Golden Ales actually have many lager characteristics, like a clean crisp flavor, light color and good balance between hops and malt.
Malt base is primarily American pale ale malt, which is the base of most ales in the US. Some use malted wheat, which is also light in color and adds to the crispness and head retention.
These brews also exhibit a thin malt sweetness, but nothing too dominant and nothing too sweet or caramel-like.
Alcohol is moderate; ranging from four to five percent alcohol by volume, though some examples can contain a bit more.
Color is typically pale straw to gold, very bright and clear, and capped with a pure white head.
Bitterness should at least balance if not have a spicy and/or citric bite to it. A nice, dry finish is the last trait of this kind of ale.