The Amber Ale is quite popular in America. It’s definitely not spoken about as much as IPAs, but it’s a good substitute if you are looking for more of a dark and caramelized body than a Pale Ale.
Even though Amber Ale’s ancestor is the English Bitter, it became popular in Northern California. According to BJCP, “Known simply as Red Ales in some regions, these beers were popularized in the hop-loving Northern California and the Pacific Northwest areas before spreading nationwide.” While Pale Ales were becoming popular for their hoppy taste, the Amber Ale was a more malty and medium caramelized taste. These tastes were so distinct, because of the roasted crystal malts used to brew.
The Amber Ale has a distinct color to it, ranging from a light brown to a full amber color. It usually is quite clear, hence why it looks very similar to a Pale Ale. Although the maltiness is strong in the Amber Ale, it still has a medium-to-high hoppiness profile. Since the malt is strong, it hides the hop taste. The malt gives a sweet maltiness for taste, but a finish of bitter hoppiness and caramel taste. The ABV of Amber Ale falls between 4.5 to 6.2%.