Definition of ale in English:



North American
  • 1A type of beer with a bitter flavor and higher alcoholic content.

    ‘amber-colored beers, ales, and stouts’
    • ‘German wheat beers and many Belgian ales are spicy.’
    • ‘The bitter ale slid down his throat, making him cough and sputter.’
    • ‘Melvin watched, waiting for her to show some sign of shock at the bitter ale, but nothing came.’
    • ‘Out of all the beers, ales and other forms of alcohol they all drank, no one liked Guinness that much.’
    • ‘They don't have the depth of flavor that the ales do.’
    • ‘Tiredly, he pulled another leather-bound book close, the other hand stretching towards the mug of bitter watered-down ale.’
    • ‘In that region, Higgins Restaurant in Portland is already nationally known for promoting fine local beers and Belgian ales along with its regional cuisine.’
    • ‘Agnes shuddered inwardly at the memory of the strange, bitter taste ale had.’
    • ‘The tavern's ale may be bitter and stale, but it is extremely strong.’
    • ‘Gael recites an original ballad about the local bitter ale, which requires everyone to join in on the chorus.’
    • ‘With beers, stouts and ales of such quality on tap all weekend, the visitors may well have had a few pointers for the organisers of the Munich festival.’
    • ‘Whether tinged with fruity aromas or floral hops, the dry quality of these Abbey beers and strong ales is an ideal way to wake up the palate and promotes the appetite.’
    • ‘The headnote would have had to explain how everyone drank beer or ale then because no one drank water.’
    • ‘First, of course, there's the whole gamut of ciders, ales and designer beers to work your way through.’
    • ‘Excise was first levied in 1643 to finance the parliamentary armies in the English Civil War and was a tax on alcoholic beverages, mainly beer and ale.’
    • ‘Mead has become the bastard son of wines, often ignored when it comes to the more flashy grape wines and aggressive beers and ales that are out there.’
    • ‘Barrels of ale and other alcoholic beverages surrounded her.’
    • ‘Social drinks included the famous Thai ‘mekhong’ whiskey, French kir and white wine, Singapore's Tiger beer and Australian ales.’
    • ‘We have bitters, pale ales, ESB, stout, the whole range.’
    • ‘Hops introduced from Europe in the 16th cent. gave longer life and greater variety of flavours to ales frequently known as beers.’
    1. 1.1British Beer.
      • ‘The Lord Mayor and the Sheriff of York toured the city on Saturday testing the quality of ales, along with members of the Guild.’
      • ‘On Wednesday you can have just that at The Savoy Beer Festival, where more than 30 guest ales will be on offer.’
      • ‘As the Town Hall celebrates the best of British beer there will be an extensive selection of ales from local breweries including a special Festival Beer.’
      • ‘With over 450 ales from around 200 British brewers on show, not to mention the numerous ciders, perries and overseas beers also available to sample, there was a fair bit of choice to say the least.’
      • ‘But the Finns seem to dig it - it's got decent ales and a blackjack table.’
      • ‘And it coincides with the opening at London Olympia of the Great British Beer Festival, a celebration of ales produced by independent UK breweries.’
      • ‘As well as the large complement of British ales, he intends to bring in more foreign beers and ten wines.’
      • ‘A visit to JD Wetherspoon pubs in the Bradford area could soon result in customers washing their mouths out with soap and water instead of their cheap ales.’
      • ‘Our friends at the York Beer and Wine Shop don't have it, and it left Tesco's shelves when the supermarket purged itself of local ales.’
      • ‘It has quickly established a reputation for good service, well-kept ales and freshly-cooked quality food.’
      • ‘The couple have launched a range of ales over the past 12 months and this year they have created a special range with an astrological theme.’
      • ‘Drummonds, Cameron's Inn and The Town School House are all friendly and busy, offering ales at very reasonable prices.’
      • ‘Since it was opened by Jim and Eric Boyd, who recently moved on, the York Beer & Wine Shop has brought the best in British and worldwide bottled ales to a grateful city.’
      • ‘So many people just drink what's stuck in front of them but this is a great opportunity to sample many extremely good ales.’
      • ‘The intention is we'll have six hand-pulled ales, four of our own including Stonewall and Yorkshire Terrier, and two guest beers.’
      • ‘There is a revolving selection of Scottish cask ales (all of them superb), and the likes of Leffe and Hoegaarden on draught to keep lovers of Belgian beer happy.’
      • ‘Becoming the official beer of the Yorkshire Dales National Park seems to be the perfect match of ales and dales.’
      • ‘As well as ensuring that the ales are served in first-class condition, beer buffs from the organisation will be on hand to answer questions about the brews and their distinctive qualities.’
      • ‘The pub only has five pumps so the cellar manager has carefully planned a contrasting presentation of ales on a daily-changing basis.’
      • ‘Highly recommended - an excellent wee pub, very comfortable, very friendly, and some damn good ales floating around.’


Old English alu, ealu, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse ǫl. Formerly the word referred especially to unhopped or paler-colored varieties of beer.