear. The use of lagering, which involves cold conditioning the beer for a period of time, helps to achieve this clarity.

Cream ales are also known for their mild and balanced flavors. They tend to have a low to moderate hop bitterness, with some subtle hop flavors and aromas. The malt character is clean and slightly sweet, with a hint of corn or graininess. This makes cream ales very approachable and easy to drink, without being overly heavy or filling.

One popular example of a cream ale is Genesee Cream Ale, which has been brewed in New York since the 1960s. It is often described as a smooth and refreshing beer with a creamy mouthfeel. Other breweries across the United States have also embraced the cream ale style and put their own spin on it.

While cream ale is not considered a light beer in terms of its calorie or alcohol content, it is often described as being light-bodied and easy to drink. Its combination of ale and lager yeast, along with its mild flavors, make it a popular choice for those looking for a refreshing and approachable beer.