Sydney’s American Pale Ales


Sydneysiders are spoiled for choice when it comes to locally brewed, hop-forward American-style pale ales.

Sydney's American Pale Ales

The Aussie pale ale is a classic style. With a combination of earthy and lightly floral hops, subdued carbonation and immense drinkability, it’s stood the test of time.

But the American style pale ale has driven the evolution of craft beer around the world. And it’s clearly inspired Aussie brewers.

Sitting down to think about Sydney’s best pale ales, the realisation soon hits that most are firmly in the American style. Slightly higher ABV, a touch more carbonation and bitterness and bold aroma hops showcasing citrus and pine feature in all of them.

So here are six Sydney pale ales that could all have come from the US but are brewed locally and best enjoyed as fresh as possible.

Shenanigans Winston

Winston is one of the best pale ales being made in Sydney and it’s incredibly American in its style. It has a bold aroma and tropical fruit punch hop flavours and a relatively large 5.6% ABV.

It has an assertive bitterness and it’s become such a favourite among Sydney’s craft beer drinkers that it can frequently be found tasting fresh and delicious at bars such as Bitter Phew.

Modus Pale Ale

Modus Operandi Modus Pale Ale

Modus Operandi’s flagship pale ale is available in 500ml cans but it’s best tasted super fresh at the brewery bar. It’s dry-hopped with Simcoe and you’ll want to experience all those aromas while they’re still fresh and pungent.

Aside from the use of Simcoe, Modus Operandi have clearly being influenced by American craft beer culture. Touring round breweries and picking up a head brewer before setting up in Mona Vale, hoppy American beers played a part in the genesis of this popular brewery and their signature pale ale.

Akasha Freshwater Pale Ale

Akasha head brewer, Dave Padden, is open about how he’s inspired by hoppy American beers. When he started Akasha, it was obvious that hop-forward beers were going to be the style they leaned towards. Their approachable Freshwater Pale Ale is packed full of aroma and it’s about as refreshing a pale ale as you’ll get in Sydney.

It’s one to drink by the pint in summer from either the cellar door or pubs such as The Duck Inn.

Rocks Hangman

A contender for the most improved beer in Sydney. Hangman Pale Ale from Rocks Brewing used to be a passable but fairly middle of the road pale ale, somewhere between the Australian and American interpretations. Now it’s a bright and citrusy pale ale that is great for a session.

This pours frequently at The Little Guy in Glebe but it’s also worth trying at the brewery bar in Alexandria.

4 Pines Pale Ale

4 Pines Pale Ale

With Citra and Cascade in the hop-bill, this classic Sydney pale ale from 4 Pines is clearly inspired by American beers. It’s darker in colour that the other pale ales here but its popularity can’t be denied.

It can be found in pubs all over Sydney and in package even further afield. If you want it super fresh, head to the the Manly brewpub or Brookvale brewery bar.

Batch American Pale Ale

It’s no surprise that two Americans would be influenced by American craft beer but there we go. The American Pale Ale is one of their core beers, alongside with the equally star-spangled West Coast IPA.

Both beers are approachable yet packed full of flavour. The Batch boys know what tickles the Aussie beer drinker and they brewed this up to be a consistent go-to pale ale with forceful orange flavours and aggressive bitterness.

Do you have a favourite American Pale Ale that’s brewed locally in Sydney? Or have I missed one? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.