Best pale ales

23 Best Pale Ale Beers to Crack Open

Whether you’re a craft beer nerd or you’ve only recently found yourself dabbling in the world of great beer, a good pale ale never goes astray. A true crowd-pleaser, the go-to beer is loaded with rich flavours, hoppy goodness and more than enough booze to keep you buzzed. Pale Ales are favourites thanks to their refreshing, balanced palette, and whilst a classic pale ale is a great entry point for those new to the beer-drinking game, the specialty pale ales can enliven and surprise even the most seasoned of beer-drinkers.

Related: Looking for more beer-spiration? Check out our ultimate guide to beer types and styles.

How We Choose the Best Pale Ale Beers?

When it comes to picking a list of the best pale ales on the market, it goes without saying, that expertise is key. While we’ve tasted every beer on this list, we’ve also turned to the wider public for their overall ratings. Our list takes into account three major perspectives to determine the overall rating. In addition to our own opinions, we take into account reviews via alcohol retailer Dan Murphys and the global beer rating community Untappd. We then collate the information together and measure the beers via overall flavour profile, reader ratings and commercial availability, meaning one-off special editions aren’t likely to top the list.

Best Pale Ales

With craft beer lovers enjoying the fruity and flavoursome notes, it’s hard to argue against the boozy best. Finding a favourite can be as easy as tying a few new beers, and for those wanting to know where to begin, start with our list of the best pale ales.

Best pale ales young henrys newtowner

Image: Young Henrys

1. Young Henrys Newtowner

It’s hard to argue against Young Henrys Newtowner sitting at the top of our list of best pale ales. What is often most people’s first-ever beer-drinking experience, the humble Newtowner is the flagship beer from the Newtown Brewery, hence the name. We love this pale ale for its crisp, refreshing taste that celebrates Newtown and aims to encapsulate its enigmatic energy and sense of fun, all in one craft unique beer. In a nod to the lively suburb’s past and present influences, the beer uses a blend of Australian malts with three local hops to make it fun, fruity and even a little bitter – Newtown in a can.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.8%
State: New South Wales
Awards: Silver Medal – AIBA best Australian-Style Pale Ale 2021.

Buy it here (Young Henrys) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales the grifter

Image: The Grifter

2. The Grifter Pale Ale

Just across the road in Sydney’s Marrickville, Grifter Brewery has been working on something just as good as the Newtowner pale ale. It’s not the cheapest beer on this list, but their classic pale ale is a winner in our eyes thanks to its golden light malt body and a zesty hop-forward finish. Simply put, the geniuses at The Grifter are changing the Australian beer landscape for the better with this beer.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.5
Alcohol volume: 5%
State: New South Wales
Awards: Silver Medal – AIBA best Australian-Style Pale Ale 2021.

Buy it here (The Grifter) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales kaiju crush

Image: KAIJU Krush!

3. KAIJU! Krush Tropical Pale Ale

Just like the name, KAIJU beer is one of the best pale ales if you’re a fan of the more tropical flavours. This type of beer tends to delve more into the tropical notes than any other beer, but doing it right is a whole other story. Luckily, KAIJU know what’s up – we can’t think of a better beer to answer long, balmy days by the beach with its super-clean malt profile and juicy tropical fruit flavours.

Type: Pale Ale
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.4
Alcohol volume: 4.7%
State: Victoria
Awards: Gold – Best Australian Style Pale Ale – Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) 2018, Silver Medal – AIBA best Australian-Style Pale Ale 2021.

Buy it here (KAIJU) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales hawkes patio pale

Image: Hawke’s Brewing

4. Hawke’s Patio Pale

A slightly heavier beer with a similar tropical flavour, Hawke’s Brewing favours tradition and authentic taste over unnecessary complexity. We love this beer for its luscious, tropical style with hints of lychee, stone fruit and citrus that’s extremely easy to drink, perfect for first-timers who like sweeter flavours. The lightly toasted malt and gentle bitterness deliver a clean as ever ‘ahh’ finish with every sip.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.5%
State: New South Wales
Awards: 2018 AIBA Gold “American Style Pale Ale” and 2022 AIBA Gold (Best International-Style Pale Ale).

Buy it here (Hawkes) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales white bay sunny

Image: White Bay

5. White Bay Sunny Hazy Pale Ale

Heralding from the harbourside shores of Sydney’s Balmain, White Bay has one of the best hazy pale ales in the country. We love this unfiltered beer for its generous whirlpool hop additions and dry hop which gives the beer a fruity, tropical and passionfruit character. The epitome of the modern Australian hazy beer, Sunny can’t put a foot wrong in our eyes.

Type: Pale Ale
Size: 355mL
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.5%
State: New South Wales

Buy it here (White Bay) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales your mates larry

Image: Your Mates

6. Your Mates Larry Pale Ale

It would be rude not to look at the top vote-getters in the GABS Hottest 100 beers when putting together this list of the best pale ales and coming in at is Your Mates ‘Larry’ Pale Ale. We love this beer for its summer-loving, party shirt frothing flavours – think pineapple and mango with this cracking beer.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.5%
State: Queensland

Buy it here (Your Mates Brewing) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales ballistic hawaiian haze

Image: Ballistic Beer Co.

7. Ballistic Beer Co. Hawaiian Haze

If you’re looking for a fresh beer bursting with flavour, Hawaiian Haze from Ballistic Beer Co. is the one for you. The hop-driven flavour explosion is characterised by tropical fruity punch tastes and aromas, with a fluffy mouthfeel and clean finish. Malts used included oats and rolled wheat, adding a fullness to the body and building up just the right amount of haze.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.4
Alcohol volume: 4.6%
State: Queensland

Buy it here (Ballistic Beer) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales coopers pale ale

Image: Coopers

8. Coopers Original Pale Ale

A list of the best pale ales wouldn’t be complete without one of the ‘originals’ from the infamous Coopers brewery. This mob’s pale ale is the iconic green can you always seem to see around, which isn’t surprising due to how good this beer is – classic, hoppy and naturally conditioned in the bottle, can or keg, which produces the trademark sediment that gives this ale a distinctive, fine cloudy appearance and unforgettable taste.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.5%
State: South Australia
Awards: Gold Medal – AIBA best Australian-Style Pale Ale 2021

Buy it here (Coopers) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales kol schisel

Image: Big Shed Brewing

9. Big Shed Brewing Kol Schisel

We think this is an ale masquerading as a lager because this pale ale is so easy to drink and the perfect introduction for those not yet sure that they’re into ‘craft’ beers. The beer encapsulates subtle bready, malt flavours backed up with hop spiciness. The perfect mid-week drink when you feel like sinking a few after work, you can’t go wrong with the Kol Schisel.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.5%
State: South Australia

Buy it here (Big Shed) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales bentspoke barley griffin

Image: Bentspoke Barley Griffin

10. Bentspoke Barley Griffin

With plenty of awards up its belt, Bentspoke Barley Griffin is one of the best pale ales out right now. The beer is a mild cloudy Australian Pale Ale known for its soft fruity aromas and light biscuity malt which leaves a nice light mouth feel. We love Barley Griffin for its easy-drinking nature that’s perfect for a hot summer’s day.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.2
Alcohol volume: 4.2%
State: ACT
Awards: Australian International Beer Awards 2021 – Gold (Australian Style Pale Ale) GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers 2020 – #10 The International Brewing Awards – Gold & Champion (2019), Gold (2017).

Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s) Buy it here (Beer Cartel)

Best pale ales bridge road brewers

Image: Bridge Road

11. Bridge Road Beechworth Pale Ale

It’s not just NSW that produces some kick-ass pale ales, with this entry from Victorian brewery, Bridge Road Brewers. First brewed in 2005, Bridge Road Beechworth has earned its reputation as an ‘Aussie Craft Classic’. The beer is the perfect balance between hops and malt with low bitterness and a smooth, clean finish that hits the spot, every time.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 355mL
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.8%
State: Victoria

Buy it here (Bridge Road) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Best pale ales pirate life south coast

Image: Pirate Life

12. Pirate Life South Coast Pale Ale

Capturing the laid-back spirit of the South Coast, this beer is simple, genuine and plain delicious, without any extra thrills. The bright yellow beer is fruity, citrusy and truly tastes like a summer arvo on the beach, sandy and salty and just plain good. It’s light-bodied, crisp, and as fresh as ever.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 355mL
Standard drinks: 1.2
Alcohol volume: 4.4%
State: South Australia
Awards: Silver Medal – AIBA best Australian-Style Pale Ale 2021

Buy it here (Pirate Life) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Spotty dog california haze

Image: Spotty Dog Brewing

13. Spotty Dog Brewers California Haze

Ever tried Tasmanian hops? Well, we recommend Spotty Dog Brewers California Haze if you’re hoping to! The beer is an all-time fave of Hobart locals and visitors to the city, the tropical beer is refreshing and full of summer vibes no matter the weather, featuring local Tasmanian hops, along with some worthy US counterparts.

Type: Craft Beer
State: Tasmania

Buy it here (Spotty Dog)

Black hops south coast haze

Image: Black Hops

14. Black Hops East Coast Haze

Another delicious hazy pale ale to add to the list, Black Hops knows just how to hit the spot when it comes to a refined, textured hazy beer for Aussie summers. The beer is freshly hopped with Mosaic, Amarillo and Eclipse to inspire your senses with notes of tropical fruit and citrus – these vibes make us want to crack one open just at the sound of them!

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.5%
State: Queensland
Awards: AIBA Silver Medal 2021

Buy it here (Black Hops) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Brick lane one love

Image: Brick Lane

15. Brick Lane One Love Pale Ale

One of the best pale ales you can get your hands on is the aptly named, One Love. The beer is a soft-bodied beer bursting with bright hop aromas and stone fruit, passionfruit and citrus flavours. Upon pouring the beer you will be met with a golden stream of goodness, with a delicate haze from malted and flaked wheat in the brew. If this isn’t enough to get you drooling, the beer has also won countless awards, taking out gold in the World Beer Awards in 2021, among others.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 355mL
Standard drinks: 1.2
Alcohol volume: 4.4%
State: Victoria
Awards: Gold Medal – AIBA 2021 Gold Medal – World Beer Awards 2021

Buy it here (Brick Lane Brewing) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Little creatures

Image: Little Creatures

16. Little Creatures Pale Ale

It’s not every day you come across a pale ale brimming with flavours of burnt toffee and nectarine, which is why Little Creatures beer is one of our favourites. The unique flavoured beer is dominated by hops and is full-bodied yet somehow still as refreshing as ever with a bitter finish that leaves you craving another can.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 330mL
Standard drinks: 1.4
Alcohol volume: 5.2%
State: Western Australia

Buy it here (Little Creatures) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Modus operandi

Image: Modus

17. Modus Operandi Pale Ale

From Sydney’s Northern Beaches comes this classic Aussie pale ale from Modus Brewery. The beer is everything you’d expect from a Modus beer, with no thrills attached. We love the aromatics of lush pine and vibrant citrus which are balanced with a delicate blend.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.5
Alcohol volume: 5.2%
State: New South Wales
Awards: GOLD – Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show

Buy it here (Modus) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Moon dog old mate

Image: Moon Dog

18. Moon Dog Old Mate

For easy drinking and a lighter pale ale that you could have with lunch on your break at work, we recommend the Moon Dog Old Mate. The delicious beer is jam-packed with Centennial and Azacca hops which makes it flavoursome but refined enough for a smooth, easy-down-the-hatch taste.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 330mL
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.5%
Country: Australia
Awards: Silver Medal – AIBA best New World-Style Pale Ale 2021.

Buy it here (Moon Dog) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Black flag rage juice

Image: Black Flag

19. Blackflag Brewing Rage Juicy Pale

If you’re looking for something a bit stronger than your regular pale ale, this is the beer for you. Blackflag Brewing brings you their rage juicy pale, 6% of pure hops goodness. The hops in this beer are all-American, featuring Eldorado, Azacca and Citra hops which combine to create a juicy, unforgettable beer.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Alcohol volume: 6%
State: Queensland

Buy it here (Blackflag Brewing) Buy it here (Beer Dealer)

Green beacon wayfarer tropical

Image: Green Beacon

20. Green Beacon Wayfarer Tropical Pale Ale

This beer is all about encapsulating that hot, sweaty Queensland summer and we must say, it hits the spot. The beer has a naturally hazy appearance, reminiscent of that golden hour glow and we love it for the tropical aromas of lychee, melon, and passion fruit. The fruit flavours are combined with a smooth body, low bitterness, and a refreshing finish.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.5
Alcohol volume: 4.9%
State: Queensland
Awards: 2021 AIBA Gold

Buy it here (Green Beacon) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Stomping ground brewing gipps st

Image: Stomping Ground

21. Stomping Ground Gipps St Pale Ale

We simply can’t say no to this quintessential tropical beer from Stomping Ground. The American-style pale ale is full of tropical, pine and tangerine flavours and at 5.2%, is guaranteed to quash the stress of the day in just one can. If you’re looking for the best pale ale with a stronger flavour profile, check this out.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 355mL
Standard drinks: 1.5
Alcohol volume: 5.2%
State: Victoria
Awards: Silver Medal – Australian International Beer Awards 2017

Buy it here (Stomping Ground) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

Coastal brewing co resilience pale ale

Image: Coastal Brewing Co.

22. The Coastal Brewing Co. Resilience Pale Ale

One of the best beers from one of Australia’s younger brewers, Resilience Pale Ale is an Australian Style Pale Ale that pays dues to the service men and women of the local RFS – 5% of our profits are donated to the local RFS. The beer is refreshing, light and dangerously easy to drink – we recommend taking a six-pack with you down to the beach as one won’t be enough.

Type: Australian Pale Ale
Size: 375mL
Alcohol volume: 5%
State: New South Wales

Buy it here (The Coastal Brewing Co.) Buy it here (Beer Cartel)

Capital brewing trail pale

Image: Capital Brewing

23. Capital Trail Pale Ale

We have no doubt you’ve seen this pale ale floating around pubs and bottle shops everywhere, and it’s no secret why. The beer is delicious and hits all the right spots – an American pale ale bursting with pine and citrus flavours. We love this beer for its well-balanced malt profile and smooth hop bitterness.

Type: Craft Beer
Size: 375mL
Standard drinks: 1.4
Alcohol volume: 4.7%
State: ACT
Awards: No. 27 Hottest 100 2018

Buy it here (Capital Brewing) Buy it here (Dan Murphy’s)

What is a Pale Ale?

Before you dive too deep into the best pale ales on earth, it’s worth taking stock of what the delicious golden elixir really is. Put simply, a pale ale is an amber-coloured beer style brewed with pale malt. While in recent times, craft beer lovers have seriously turned the screws on what you can actually do within that space, the term pale ale has actually been around for centuries. According to Mitch Steele’s 2013 publication, IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale, the first advertisements for pale ales started appearing in the Calcutta Gazette as early as 1784, describing the beer as a “light and excellent” pale ale. Importantly, brewing practices and hop quantities have changed over the years, producing a range of tastes and strengths within the pale ale family.

Types of Pale Ale

While there are a number of different types of pale ale style beers, from Scotch Ale to Australian Pale, we’re honing in on the key pieces., diluting it down to the top three.

  • Amber Ale – An emerging term used in Australia, Amber Ale is a popular term for pale ales in France, Belgium and the Netherlands and North America. The style is typically reserved for beers brewed with a proportion of amber malt to produce a darker colour ranging from light copper to light brown.
  • American Pale Ale – Significantly hoppier than most, American Pale Ales generally use American two row malt, helping to distinguish it from a British or European pale ale. According to Marty Nachel’s Homebrewing For Dummies, the style is close to amber ale, though these are darker and maltier.
  • India pale ale (IPA) – Light gold to reddish amber in colour, this style of pale ale was developed in England for export to India. According to reports, the first known use of the expression “India pale ale” arrived via an advertisement in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser way back in August 1829.

General FAQs

What is a hazy pale ale?

A hazy pale ale has a cloudy appearance and has a more full-bodied flavour.

Why are pale ales so popular?

Pale ales are a popular choice because they are refreshing and inviting, made for the regular palette.

What’s the difference between a pale ale and IPA?

An IPA is an Indian Pale Ale, a beer with a high amount of hops, which differs to a pale ale, which is a type of beer that is brewed with mostly pale malts for a more equal malt-to-hop ratio.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Aimee O'Keefe

Aimee O’Keefe is a Sydney-based freelance writer with a background in fashion, entertainment and technology coverage. She completed a Bachelor's degree in Media and Communications at the University of Sydney and has previously worked with Universal Magazines and the Ministry of Style. She currently works as Content Writer for a leading digital marketing agency.