I missed my open thread last week, which is probably fine--there are more weeks in the year than styles. Since most of the country is melting in the sun's vicious heat, let's try a nice, summery beer: pale ales. (For those new to the blog, these open threads are a way for met to hone in on some of the best examples of styles as selected by you--all in the service of a book I'm slowly writing.) The guidelines are the same: The beers need to be great examples to illustrate the style (and delicious), but also need to be relatively available to people who will read the book, and at least some of the beers have to be available in every region of the country. Finally, they should be regular, established beers that will still be in production when the book comes out.
In terms of pales, I'd like the classics for style--both in the US and abroad--but I'm not averse to a little improvisation. As I look at the state of pale ales, I see some evolution beyond the usual pale-with-a-dash-of-caramel-malt-and-Cascade-hopping versions. Exotic hops and the occasional fun ingredient, like passion fruit in Kona's Wailua Wheat. (I've got a few already in the pool of potentials, including Sierra Nevada and Mirror Pond).