Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Basics of Beer: a Cheat Sheet

Do you like beer? Can you distinguish between the varieties of brew available in your local pub or liquor store: If so, this cheat sheet should help (with my examples in RED ):

(from Bewildered by the array of beers? Whether you're faced with 100 beer choices at one of the upcoming beer fests or just perusing the taps at a local tavern, here's a clip-and-save cheat sheet. Despite the myriad styles, all beers fall into two basic categories: ales and lagers. The difference is primarily in the yeast and the temperature at which the beer is fermented and conditioned. But varieties abound.
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Medium-bodied and hoppier (or more bitter) than most, made primarily with pale malt.

Varieties: Bitters, extra special bitter (ESB), amber ale, red ale, American pale ale and India pale ale.

Examples: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Smithwick's Ale, Bass Pale Ale


Very dark with subtle flavors like chocolate and coffee. Stouts use roasted barley, porters a darker malt.

Varieties: Dry, sweet, milk, imperial stout and Baltic porter.

Examples: Guinness Extra Stout,  Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, Portsmouth Black Cat


A high percentage of wheat in addition to malt with a fruity aroma and flavor.

Varieties: Weissbier, hefeweizen and witbier are common varieties.

Examples: Hoegaarden, Aventinus, Widmer Hefeweisen, Leinenkugel Honey Wheat


Maltier than most with a higher alcohol content.

Varieties: Trappist and Abbey (brewed by monasteries), golden, Saison, Oud Bruin and lambic.

Examples: Duvel, Blue Moon Belgian White, Fat Tire Amber Ale


Extremely malty with an alcohol content closer to wine. Sometimes seasonally brewed, usually in winter.

Examples: Anchor Old Foghorn, Smithwick's Barley Wine, Bass No. 1
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The style that influenced major U.S. brews like Budweiser, Miller and Coors. The more authentic version originates in the Czech city of Pilsen. Light in body and clean in taste.

Examples: Pilzner Urquell, Brooklyn Lager, Kirin, Corona Extra, Molson Golden, Bud Light


Most are malty with a well-balanced, dry finish.

Varieties: Oktoberfest lager (Marzen), bock and doppelbock and dunkel.

Examples: Shiner Bock, Paulaner Premium Lager, Dortmunder Union Export, Bitburger


Commonly referred to as "steam beer," which refers to fermentation at higher temperatures. Toasty, malty flavor.

Example: Anchor Steam Beer (the prototype!), Southampton West Coast Steam Beer, Old Dominion Victory Amber  

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