Going into your local pub and ordering a beer is getting harder and harder, the choice of types and styles of beers now available is staggering. There are different types of real ales, craft beers, exotic bottled beers, keg beers, the list is endless. It is now possible to go to a tavern in New York and order an English Bitter, by the same token you can order a bottle of Mexican Lager in a bar in Bangkok, and so forth. This blog tries to inform of what different brews there are and their styles.
Ales are brewed with a top fermenting yeast at cellar temperature, they are normally full-bodied, and have a hoppy flavor. They can contain flavors of fruit and malt and include: Bitters, Pale Ales, Mild, Brown, etc. Ales are normally darker in color than lagers, they have a bigger personality than most lagers but their strength is often the same.
The word lager comes from the German lagern which means “to store”, and this refers to the method used in storing this type of beer. The top German lagers are stored at near-freezing temperatures which produces a clear, crisp type of beer that is very refreshing. Lager is now the world’s favorite beer. Most lagers are bottom-fermented, especially the classic German, Dutch and Czech ones. Most have a pale color with plenty of carbonation with a very gentle hoppy flavor.
Stouts & Porters
There is not much difference between a stout and a porter, a porter is nearly black in color and is an ale. It is brewed using roasted malt that imparts both color and taste. A stout is not as sweet to the taste, it has a rich and creamy head and is brewed using barley.
Not very common these days, malt beer are sweet with caramel, nutty and toffee taste, they range from full to light bodied in strength. As well as these four general types of beers there are several styles that can be attributed to one or more type.
Beer styles can include: brown, amber, blonde, dark, cream, golden, fruit, honey, India-pale ale, lime, light, red, pale, pilsner, wheat and strong.
- Brown – a dark beer, with hints of chocolate and caramel, can also be nutty or malty.
- Amber – a really versatile beer, normally full-bodied and can be an ale or lager.
- Blonde – ales that tend to be crisp and very light in color, with low bitterness and quite hoppy.
- Dark – a typical English type of beer, with hops, yeast and very malty.
- Cream – a mild, sweet and golden beer.
- Golden – another English beer, straw colored with a vanilla aftertaste.
- Fruit – nearly all beers are ales, and in order to taste the fruit flavoring the malt is only a background flavor. Belgium is a fine exponent of making these beers.
- Honey – very full bodied, creamy with a copper type of color, slightly sweet with caramel overtones.
- India-pale ale – first brewed in Britain with added hops to survive the trip to India.
- Lime – not very common, with a lime finish that can be intense.
- Light – low strength and calories, pretty low in flavor also.
- Red – quite heavy and very hoppy beer with hints of caramel.
- Pale – another English beer, very light in color but robust.
- Pilsner – golden in color and similar to lager with a crisp, dry finish.
- Wheat – originated in Belgium, a light sometimes cloudy beer, a soft and easy beer to drink.
- Strong – a broad category, includes any beer over 7% ABV.
Whatever your particular favorite there is plenty to enjoy in the simple pint, perhaps try to be more adventurous and try some different types and styles that are listed here.