Drinking a bottle of icy beer in the blistering heat is certainly a blessing. However, with the popular drink’s various tastes and types, it’s easy to get confused about the names and brands, especially when you go abroad.
Generally, beer is made using a process of malting and brewing. Malt, water, yeast and hops are four major ingredients, each playing a key role in how the beer tastes. Basically, beer is categorized into two types: ales and lagers, according to the yeast it uses. Here, we introduce the differences and specific categories of each type. Read on and indulge your taste buds.
Ales tend to be high in alcohol and complex in taste. Their colors vary from dark to a pale gold or rich brown. During fermentation, they use “top-fermenting” yeast that rises to the surface of the beer. Due to a higher fermenting temperature than that of lagers, ales are generally stronger and fuller.
The following are two typical ales.
Don’t be fooled by its name. Bitters contain hops, which give them more aroma than bitterness, and their flavors are reminiscent of fruits and caramel. They also come in strong and heavy-bodied varieties, which are called extra special bitters, or ESBs. Bitters range from golden to dark red in color. They are best served in a traditional pub glass.
Example: Fuller’s ESB
Stouts can carry hints of coffee, chocolate, licorice, and molasses with no apparent hops. Their head is thick and tan to brown in color, while the body is a dark brown or black. They taste silky, full andcreamy without any watery mouthfeel. Usually served in a pub glass or a beer mug, stouts can be paired with chocolate, meat prepared in almost any way, and oysters.
Example: Guinness’ Extra Stout
Lagers are known for their crisp and clean taste. They are generally less alcoholic and complex. They are based on “bottom-fermenting yeast”, which tends to settle on the bottom of the fermenter. The low fermenting temperature and long “lagering” aging process create a cleaner and clearer taste.
Here are three typical lagers.
Originating from Germany, bock beers are sweet and dark lagers with a high alcohol content. Traditional bock beers, such as Dunkles bock, have a malt flavor with the hop bitterness taming the overall sweetness. Also, there are paler and more hoppy-flavored bock, often known as Helles bocks. Bocks are routinely served in beer glasses called stange or kolsch glass. They can be paired with roasted, grilled food or pork.
Example: Shiner Bock from the Spoetzl Brewery
Pilsner lagers, originating from the Czech Republic, are clean and crisp pale lagers. They are straw-colored beers with a mild to medium hop character. Caramel flavors are often accompanied by a medium to high bitterness. They are ideally served in tall and slender pilsner glasses. They pair well with roasted meat, chicken, fish, spicy Indian or Mexican dishes, and Asian cuisines.
Example: The Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager
代表：Sierra Nevada Summerfest拉格啤酒
From the 15th to 19th century in Germany, most beers including Maerzen, were brewed in March and then kept in cellars and caves until being served in the fall during the September and October in Oktoberfest, a beer festival since the 19th century. They are full-bodied, rich, and have a light brown body with a white head. A malty character dominates the flavor. They are typically served in a beer mug and can be enjoyed with fresh, creamy cheeses, pasta and seafood.
Example: The Samuel Adams Octoberfest
代表：The Samuel Adams Octoberfest拉格啤酒