Although all of these sub-styles are quite similar in their flavour profiles and brewing methods, some subtle differences do emerge, making it possible to distinguish between them.
For more on the technicalities of this style as a whole, consider this useful guide.
Brewers of American pale ales utilise American hops to influence the flavour profile of their beers, often resulting in pale ales with moderate to high levels of hoppy bitterness and fruitiness that balances with the low to only moderate levels of malt character, which imparts subtle hints of toast and caramel flavour.
These beers will almost always present as medium in their body and possessing of distinct amounts of citrus fruit and fresh pine flavours and aromas from the American hops used.
The fondness of American brewers for accentuating the hop over the malt profile results in pale ales that are typically best paired with juicy steaks or other roasted or grilled meat dishes, beef burgers, or if looking to pair with desserts, apple pie.