Etym: [AS. ealu, akin to Icel., Sw., and Dan. Ã¶l, Lith. alus a kind of beer, OSlav. ol beer. Cf. Ir. ol drink, drinking.]
1 An intoxicating liquor made from an infusion of malt by fermentation and the addition of a bitter, usually hops.
Note: The word ale, in England and the United States, usually designates a heavier kind of fermented liquor, and the word beer a lighter kind. The word beer is also in common use as the generic name for all malt liquors.
2 A festival in English country places, so called from the liquor drunk. “At wakes and ales.” B. Jonson.”On ember eves and holy ales.” Shak.