Ales are distinguished from lagers by the type of yeast used and the temperature of the fermentation process. Ale yeasts are usually called "top-fermenting yeasts" because they rise to the top during fermentation, creating a thick head on the beer. The whole process takes place at a warmer temperature than that used to make lagers and falls somewhere around the typical room temperature. The temperature produces a beer that is fruity and full-bodied. Food & Wine's guide to this popular beer offers our list of our favorite brands, tons of ale-centric recipes and any ale-related news.

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Editor's Picks: 5 New England IPAs
New England India Pale Ale is the beer of the year. 
6 IPAs You Should Be Drinking Right Now
Summer is fast approaching and outdoor drinking season is finally here, along with all the usual suspects: Margaritas, Daiquiris, Champagne and, of course, super drinkable beer. Usually that means an ice-cold Corona or Bud Light. But there’s a trend right now that leans toward super-drinkable styles of hoppy beers, aka session IPAs.This style melds together hoppy IPAs (India Pale Ale) and mild session beers to create an unexpectedly easy-going brew. The typical IPA has an intensely bitter flavor that comes from the addition of hop flowers. It usually falls somewhere within 5.5 to 7.5 percent ABV, while session beers fall below 5 percent ABV. The result? A flavor-packed beer at a “sessionable” level of alcohol—meaning you can drink it all day long.Whether you’re a craft beer pro that simply wants to tone it down for the oncoming hot weather or someone who wants to move beyond lighter brews to something more floral and flavorful, the session IPA is a great choice. Plus, there are dozens of breweries getting in on the sessionable hopped action. When Sam Adams has one, you know it’s a big deal, right?The hop factor and drinkability of each the beers below are rated on a five-point scale: one being the lowest; five the highest. We did the work; you reap the beer-y benefits.This article originally appeared on