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The other day I ordered an Eagle Rock Brewery XPA on tap. At the time, I had no idea what that was, but according to the brewer's site:

Extra Pale Ale (XPA) is a variation of American pale ale – bright and refreshing with a substantial hop presence.

I'm guessing the thing that is "extra" is the paleness. To my (very) untrained palate, it tasted pretty much like any other IPA/APA I've ordered. Maybe it was a bit more bitter though?

Is there any standard that differentiates an XPA from other American pale ales?

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Is there any standard that differentiates an XPA from other American pale ales?

Currently, no.

According to the latest Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines (the drafted 2015 style guide http://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf), there is no category of XPA or Extra Pale Ale.

Stylistically, depending on the malt bill used, one would place the beer in either an American Pale Ale or IPA category, though most 'sub styles' the BJCP wants to have in the 21B. Specialty IPA category. If it was heavy in British malts, perhaps even an English IPA.

This doesn't mean, however, that a brewery can't just make up whatever they feel like to call their beer, which is what I believe is happening there. XPA sounds cool, new, and interesting.

The idea of the style has been around for a few years, at least back to 2013 as referenced by this HomeBrewTalk forum post. Even then there were debates as to the meaning of this style... and it still hasn't become anything of note.

  • Looking at the HomeBrewTalk post, it looks like there's no consensus on what's "extra" abou an XPA. – Jon Ericson Sep 11 '15 at 15:38

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