Beer Basics

All about Beer

Different styles of beer and how they should be served

 

The different styles of beer can be categorised by appearance and flavour, ingredients, method of production, origin and history. There are two main categories of beer that all beers fall under. They are lagers or they are ales. Other types of beer do not represent other styles of beer but are more about the method of production such as wood-aged beer, kosher beer and gluten free or low carb beers.

 

Ales

  • These are the older style of beer that we find date back as far as antiquity
  • Fermentation occurs for short periods of time at warm temperatures
  • Top fermenting yeast is used where the yeast floats on top of the beer
  • Varieties include pale ales, brown ales, stouts

 

Lagers

  • A newer style of beer only a few hundred years old
  • Fermentation occurs over long periods of time at cold temperatures
  • Bottom fermenting yeasts are used where the yeast sinks to the bottom of the tank or barrel
  • Varieties include dark lagers, pilseners

 

Hybrid beers

These are modern beers made from a combination of the two major classifications such as beer fermented at a cold temperature (lager) but using a yeast style from the ale production line.

 

Specialty beer

This is the latest crop of unofficial beer styles that are hard to regulate or define. They can be made from different ingredients, showcase a classic style with a new flavour profile or be made from unusual foods that have been fermented. These are the fun to brew at home beers that are equally fun and exciting to try.

 

Serving beers

American lagers tend to be served icy cold at between 30 and 40 °F and other lagers are generally served between 40 and 45°F. These go well with hot and spicy foods where they will refresh your palate and provide a cool contrast to the food. To generalise, the lighter in colour the beer is the colder the serving temperature.

 

Dark stouts are generally served at slightly higher temperatures, 45 to 55°F that accentuate the flavour of the beer

 

Ingredients

Beers are made from a combination of malt, barley, wheat or hops depending on the style. One or more flavours may be dominant over the others with stouts and dark beers having rich caramel undertones.

Barrel-aged beers are aged for periods of time in barrels that once contained a spirit such as bourbon. This will impart a subtle flavour to the beer.

 

 

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