Increase your beer IQ - and enter a world where "a cold one" could include anything from a brown ale, a Bohemian pilsner, a London stout or one of the 150 microbrews in stock at ABC.
Pilsner originated in the 1840s in Bohemia. The style is light, low in alcohol. Typically around 4 to 5% ABV, light and clear in color (light straw to light gold). Smooth and crisp, with the spicy bitterness and floral flavor and aroma that comes through with prevalent hops. Some yeastiness. Excellent on their own for those who prefer a lighter beer, or with lighter foods like beer-batter shrimp or seafood salads.
Lager styles range from light (including Pilsners) to dark. Pale lagers are generally light to medium bodied with a light to medium hop impression and a clean, crisp malt character. Alcohol content is typically between 3.5-5% ABV. Most typical American beers fall into the lager range.
A dark, strong flavored beer. Originated in London in the early 18th century. Roasted barley may be used, as it gives a distinctive taste to the porter. Some brewers also age porter in barrels, adding to its character.
A dark, strong flavored beer. Originally called "stout porter," stout is a strong style of porter.
Ale has been brewed for centuries, and ranges from “amber” ales (also called red ales) to the stronger, darker “pale” ales, which aren’t pale at all. Somewhat lower in hoppiness (IPA being the exception) than many other styles, and low in bitterness. Often characterized by slight fruit character, the styles range so widely you could spend a lifetime discovering them.
A slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Based on pale ale malt, but with the addition of other types of malt, and even roasted barley, brown ale has three basic styles. U.S. brown ale is often hoppier than those made in the English style. Look for rich flavors with notes of nuts, caramel, toffee, or occasionally chocolate and maple. In the English style, you may find hints of dried fruit.
Cider – often called "hard cider" to distinguish the alcoholic beverage from the non-alcoholic juice – is usually fermented from apples, although pears or other fruit may be used. They range from sweet to dry. Color ranges from nearly clear, light yellow to brown.
Abbey ales are strong and rich in flavor and aroma. Top fermented, with fairly low IBUs and a smooth taste. Excellent food ale, perfect for the usual suspects: burgers with sharp cheddar, ribs, grilled anything. Lambics are unusual in that they are fermented with wild yeasts. The resulting brew has a distinctive flavor. Some include flavoring from fruits such as peaches and raspberries.
First brewed in England and exported for the British troops in India during the late 1700s. IPAs were brewed to withstand a long voyage, with a high hop content (hops are a natural preservative) and higher alcohol content. With a clean, bitter taste, IPAs go well with food, especially red meats and grilled foods.
Rustic, vivacious, bottle conditioned, ranging in ABV from 5-8%, dry and brisk thanks to generous hopping and blending, earthy, herbal, spicy, and yeasty. Obviously it can vary a bit from brewer to brewer by varying ratios and attenuations, some if not all of these qualities will be there to be supped and savored.
Amber blonde or brown in color, more subdued hops with a malty profile, peppery spiciness, softer palate, bready, caramelized sugars, an apparent ABV ranging between 6-8%, fruity, earthy, cork character, and open to much brewer interpretation. Just like her cousin across the border, the French Biere de Garde is open to her brewer's interpretation as the style in general is even more loosely defined, but all French verities will proudly carry these characteristics to varying degrees.