Craft Beer 101
The name of this style comes from its color, referring to beers that have an orange-red tint to them. The hops may vary, but it main focus is the malt. The flavor of an amber or red ale is light and toasted, often containing some fruit notes as well. Nicely balanced, this ale is great to enjoy were you’re in the mood for something a little lighter than a porter or stout.
Like strong beers, this is more of a category than a style. The brews that fall under this name all originated in Belgium. This country’s affinity for the beverage has resulted in a wide variety of styles and flavors. From their long history of brewing trappist and abbey beers in the monasteries, to the triples, quadruples and goldens that can be sampled at one of their many beer festivals; this country knows how to make a good brew.
Brown ales range from amber to brown in color and also have a nice caramel notes to them. In addition to the caramel flavor, chocolate is also common. Whether it’s a nutty brew from northeast England, something sweet from southern England, or a dry North American variety, brown ales can appeal to a number of pallets.
Scotch ales are coppery to dark brown in color and have a caramelized flavor profile thanks to a long boil in the kettle. Though these full-bodied ales are higher in alcohol content, they have a sweet caramel malt flavor.
As the name suggests, fruit beers are created when breweries use a variety of fruits, vegetables, and syrup extracts to give the beer a unique, unmistakable flavor. Fruit beers typically have low hops, and the flavors added work to mask the bitterness of the malt. Though they are usually within the ale family, these beers stand in a league of their own and are perfect for the beer enthusiast with an adventurous pallet.
Back in the days of the East India Company, British brewers were searching for a way to export their pale ales to India. In order for it to survive the long journey, they made these batches of beer with extra hops and a higher alcohol content. Today, the American IPA is an extremely popular style of beer, thanks in part to the climate of the Pacific Northwest, which is perfect for growing hops. IPA's showcase big hop flavors and aromas.
These beers are distinct for their fermentation process. They include Czech Pilsners, and German and American lagers and unlike ales, are created by bottom-fermentation. They are typically golden in color, but can also span to a darker complexion, especially in Europe. Lagers and pilsners are usually house beers and are one of the most popular styles.
Though they’ve been popular in England for ages, pales ales have recently taken America by storm. Because of the high level of interest this beer has received, the flavors can vary depending on where it comes from and what kinds of ingredients are local to the area. We carry pale ales of both the American and English variety. While American brews tend to be clean with more hops, the British version is known for its buttery, malty flavor.
Like many beer styles, there are both English and American porters. These smokey brews have seen a wide variety of growth, however, since American brewers began experimenting with their distinct flavor. Adding bold flavors like coffee and chocolate to the brews to bring out their charred taste is common with this style. Some brewers have even gone as far as to age their beer in bourbon or whiskey barrels.
Want to get a little wild? Sour beer is a unique spin on this beloved beverage that involves using wild strains of yeast and bacteria to flavor the beer. These specialty brews typically have a sour acidic taste and sometimes blend that sharp zing with fruit flavors. From Flander’s Reds to tart Lambics, we carry a variety of these tangy treats. If you’re looking to take your taste-buds on a wild ride, try one of the sour beers we have in stock.
A spiced beer is another type of flavored brew that is made by adding a mix of different spices to enhance the taste of the beer. Spiced brews are popular during the fall and winter holidays for their use of nostalgic flavors like cinnamon and nutmeg. Some breweries have expanded their lines and introduced spiced blends that run the gamut from ginger and ginseng to hot pepper.
These dark beers bring some of the strongest flavors around to the table. Stouts are to a brewer as a blank canvas is to an artist; today stouts can boast an incredibly wide variety of interesting ingredients including everything from chocolate and coffee to fruit and oatmeal, or whatever the brewer desires. The stout ale originated in England, but the stouts of today can be divided into many different sub-styles, including milk stouts brewed with dairy, to Russian Imperial stouts that are reminiscent of the beers that were brewed in England for the Tsarina Catherine II of Russia.
Also known as a white beer (or weissbier according to the Germans), wheat beers are noted for being composed of at least a 50% wheat to barley malt mix. Wheat beers are top-fermented and typically light in color. Wheat beers are a very popular brew because their refreshing light taste goes with almost anything and is the perfect ending to a hot summer day.