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What about Beer Styles?

What is a beer style? Simply put a beer style is a label given to a beer that describes its overall character and often times its origin. It's a name badge that has been achieved over many centuries of brewing, trial and error, marketing, and branding and consumer acceptance.

 

Typical Beer Styles:

Indian Pale Ale
India pale ale was developed as a high-gravity, well-hopped brew, which enabled it to last the voyage from England’s breweries to overseas locales (thus its name).


Brown Ale
Brown ale is a traditional British, top-fermented ale, similar to a pale ale, but sweeter and darker.


Barleywine
Barleywine is a very dark, almost opaque ale. The term "barleywine" is a fairly new -- once called "Strong Ale," this is the most alcoholic style of beer. The addition of a healthy amount of hops forms a powerful flavor triad of sweet malt, bitter hops and warm alcohol.


Wheat Beer
This top-fermented beer contains more than half wheat. Hallertau hops are used for both bittering and aroma. Lager yeast is used and the beer is allowed to lager for approximately two to three weeks at just below freezing temperatures.


Lambic
Typically served in a champagne flute, this beer is usually sold in 750 ml bottles. Lindeman's Kriek, a good example of the style, is a top-fermented cherry flavored Lambic (70 per cent malted barley and 30 per cent unmalted wheat), with a rose color. It has an aroma of cherries and is sparkling, with a dry finish. The acidic flavor of the Lambic blends well with the cherry flavor.


Trappist Dark
Brown with a ruby hue, three types of Trappist beers are produced by Chimay: Premier Chimay (red), Cinq Cents (white), and Grand Reserve (blue). The red, as well as the blue, has a fruity taste, with a soft, full, deep body. The white Chimay has a stronger hops flavor and a drier finish, with a quenching hint of acidity. It also has a paler color, more amber than ruby red.


Octoberfest
A fairly strong beer, Paulaner Marzen’s brew starts with a two-mash process using dark- and light- colored brewing malt from two-row Bavarian summer barley. Hallertau hops are used for both bittering and aroma. Lager yeast is used and the beer is allowed to lager for approximately four weeks at just-below-freezing temperatures.

Pilsner
A light-straw colored, full-bodied, lagered, bottom-fermented beer named after the town of Pilsen (in what was then known as Bohemia), where it was first brewed in 1842. It quickly became a popular style because it was so different from the amber brews that were the norm at that time.


Pale Ale
Pale ale, another classic British top-fermented ale style, has more hop flavor than the bitter style, but not as much as India pale ale.


Scottish Ale
This is a high-alcohol brew made with Scottish malted barley. The flavor includes hints of caramel and smoke, and less hops taste than English brews.


Bock Beer
Similar to strong ale, this style uses bottom fermenting yeast and is "lagered" (aged) for at least a month.


Porter and Stout
Whether dry or sweet, flavored with roasted malt barley, oats or certain sugars, stouts and porters are characterized by darkness and depth. Both types of beer are delicious with hearty meat stews and surprisingly good with shellfish. The pairing of oysters and stout has long been acknowledged as one of the world's great gastronomic marriages.

 

Steam Beer
In the 19th century "steam beer" was a nickname for local beers that were fermented with lager yeast, at ale yeast temperature, producing beers with ale-like character. It may also have been common practice to "top off" kegs of beer with beer that had not finished its first fermentation. The result was an in-keg fermentation that produced high levels of natural carbonation. With no refrigeration to control this fermentation a freshly tapped keg would produce copious amounts of foam or "steam."

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