Named more for their color than any narrowly defined flavor profile, American Amber and Red ales reflect a range of interpretations by craft brewers. Ranging in color from light amber to dark amber or red and even copper to light brown, some American Amber or Red Ales have a malt-forward aroma and flavor, while others have a more balanced malt and hop profile. A few others are on the hoppy side. Evolved from American Pale Ale, this style has a darker color and generally a greater malt emphasis of caramel and other malt flavors, balanced by American hop varietals often imparting citrusy traits. Low-to-medium fruity esters make way for a smooth or crisp mouth-feel. Initially gaining popularity in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, it was known more as “red ale,” the two words often used in the beer’s name by brewers in this region. As the style’s popularity spread across the country, more brewers began making their own interpretations, with some calling it “amber,” and this name caught on. Continuing the evolution, craft brewers have taken the American Amber/Red Ale and pushed the envelope of hop bitterness, aroma and flavor, thus “doubling” or “imperializing” it into American Double / Imperial Red Ale. This also increases ABV significantly to the 7.5-10.5 percent range, thus qualifying these “imperial reds” for the Strong Ale category.