What is beeriety? Isnít beer just beer?
Named after the main ingredient, wheat beer is brewed with a large portion of wheat grains. However, significant amounts of barley are also used in wheat brews. Typically milder in flavor, wheat beers are quite enjoyable – especially in the summer months when a full-flavored beer might get in the way of thirst-quenching. Wheat beers are mostly top-fermented, hence “ales”.
The famous Pilsner takes its name from a little town in Germany named Pilsen, in the Czech province of Bohemia. Pilsner Urquell, meaning original is a classic representation, as many others have changed the interpretation and watered down the beers original good reputation. Classic pilsners are noted by their flowery aroma and dry finish. Pilsners are golden in color and are a lager (bottom-fermented) beer.
Generally a good balance of both malt and hops. These beers are very popular in both England and the U.S. Originally a British style beer, it has fruity esters. Bitterness factor can range from slightly floral to pungent. English versions tend to be maltier, buttery, aromatic and balanced, while American versions are hoppier.
Originating from the British Empire, when original pales were transported to the India. These stronger versions are hoppier with a higher-than-normal alcohol content that originally was used to increase shelf life for the long journey. Colors range from pale golden to a red amber. The high hop content gives this brew an herbal, citrusy character with a strong bitterness. A moderate to medium bodied beer.
Colors range from amber to deep red for this category of beer, and its taste is typically more malt heavy, although hop is sometimes significant as well. Red or Amber is generally used to describe any beer that is not either golden in color or falls short of a Dark Ale in color. These beers are well balanced with a light fruitiness and noticeable toasted malt flavors.
Browns, nut browns, and Scotch ales range from a dark brown to deep amber in color. Their color and flavor come traditionally from a process of long boiling in a kettle. This long boiling process produced the caramelization of the wort. The resulting flavors are caramel/chocolatey in nature. Some also have a tea-like bitterness.
Typically a very balanced brew with a burnt flavor. Also the most common beer choice for coffee lovers. American brewers often add some combination of smoked malt, coffee, and/or chocolate to compliment the flavor. Some are even aged in Bourbon or whiskey barrels for added flavor.
The dark lord. This beer is top-fermented and brewed with dark roasted malt. Typically divided between Sweet or Milk Stout and Plain old Stout or Dry Stout. A sweet stout or milk stout has a lower alcohol content and is a more balanced flavor – offsetting the roasted flavor with lactose. Dry stout or simply, stout, is a slightly higher alcohol content and contains no lactose to offset it’s full-bodied flavor. Often described as coffee tasting, Guinness is the prime example of dry Stout.
In the states, when we think Lambic, we traditionally think of fruit-flavored beers. Traditionally, Lambic is a beer brewed only in the Pajottenland region of Belgium. This special brew is fermented not through cultured brewer’s yeast, but through wild strains of wild yeast and bacteria that are prevalent in that region and cause spontaneous fermentation as the mixture is left exposed to the air. This process gives the beer a distinctive taste that is quite dry, with a sour aftertaste. The more prevalent version is typically flavored with natural or artificial fruit flavors and may use a different type of beer as the basis. Hoppiness and alcohol content are also reduced to make room for the fruity flavor.