Essential Info

  • Color: Pale yellow to light gold
  • ABV: 4%-6%
  • Commercial Examples: Sun King Brewing Co. Sunlight Cream Ale, Genessee Brewing Co. Genessee Cream Ale, Sixpoint Sweet Action

“Cream ale” may sound like something a frat guy made one night with some leftover beer and ice cream—and maybe it is, somewhere—but the style Cream Ale actually refers to an American ale first produced by brewers to compete with the incredible popularity of the lager style brought over from Germany. The idea was to co-opt some aspects of lager brewing style, which might include yeast or cold-lagering (storing), in conjunction with adjunct grains like corn, to produce something comparable to the moderately hopped, moderately malted, clean lager style that was (and still is) sweeping the nation. Not as prevalent a style today, and more common in the Northeast and Midwest, but it’s an interesting component of beer history—not to mention one of the only truly American beer styles.