Cream Ale was one of the few indigenous American beer styles to have survived Prohibition, due in part to its popularity in Canada. Thanks, Canadians! Its name is still a problem, due to the popularity of Cream Soda. At any given point in time there's probably some idiot out there trying to brew a Vanilla Cream Ale based on the name alone - give it up, dude. Tell yourself it's really a pale lager and move on.
After trying a Cream Ale brewed by the Brown Bros., I decided to give it a try. The grist for a cream ale can include a mixture of six-row American pale barley malt and corn adjuncts. I went with two-row and grits. For me the quintessential Cream Ale is Genesee, AKA Genny Cream. Their motto, "While other beers went light and low carb and metrosexual, Genesee Cream Ale bided its time and waited for the world to come to its senses again." The west coast champ is Kiwanda Cream from Pelican. Darron Welch, the head brewer at Pelican provided the recipe in an old issue of BYO.
I went a little different direction (more along the lines of the Brown Bros. beer Hallertauer hops and no specialty malt) and it came out tasty. I brewed it two weeks ago, kegged it two days ago, and I'm drinking it today because I had nothing else on tap. I've never tried a beer this young before, but it's super-drinkable. Despite high attenuation (FG: 1.0005) the taste has a sweet quality. It hasn't cleared entirely yet, but we're getting there. There's a little vegetable quality in the hops, which I hope will drop out as the beer clears up, but otherwise - good stuff!