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A beginners guide to craft beer

Posted by Al on 17 November 2020

The seemingly vast array of craft beers available today may seem a bit daunting to anyone dipping a toe into the craft beer world, but fear not! This brief guide will help you decide how to proceed, and may even help you sound a bit more knowledgeable when talking beer with your craft beer mates! Knowing what certain styles of beer taste and look like can make narrowing down a favourite a lot easier.

Lagers

These are the usual starting beer for new drinkers. They can taste light and a little malty. They are clean, consistent, and not particularly challenging on the flavour, we all started with Lager right?

Pilsners, which originate from the Czech Republic, fall under the lager category. German pilsners give off a pale gold colour and crisp flavour, while Czech pilsners are a little darker with higher bitterness (much like Kolsch beers)

IPA's

India Pale Ales (IPA’s) cover lots of types of beer that get their characteristics largely from hops and can have herbal, citrus or fruity flavours. They can be bitter and contain high alcohol levels, though the final flavour depends mainly on the variety of hops used. Some IPAs can taste like pure citrus, while others are strong and bitter. Prominent IPA styles include West Coast IPA and New England Style IPA and traditional British cask IPA’s

Pale ales are usually hoppy but carry lower alcohol content than IPAs. Most types of pale ale are medium-bodied and easy to drink. Proper Sessionable stuff!

Stouts

Modern Stouts (I’m not talking about Guinness here!) are a dark beer, sweet and full bodied they often have flavours such as coffee and chocolate but really the variety of flavours is endless. The dark colour may give the impression it will be tough to drink but these stouts have a lot of sweetness from unfermented sugars that counteract any bitterness

Belgian Beers

These can include hoppy ales, dark ales, fruity beers and sour ales. They can be fruity, spicy and sweet with a high alcohol content and low bitterness. Trappist ales are from monasteries that brew their own beer these include Belgian Dubbel, which is somewhat strong and complex, and Belgian Tripel, which is pale, spicy and dry while Delirium Tremens is a strong Blond ale.

Wheat Beers

These beers rely on wheat malt for the main ingredient, which gives them a light colour and alcohol level that makes them perfect for relaxing in the summer maybe with a slice of orange or lemon added! Some wheat beers, with their funky and tangy flavours, fall under Belgian-style brews while others have a light flavour of bread or bananas

Sours

Sour beers have become more popular with people looking to expand their beer palates and try something new. Tart, sour beers come in many forms, including Belgian style Lambic beer, fruity Flanders ales, saisons and lemony Berliner Wiesse. The addition of fruits like cherries, raspberries or peach result in a sweet and sour flavour unlike anything else!

So there you have it! Basic but hopefully informative.

Cheers!