Beer Here! Your Beer 101 Guide to Brews
Pilsner, Pale Ale or Porter? Today on Drinking Divas, we're serving up some Beer 101: running down the beer basics and making some recommendations in each category. Bottoms up!
The generic term "beer" applies to a number of fermented malt beverages typically divided into ales (which are fermented at warm temperatures using top-fermenting yeasts for shorter periods) and lagers (which are fermented at cooler temperatures for longer periods with bottom-fermenting yeasts). While there is a remarkable number of variations and sub-variations in both ales and lagers, here are a few of the most popular.
IPA: India Pale Ales are hoppy beers so-named for their popularity along Indian trade routes in the late 18th century. A wildly popular style among today's American craft brewers, Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada are among the most well-known mass-market IPAs.
Porter: A style of dark beer made from brown malt and hops first recorded in 18th-century London. Flavors are typically sweet and malty. Ballast Point Brewing Company in San Diego, California, makes some of the highest-rated porters under their Victory at Sea label.
Beer purists reserve pint glasses for IPAs and porters, but we'll take it any way we can get it. How cute is the dachshund pint glass for the dog lover in your life?
Stout: A dark beer originally known as the strongest, or stoutest, porters. Today, stouts run about 7 to 8 percent alcohol. Despite its dark, heavy flavor, a cold Guinness extra-stout is quite refreshing on a summer day.
White Beers: Also known as Weissbier, Weizenbier, Witbier or Hefeweizen, white beers are wheat beers. Generally cloudy in appearance, many taste of spice or fruit, which makes them uniquely refreshing. Dieters beware: White beers, like Hoegarden, tend to be the most caloric of the bunch.
Bock: Bocks are dark beers and typically among the strongest of the lagers with a robust malt flavor. Shiner Bock is one of the more popular in the U.S., especially in and around its native Texas.
Märzen/Oktoberfest: Back before modern refrigeration, brewing was impossible in the summer months. March, or Märzen in German, was the last brewing month, which is where this malty, amber-colored category gets its name. Also known as Oktoberfest brews, Samuel Adams Octoberfest and Brooklyn Brewery's Brooklyn Oktoberfest are among the most highly rated in the Märzen category.
Pilsner: A type of pale lager with a light, golden color and around 5 percent alcohol, pilsner-type beers are among the most pervasive in the world. Belgian brew Stella Artois is one of the more popular European-style pilsners in the U.S. and one of the fastest-growing beer brands in the country.
Don't have a classic Stella Artois chalice on hand? We dare say this Her King pint glass is an even more regal choice.