Issuu on Google+

Beer a r t

o f

b e e r

the complete world of

presented by All About Beer Magazine

You Need to Know AlltoAll You Need Choose to Know to a Good Beer Choose a Good Beer

Rich and soft velvety taste of “Ekstra Draught” beer – the one that “Švyturys” beer family is especially proud of. Unpasteurized – like from a barrel.

P l e a s e d r i n k s e n s i b ly


the Complete World of B eer S tyles



All About

Introduction Magaz





Daniel Bradford Editor


Amy Dalton, 800-977-BEER Beer Styles WRITER

K. Florian Klemp


Ken Ceccucci

Design and production

BonoTom Studio, Inc photography

Kinsley Dey PRINTING

United Litho, Inc., Ashburn VA Newsstand Distribution

Curtis Distributors 201-634-7422 ALL ABOUT BEER MAGAZINE

(ISSN 0277-5743) is published six times yearly by Chautauqua Inc. 501 Washington St., Suite H, Durham, NC 27701 TEL: 919-530-8150, FAX: 919-530-8160

Contents copyrighted 2008 and all rights reserved by Chautauqua Inc. This magazine is purchased by the buyer with the understanding that the information presented is from various sources from which there can be no warranty or responsibility by Chautauqua Inc., its stockholders or its employees as to legality, completeness and/or accuracy. SUBSCRIPTION:

U.S. and U.S. Possessions $23.00 for 6 issues. (Mexico and Canada $33 for 6 issues. Other countries $45 for 6 issues.) Payment in U.S. currency only. CHAUTAUQUA INC., 501 Washington St., Suite H • Durham, NC. 27701. Allow 8-10 weeks for delivery of first issue. SUBSCRIPTION QUESTIONS OR CHANGE OF ADDRESS

Please call National Subscription Fulfillment Service, 1-800-999-9718, 8:00AM-5:00PM PST. or visit 6 to 8 weeks notice required to change subscriber’s address. For quality reprints of 100 copies or more, contact Sheridan Reprints, 1-800-635-7181 x 8008, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM EST

Why Bother With Beer Styles? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Glassware Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Styles from the German-Czech Tradition European Pale Lager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The Amber Family Portrait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Munich Dunkel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Royal Bavarian Wheat Beers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Ales of The Rhineland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Bock to Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Schwarzbier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Styles from the Belgian-French Tradition Belgian Witbier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Farmhouse Ales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Magic of Lambic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flanders Red and Brown Ales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Belgian Strong Golden Ale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dubbel and Tripel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

35 39 44 47 51 54

Styles from the British Tradition Pale Ale and Bitter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Always Original-IPA and Imperial IPA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brown Ale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Ales of Scotland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Porter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dry Stout and Oatmeal Stout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baltic Porter and Russian Imperial Stout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Old Ale and Barley Wine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

61 65 68 70 73 76 80 84

Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



Why Bother With Beer Styles? or most people, “beer” means only one thing: a straw-colored, highly

carbonated, mild flavored drink, the sort of beverage that is served in response to the request “Just give me a beer.” But more and more beer drinkers realize that there are myriad styles of beer, each style with its own characteristics, occasions and story to tell. Given the proliferation of beer brands on the shelves, an understanding of beer styles can be the secret to finding the beers that suit your taste. For many years, every issue of All About Beer Magazine has contained a popular column devoted to a particular style of beer. Readers have enjoyed the perspective of the author, Keith Florian Klemp, as he draws on his knowledge of history, science and brewing. When we decided to publish a special bonus magazine this year, it seemed a natural choice to ask Keith to collect and re-fashion these columns into a stand-alone issue you can turn to whenever you have a question about beer style. But styles—their meaning, their classification and how we use them—turn out to be a thorny topic. In the beginning (of beer, that is), there were no “beer styles.” The fermented beverage our forbears drank may have been called alus, øl, pivo or cervesia—but these were all generic terms for whatever grain-based beverage the local people consumed (much the way most of the world thinks of generic “beer” today). That beverage was, of course, different from place to place: the grain might be barley, wheat, sorghum, rice or oats. The water might be hard or soft. Ambient yeast would contribute different flavor byproducts. Added herbs and spices—bog myrtle, juniper, hops—would affect the final character. But to the locals, it was just a brew. Of course, drinkers would have recognized the good beer from the not so good. What’s more, brewers could adjust their beer to suit the season, or to mark special events—another source of variation. Those facing a specific need, such as the monks of Munich who devised a stronger beer to see them through Lent, brought about new creations. The various combinations of soil, crops, water and tradition produced many distinctive local variants, some of which gained a reputation beyond their borders. 2

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

But even as European trade became sufficiently far-reaching and the beer of the day stable enough to travel, most people of one region would have had very little awareness of—or curiosity about— the beers native to another area. It sounds obvious, but it is only when we’re presented with variation that we need to start distinguishing things and naming them—and we humans love categorizing our world. An interest in codifying beer styles only came about as our beer choices became wider, through travel and trade. The credit goes to English beer writer Michael Jackson for creating a modern taxonomy of beer. There were, naturally, earlier books and articles on beer, sometimes describing brewing methods, but rarely describing the flavors or the context. As Jackson wrote in this magazine almost ten years ago, “The few books that could be found on beer talked rather vaguely, often as an afterthought, about different types, such as pilsner, bock, ale or porter, but there was little sense that these were a part of a far wider spectrum. Nor, again, that each style had its own geography and history, mood and moment.” Jackson used the opportunities afforded him as a journalist to report on local beers in their natural habitats, documenting, for example, the bitters of his own homeland with the same reporter’s eye he turned to Belgium’s wild-fermented lambics. Reading his World Guide to Beer (1977), we started to appreciate that “having a beer” was probably a very different experience in Prague, or Dublin, or Bruges, and one important difference could be captured in the notion of beer style. American brewers seized upon concept and importance of beer styles—most likely because the

G l a s s wa r e k e y

raw material for the American craft brewing revolution was appropriated from every great brewing culture of Europe. How else to make sense of all the diversity? As our own brewers have expanded and improvised on traditional variants, new styles have budded off old. Styles have become unmoored from their local origins. So, the historic regional taxonomy breaks down, as beer styles migrate over time and are altered by new brewers in new places. An excellent example of a wit beer—a “Belgian” style that actually pre-dates the modern Belgian state—is now brewed in Japan and on sale in the United States. The English developed India pale ale, but its modern offspring, Imperial India pale ale, is solidly American. The United States is a modern powerhouse of brewing innovation, and yet has only one or two indigenous styles. Beer styles that were developed in the shifting nations of central Europe no longer fit under a “German” umbrella; and one style from this region has given rise to that familiar straw-colored beer, the most popular style in the world today, brewed from Buenos Aires to Bangkok. The alternative way of dealing with beer styles—avoiding this entire place-of-origin muddle—is purely technical. Again, the American brewing community may deserve the credit or blame for this highly quantified tactic. Over the past three decades, American enthusiasts have developed a unique take on beer assessment that is preoccupied with fidelity to style. Every category can be described as a member of the lager or ale family, with a short list of precise technical specs, and any beer can be measured next to those standards. It’s certainly useful in evaluating beers, but the method seems arid for anyone but a beer judge. Keith Klemp’s articles have always approached beer styles as evolving narratives that weave together natural resources, shifting cultures and changing technologies. The stories are less about original gravity and appropriate levels of bitterness, and more about how geology, agronomy, culture and history give rise to beers of different characters that we later come to term “styles.” So, in the pages that follow, we decided to group the beers by looking at their region of origin, since that’s where the romance starts. We hope you dip into this volume before you shop for beer, or while tasting a new beer you’ve decided to try. A style isn’t meant to be a straightjacket for the brewer, but a guide for the beer lover, giving you a name for the flavors you enjoy and pointing you towards more delicious opportunities. Cheers! Julie Johnson Editor




Stange/ Becher






Stemmed Glass



the Complete World of B eer S tyles


Sty l e s f r o m t h e

German-Czech Tradition

The Complete World of



European Pale Lager f the many events that have blazed the path of beer history,

arguably none holds more sway than the creation of pilsner. The introduction of the clear golden lager in Plzen, Bohemia, in 1842 was so revolutionary that it left breweries scrambling for years to produce a similar product to compete. All golden lagers are offspring of the original pilsner, including the modern pilsners, Munich helles lagers and international pale lager. Pilsner is hoppy, aromatic and pleasantly bitter. Helles is marginally more malty and full, with a more sedate hop character. International pale lagers, descendants of both traditions, are the dominant world beers. All are satisfying and appetizing.

Presenting Pilsners Pilsner Pedigree Pilsner is no doubt a pan-global beer style, but its pedigree lies squarely in Bohemia. The town of Plzen was established in western Bohemia near economically important rivers and trading arteries. In 1295, founder King Wenceslas II granted the initial right to brew beer to Plzen’s citizens. In 1307, Plzen formed its first brewery, and not long afterward realized its first strides toward commercial brewing. With the aid of subsequently formed guilds, the brewing industry strengthened and the importance of brewing became ensconced in Bohemian tradition. King Wenceslas II was so influential in brewing culture that he was honored as the patron saint of brewing by the Bohemian guild. Science And Serendipity After a tumultuous period of pillage and plague in the 17th century temporarily stymied brewing progress in Europe, a period of relative peace set the stage for the birth of modern brewing. The Czechs were purportedly the first to use the thermometer to maximize mash conditions, utilizing the malt to its fullest. They made the hydrometer, which measures specific gravity, a

standard brewing tool, and developed their own mellow, light-colored malt. Although these were welcome additions to brewing, Czech beer was still top-fermented and less refined than the German brews of the day. The final piece would soon be added to the puzzle. Pale malt was brought to continental Europe by two famous brewers, Gabriel Sedlmayr of Spaten in Munich and Anton Dreher of the Dreher brewery in Vienna, after the pair traveled to England in 1833. Sedlmayr introduced his amber lager beer, known as märzen, to the public in 1841 at the Munich Oktoberfest. Dreher produced his first pale beer, known as Vienna lager, which was even lighter in color than the märzen of Spaten. At the same time in Plzn, Bohemia, the brewery known today as Pilsner Urquell (Plzensky Prozdroj) was built specifically to emulate the famous lager bier of Germany. A Bavarian brewer, Josef Groll, was hired to oversee the operation. Using a bottomfermenting yeast smuggled to Plzen from Bavaria and local barley cured to a very pale color, Groll introduced the brewery’s first pilsner in 1842. The brewing world was smitten with the clarity and pale hue of the beer, especially when served in avant-garde glass drinking vessels. Brewers all over Europe hastily copied the template. Today, Beer Style: European

Pale Lagers

Glass style: Pilsner Serving Temperature: 48° F Food Pairing: cream soups, ceviche, caviar

(pilsners); shellfish, fish, pork (helles); spicy food; fresh cheese (international lager)

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


breweries in virtually every corner of the world make a version based at least loosely on the original pilsner. Profiling Pilsner True pilsners are soft and fragrant, with subtle complexity, and express in their overall character a distinct contribution from each of the four basic beer ingredients: malt, hops, yeast and water. Water is mentioned in beer character only in special cases. This is one of them. The water of Bohemia is extremely soft, and this imparts a distinctly tranquil profile all the way around, especially in the manifestation of the hops. The prized malt grown in Moravia is considered by many to be the finest lager variety in the world. Some is still malted using traditional floor-malting methods. It is relatively sweet and quite smooth, and is often under-modified. This necessitates a complex and lengthy decoction mashing procedure that adds some extra color, richer flavor and better mouthfeel than in most pale beers. The wort produces a finished beer in the range of 4.5 to 5.0 percent ABV. No beer style showcases a specific type of hop more than a Bohemian pilsner. These premium hops are grown in the Zatec region in northwest Bohemia. They are known

as Zatec red or Bohemian red, but are most familiar by their German designation, Saaz. Their distinctive spicy, floral aroma and gentle bittering qualities make them an ideal hop for all kettle additions. The soft water erases the lingering bitterness that is common in most well-hopped beers, leaving a pilsner aroma that is quite fresh. The yeast used in Bohemian pilsners, although a descendent of German strains, ferments a little less crisply than its German counterparts. There is plenty of body, a slight sweetness, and perhaps even a very restrained buttery (diacetyl) footprint, owing to the yeast. The most famous of the Bohemian pilsners are Pilsner Urquell and Budvar (Czechvar in the United States), but the Czech Republic is loaded with breweries and pubs, most specializing in pilsners. It is a beer-lover’s heaven. Pilsner Protégé The German interpretation of pilsner is a little lighter in body and color, and possesses a piercing, lingering hop character. Jever is perhaps the most extreme example. Of course, German pilsner malt is used, as are noble German hops. The Netherlands produces one, Christoffel Blond, which is hopped copiously, and uniquely dry-hopped. At 6.0 percent it is robust all the way around. In the United States, pilsners are somewhat common in brewpubs and microbreweries, with both Czech and German interpretations available. The development of pilsner in Bohemia was a harmonic convergence of scientific application, craftsmanship and serendipity. Given the importance of beer in European history, it should be considered a watershed event, period. While classic pilsners are the domain of the Czech Republic, specifically Bohemia, they are also the most copied, ubiquitous and uniquely interpreted beer in the world.

Bavarian Helles: Soft and Subtle Light gold in hue and laid-back in character, helles (German for “bright”) is Bavaria’s answer to a session beer. The humble helles is perhaps Bavaria’s most popular brew and is considered by many to be the refined zenith of south German brewing with its underlying maltiness, gentle hop bitterness and superb drinkability. Though pilsner was unmistakably the new king of beers, the Franziskaner brewery, operated by Gabriel Sedlmayr’s brother, Joseph, introduced a pale lager to the Munich Oktoberfest in 1872 as a direct competitor to the Bohemian lagers. In 1894, Gabriel’s three sons produced a very pale lager that today is considered the first true helles lager. It was in keeping with Bavaria’s penchant for malty and modestly hopped brews. Munich is directly responsible for giving us 6

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

T H E WO R L D’ S B E S T P I L S N E R I S:


Best German-Style Pilsner

The World’s Best German-style Pilsner lives on both sides of the world. When we created the Trumer Brauerei Berkeley, we worked hard to perfectly preserve the brewing process of our 400-year-old sister brewery in Salzburg, Austria. The result? Two consecutive Gold Medals at the World Beer Cup® – the most prestigious beer competition in the world. Prost! For the full story visit


European Pale Lagers

Pilsner Urquell

König Pils

Urquell means “original source,” and, in essence, the tag was added to protect the originator of the style. The worldwide imitators may be good in their own right, but Urquell is distinctive. The hop aroma is floral and round. The mouthfeel is full, the flavor ripe with hops and malt with a slight sweetness. At about 40 international bittering units (IBU), Urquell is bitter, but the soft water rinses the palate within seconds. 4.4% ABV

From the König Brauerei in Duisburg, Germany. Straw yellow pour with a decent, lacy and snowy head. Flowery and rather fresh aroma, with lemon grass hints. It finishes with a crisp, grainy, sweetish palate. This classic German pils is well-rounded, but is expectedly accented towards a firm hop character. 4.9% ABV

both märzen and helles as new beer styles, while retaining its more traditional dark beers. Good as Helles On the surface, a pallid and simplistically supple beer such as a helles would seem to be an easy beer to make. The opposite is true. Often helles is made with a single type of malt and a single type of hop. Coaxing the delicate nuances out of these two ingredients requires the highest of brewing skills. Helles begins with a base of premium German pilsner malt, the lightest-colored malt available and one that produces a brilliant golden wort. The desired wort should give the finished beer a full-bodied nature relative to its strength. German barley tends to be somewhat high in protein content, and the degradation of this protein during the brewing process is yet another contributor to the full perception of the beer. Some brewers might boost the character of the beer by using a small measure of the richer Munich malt. Balance is a key feature of a well-brewed helles. Hop rates are modest and this, along with the fuller body, distinguishes it from other pales lagers, especially the very popular pilsners of Germany. Hops known as “noble” varieties— Hallertauer, 8

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Victory Prima Pils

Hacker-Pschorr Münchener Hell

From the respected Downingtown, PA, brewery, Prima Pils is one of the finest examples of pilsner made in the United States. Modeled on the German style, it is medium gold, has a clean, inviting hop aroma, solid mouthfeel and a substantial dose of bittering hops. The light malt background props up the bitterness deftly. The finest German malts are used, witha combination of German and Czech whole-flower hops. 5.3% ABV.

From one of Germany’s more august breweries, this helles has a wonderful hop aroma and pours with a rich, creamy head. Some malt is also evident in the nose. Well-balanced, it features all of the best of German brewing. It finishes dry, has a light malt sweetness and a complex hop profile. Rich gold in color and smooth all the way around, quite full for a golden brew. HackerPschorr has been in business since 1417. 4.9% ABV

Tettnanger, Hallertauer Mittelfrüh and Hersbrucker—are what give German beers their unique aroma.Their soft, herbal qualities are a perfect match for the delicate malt structure of a helles. Twenty international bittering units is typical for a helles. There should be a hoppy thread running through a helles, with flavor and aroma hops in the mix. Being a lager, helles has the clean, round quality that one would expect from a bottom-fermented, fully lagered brew. Though many examples are produced in Bavaria, the style varies a little from brewery to brewery. Some are drier than others, some hoppier, some a little fuller in color. All are imminently quaffable and register an alcohol by volume level of about 4.5 to 5.0 percent. Where the Helles? As Bavaria’s everyday beer, helles is offered by most of the region’s breweries. Many are exported and readily available. Spaten, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Weihenstephan and Hofbräuhaus helles can be purchased nearly anywhere. Some are simply called hell, others Münchener hell, and still others Urtyp hell (original helles). Weihenstephan calls its helles “Original Lager.” While the common examples are

bottom-fermented beers they were familiar with. But slowly, that culture became more Americanized, a shift that was manifested in the evolution of Euro-American brewing and an increase in cultivation of barley. In North America, six-row barley was grown in abundance as a general multi-use crop. The robust enzymatic strength of the six-row allowed the use of adjunct grains. It is not unusual for brewers to use ingredients other than barley or wheat in a beer, but for a German or Czech brew, it was wholly unheard of.

Stella Artois Brewed in Leuven, Belgium, the brewery dates to 1366; the pale lager, to 1926. Stella pours brilliant gold, with a small but lacy head. The hop aroma is light, the nose is mostly soft malt with a pinch of graininess. The flavor is smooth with the same reserved malt/grain notes, and it is evident that the brewer opted for hop bitterness rather than aroma. A faint “white wine� character also comes through in the finish. A perfect refresher, as it has a bouncy, but not thin, mouthfeel and silkiness. 5.2% ABV

Grolsch Premium Lager Brewed in the Netherlands in the city of Enschede at the Grolsche Bierbrouwerij. Solid medium-gold in color, with a lingering collar of foam. The aroma is predominantly hops, being both herbal and fresh. The mouthfeel is heftier than expected, with a soft, mineral flavor and a rich hop finish. Hints of lemon grass balance the maltiness very deftly. Grolsch has been brewing since 1615, and refines their brew without pasteurization to retain the fresh character. 5.0% ABV

Staying Home Europe continues to brew this style for its best-selling, and most famous beers. Though pale lagers were shunned somewhat in rural Bavaria in the mid-19th century after their introduction in Bohemia, brewers to the north embraced them immediately, as the region was more industrialized and open to trade. Quickly following suit were brewers in other countries along the maritime north rim. Today, Heineken, Grolsch and Carlsberg are among the most recognizable brand names in the world. What makes them so popular in beer-rich Europe? Undoubtedly, it is the

excellent in their own right, a visit to Bavaria would uncover many gems in the style, in some very quaint settings.

International Pale Lagers No matter where one is in the world, a quenching pale lager is seldom far away. In many cases these German- and Bohemian-inspired brews are considered the national beer. Many European breweries adopted the style and shifted their focus in response to the popularity of the originals a century and a half ago. The rest of the world followed closely behind. Most resemble pilsners with a modest hop character, yet other versions reflect a malt background reminiscent of Munich helles. Some rely on varying amounts of adjunct grains such as corn or rice to lighten the profile. Their worldwide popularity is nothing short of phenomenal. The New World While European brewers adopted pale lager brewing in the late 19th century as a matter of survival as much as anything, the spread of the style around the world offers a more provocative legend, especially in the United States. Initially, Central European immigrant brewers made the


Imported by Distinguished Brands International.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


simple drinkability, coupled with the crisp, clean traditional lager palate. They are lighter in body than a traditional Munich helles, but less hoppy than a pilsner. Essentially, they are what pass for session beers in certain parts of the world. In 1883 Carlsberg’s Emil Christian Hansen devised a method for selecting and propagating pure yeast strains. The lager yeast, which he first isolated, was named Saccharomyces carlsbergensis and was made available to brewers throughout the world. This strain is as responsible as anything for dispersing the lager method around the world. Technically, it is one of the most significant events in brewing history, period. Easy access to the finest raw brewing materials and brewing technology allowed virtually every country in Europe a chance to brew fine beer. From Lithuania and Poland, to the oenophilic countries of Greece, Italy and France, pale lagers are still brewed and widely consumed. Even British and Irish brewers have been producing lagers for the past half-century or so, using pilsner-type lager malt produced in the British Isles. Arthur Guinness is the maker of Harp Lager, one of the most full-bodied examples of the style, with bitterness and aroma on a par with more traditional pale lagers. Samuel Smith’s Pure Brewed Lager and certified


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Organic Lager are testaments to the lofty standards that these beers can reach. Heading East One needs no further evidence of the pan-global reach and appeal of this style than to look to Asia. Nearly every developed country has a brewery: its flagship brew, a pale lager. India and China have what would be considered national brews in Kingfisher and Tsingtao. San Miguel in Manila makes both a golden lager and a Munich-style dunkel. When brewing came to Japan in the 19th century, it was the Germans who were called upon to shepherd the seminal industry. At Sapporo, founder Seibei Nakagawa, fresh from a trip to Germany to earn a brewery engineering license, opened what was then known as the Pioneer Brewery in 1876. His brewery and beers were Bavarian-influenced. The brewery appropriately adopted the symbol of the pioneer, the North Star. The many versions of a golden lager beer around the globe are as perfectly suited to the steamy outposts as they are to the huddled north. These beers are symbolic of the camaraderie that beer-quaffers the world over share, and of the language that they all understand.

Two great beers from the island home of the Knights of Malta and the Maltese Falcon, now available in the U.S.

U.S. Enquiries: Distinguished Brands International Tel: 303-790-8532, Fax: 720-267-9404, email:

The Complete World of



The Amber Family Portrait escriptive beer styles can denote any number of characteristics,

including origin (pilsner, Dortmunder), appearance (pale ale, witbier) or strength (barley wine, tripel). How then did the amber lagers, variously known as Vienna, märzen and Oktoberfest, come to be named after a city, a month and a festival, respectively? Each has its own history and designation. To dismiss amber lagers as a single classification of beer would be to disregard the brewing history and innovation contributed by some of the more venerable characters in the craft. The amber lagers share a lineage that is both ancient and progressive (if a little convoluted) and comes full circle in the end. Märzen begat Vienna, Vienna begat Oktoberfest. They are, collectively, a study of the history of modern lager brewing.

The Roots of the Family Tree Over a period of several centuries, it was empirically discovered that beers could be brewed in spring, stored in alpine caves through the summer and until the weather cooled, emerging smoothly unscathed for consumption in the fall. This undoubtedly led to much ceremonious beer drinking following the summer. Some brews following this protocol became known as märzen or March beers after the month in which most were brewed. Märzen, then, really came to describe a method as much as a particular style of beer. Around the beginning of the 19th century, and on the heels of all of the crucial brewing innovations, a great friendship developed between two distinguished members of the brewing industry. The Viennese brewer, Anton Dreher, and Gabriel

Beer Style: Amber


Glass style: seidel Serving Temperature: 48° F Food Pairing: pizza, bratwurst, spicy dishes,

roast pork, venison


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Sedlmayr II, son of the former royal braumeister and controller of the Spaten Brauerei in Munich, Gabriel I, studied and traveled together. They took keen interest in the innovations of the day and applied them to their own brewing practices. Dreher was quite interested in developing a pale malt of his own. He eventually produced one from his continental barley that was light and toasty, and had a unique character. It became known as Vienna (Wiener) malt. This was the base for his distinct brews. His malt, coupled with the bottomfermentation and lagering methodology that he learned from the Sedlmayrs, produced the first beer in what could be called the Vienna style in 1841. The general assumption, based on brewing records, is that it was a sparkling-clear, amber lagerbier.

Completing the Circle Much of the credit for perfecting the bottomfermenting, cold-conditioning techniques that produce what are today called lagerbiers can be attributed to the braumeisters of Munich. At the same time that Dreher was developing his Vienna beers, the Sedlmayrs were back at the Spaten Brauerei in Munich crafting and refining their stylistic contribution to the beer world. We know it today as Munich dunkel. The Spaten brewery can trace its roots back to the 14th century and is thus one of the most established and traditional breweries in the world. But when Gabriel Sedlmayr I died in 1839, his sons, Josef and Gabriel II, took over, and their brewing eventually took a more progressive turn. Although

they continued to produce their signature dunkels, they had always maintained a great interest in the brews of Vienna. The golden and amber lagers of Bohemia and Austria were fast becoming very popular. Josef eventually became braumeister at Franziskaner (which today is part of the Spaten-Franziskaner merger) and in 1871 brewed a pilot batch of amber Viennese beer that was unlike anything else that could be sampled in the city. It received such acclaim that Josef decided to make a second batch the following spring. He named it Ur-Märzen (original märzen), following the old method of brewing in March and storing cold for consumption in the fall. It would be ready in the autumn of 1872. When, at the Oktoberfest celebration of 1872, the supply of the regular beer ran out, Sedlmayr came to the rescue with his märzenbier. It again was so popular that it became a regular beer of the Oktoberfest celebration. Not surprisingly, other breweries in Munich followed suit. Eventually, many märzen beers added the designation “Oktoberfest” to the sobriquet.

Today’s Ambers Though these beers are invariably bound stylistically, they exhibit some noticeable subtle differences. There are three different names for these similar beers, but they are really just two distinct styles, with märzen and Oktoberfest being interchangeable or set together, as in märzen/Oktoberfest. In general, Viennas are slightly lower in gravity, a little drier and have a noticeable hop character that leaves the beer wellbalanced with a slightly spicy character. Märzen/Oktoberfest beers have a lusty, rich character that is definitely balanced toward the malt. Gentle hop rates allow the Munich-style malts to shine through in the märzen/Oktoberfest. Though collectively referred to as “amber lagers,” the truth is that these beers extend the color parameters on either end. Some festbiers are a deep gold, hinting at amber, and both Vienna and märzen/Oktoberfest can be as dark as reddish amber. Of course, this is a result of the malt that is employed. In order of kilning intensity (and concomitant flavor and color intensity), pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts will make up the majority, if not the entirety, of the grist. Pilsner produces a golden wort; Munich, an amber wort; and Vienna, somewhere in between. Vienna and Munich malts contribute the chewy, toasted malt complexity and continental character to these brews. Hops, authentically German noble varieties, are used with discretion, as these are designed to be malt-first brews, with the ultra-clean lager profile. They are medium

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



in strength, coming in at 5 to 6 percent ABV. Some are fall seasonals, while others are offered year-round. American breweries produce an excellent range of märzen/Oktoberfest beers, with some examples showing a spicy, hopped-up Vienna profile: Great Lakes Elliot Ness is a perfect example of the stateside take on Vienna. Collectively, they might have any of the designations or simply be called “amber” or “amber lager,” and may be more commonly found in the Midwest with its German ancestry. The influence of Austria and Germany can still be found in many Mexican beers. Negra Modelo and Dos Equis are such examples, and they can’t be beat for washing down spicy food. Some people love the color and briskness of the fall season; others dislike the season for what it portends. However you view the coming of the winter, the beers of fall, with their autumnal colors and warm, comforting maltiness can be reason enough to look forward to the season.

Amber Lagers

Paulaner Oktoberfest This brew is a classic Oktoberfest from brewing giant Paulaner in Munich, Germany. The tawny-orange color just screams autumn, and the aroma has everything that is beloved in German lagerbier. Warm and grainy, with spicy malt aromas reminiscent of freshly toasted brown bread. It is mediumbodied with a lean, clean malt backbone propped up with a perfectly balanced dose of hops. The rich, yet crisp finish keeps one craving more. 5.8% ABV

Spaten Ur-Märzen Billed as the original (Ur) märzen, this particular beer was introduced in 1871. The brewery itself can boast roots dating to the 14th century. One of the largest and best Bavarian breweries, its many products are uniformly held in high esteem. Its UrMärzen is a true gem. The toasty Munich malts and lightly balancing noble hops combine to produce a classic beer. The squeaky clean, assertive malt character dominates both the aroma and flavor and delivers a full-bodied brew. Bavarian brewing at its best. 5.9% ABV


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Dos Equis Dos Equis is brewed in Monterrey, Mexico by Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma and is a widely popular brew throughout North America. It is solidly in the Vienna style because of its lighter body and subdued maltiness. It has a sweet caramel and malt nose with a mild hop character. The flavor is slightly sweet, toasty and rather light on the palate. This is a delightfully drinkable beer that pairs effortlessly with spicy foods, especially Mexican and TexMex. The Austrian influence is alive and well in this brew.

Sam Adams Boston Lager This beer needs no introduction, as it is the flagship brew of the Boston Beer Co., and has led many a beer drinker to the enlightened path of craft brewing. Copper in color, SABL proudly shows off an aromatic, floral nose of premium German hops. It is medium-bodied, with a spicy malt and mild caramel sweetness, and well-balanced finish, befitting the Vienna style perfectly. Boston Beer also makes an outstanding Octoberfest that rivals the finest from the Germans. 4.8% ABV

The Complete World of



Munich Dunkel


revered institution is one that endures via tradition and needs

little refinement, let alone modernization. In the beer world, that is true of Munich dunkel. Sometimes referred to simply as dunkel (dark), it is the everyday, luxuriant brunette brew of Bavaria and Franconia, and the beer that brought renown to Munich as a brewing center. True to the roots of Bavarian brewing as both a dark beer and lager, dunkel combines depth and simplicity, marrying the rich nature of dark malt with lager smoothness. From the centuries-old drink of the commoner, through the relatively recent age of refinement, dunkel tenaciously held to its origins while moving seamlessly into modern brewing. It enthusiastically employs the malt that bears the name, Munich, of the city that made the beer famous. Dark Horizons

Dark Circles

Evidence of brewing in Germany goes back about 2,800 years, coincidentally to the area known as Franconia, in the north of Bavaria. Kulmbach, Franconia has the most traceable history, as well as the most traditional dark lagers, with documentation of monastic brewing there since 1349. Other regions of Bavaria were prodigious in their own right, with mention of lagerbier in Munich brewing documents from the 1400s. Dunkel, as a distinct beer style, can be tracked to the 16th century. It is directly tied to the Reinheitsgebot, the 1516 law that set down the ingredients of beer. In essence, the law inadvertently mandated the refinement of the local product by stating that beer could be made only with barley, hops and water (and later yeast, which early on was thought to be the hand of Providence). As the local beer was dark, and lagering practices were already in place in chilly grottos of the hillsides, dunkel brewing flourished and improved. Add to this the notion of terroir as it related to hops and barley, a landlocked and somewhat isolated location relative to great exporters like the British, and local malting techniques, and one can see how a style took on its innate identity. Germany was well ahead of the proverbial curve as far as hop cultivation and utilization was concerned, further adding to the distillation of design.

Dunkel would not move towards its present form until three centuries post-Reinheitsgebot, when several innovations and one peripatetic visionary, Gabriel Sedlmayr II, brought the style into the modern world. Using the Wheeler method of kilning mat, Sedlmayr extrapolated that he could still produce his dark base malt, but with even greater precision. That malt today is known as Munich malt and it is that which gives dunkel its profile. Sedlmayr, a member of the venerable brewing family that had recently taken over operations at Spaten, was a student of all things beer. He took a particular interest in the emerging science of yeast microbiology and cultivation. This technological union culminated with the invention of refrigeration, making lagerbier brewing a year-round endeavor. Munich dunkel enjoyed great popularity until the end of the 19th century, when some of the market

Beer Style: Munich


Glass style: pilsner glass, seidel Serving Temperature: 48째 F Food Pairing: roast chicken, nutty cheese,

mellow sausages, rabbit, Chinese dishes

the Complete World of B eer S tyles




gave way to paler beers. Many of these pale beers, specifically Munich helles, were brewed alongside the everpopular dunkel, and as a result, may have ushered in, or at least popularized, the notion of multi-style brewing at a given brewery. Even so, dunkel was unpretentious and appealing enough to keep the interest of beer drinkers. That should be proof enough of its charm.

Dark Art The soul of a dunkel, as much as any other beer, comes from its heavy reliance on a single malt. As stated earlier, it is a product of precise kilning, and one that was used in Munich to preserve the old-fashioned quality of the brew. Even before the drum kiln was invented, beers were often made from a single batch of malt. While this is not uncommon today, the difference lies in the control, and desired consistency and subtleties imparted therein. The modern kiln allowed degrees of malt to be made that would produce distinct beers that bear the name

Lobkowicz Baron Brewed in the Czech Republic at the Lobkowicz Brewery in Vysoky Chlumec, this Bohemian dark lager pours deep reddish-brown and heady, and the toasty, dark malt aroma presents caramel and chocolate. The full body carries a touch of caramel-malty sweetness and is accompanied by a modest Saaz hop influence. This dunkel is emphatically robust and flavorful. Lobkowicz has been brewing for over 500 years; it is no surprise that this anachronistic beer is so delicious. 4.7% ABV

Penn Dark An outstanding offering from the Pennsylvania Brewing Co. in Pittsburgh. Full brown color, with a beige head and an aroma full of malt and notes of licorice and caramel. There is a suggestion of roasted barley behind the slightly sweet, chocolate malt, creamy palate. Brewed with Munich malt and imported Hallertau hops. Penn is one of the premier German-style breweries in the United States, and this beer is perhaps its finest. 5.0% ABV


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Gรถsser Dark From the Brau Union ร–sterreich in Linz, Austria, Gรถsser Dark is dark brown, with ruby and black highlights. The spicy aroma is a mixture of malt, noble hops and molasses; the body is medium-light and the mouthfeel, creamy. The dark malt and hops give a drying palate, with notes of grain and burnt sugar. Quite earthy with a rather noticeable hop bitterness and quenching finish. This excellent brew would work rather nicely with a beefy stew or Boston brown bread.

Ettaler Kloster Dunkel Brewed in Ettal, Germany, in the heart of the Alps by the Klosterbrauerei Ettal. Beautiful chestnut red, the Munich malt/caramel nose suggests molasses cookies, vanilla and nutmeg. Somewhat sweet on the tongue, malty, and sporting some earthy, dark malt character. The finish has notes of bittersweet chocolate and hops, with a touch of caramel sweetness. A smooth, wellbalanced beer from start to finish. 5.0% ABV

of the malt itself (pilsner, Vienna, pale ale and Munich). Each successively darker malt would be much different than the other and could be used alone. The length and intensity of kilning determines the color, but also introduces a continuum of chemical reactions that further resolves the unique profile. As Munich is the darkest of these malts, it would differ the most from the original pale malt. Heat reactions that form melanoidins, a melding of protein and carbohydrate, are responsible for the intense malty flavors and aromas. The result is a base grain that is less fermentable and therefore more full-bodied and opulent, full of malty, toffeeish, bready and caramelized notes in both the flavor and nose, and a deep ruby-tinted brown color. A dunkel could be made exclusively of a dark version of Munich malt, as the beers of Sedlmayr were, to showcase the vast complexity that a single component can lend to a brew. Many are augmented with some caramel malt, or

softened with pilsner malt, but nonetheless a great dunkel gets by primarily with its bill of Munich malt. Such is the art of producing a beer and, in this case, creating a single, specific ingredient as a means to that end. Dunkels are hopped with reserve, as are most maltaccented beers of Bavaria. They are rounded out with a cool fermentation and long cold-conditioning typical of all lagers, lending a smooth, soft character without the brusque edge found in many dark beers. Modest in strength, at around 5 percent ABV, dunkels can be considered a session beer and one that offers more than many others. For a dark brew, Munich dunkel is satisfying across a broad spectrum. They are rich, yet not heavy. Surprisingly, they finish with a quenching crispness. Moreover, the paradox of complexity from simplicity is apparent from aroma to finish, a manifestation of malting artistry and understated elegance. It is a beer appropriate enough for the languid days of summer or the grip of winter.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



Royal Bavarian Wheat Beers unning counter to the majority rule of clear, clean, bottom-

fermenting lagerbiers in Bavaria are their wheat (weizen) beers. They are cloudy, quirky, spritzy and top-fermented. Ripe with odd flavors and aromas not usually acceptable in beers, never mind German brews, wheat beers are riding a new wave of popularity. This was not always the case. It took the foresight of an astute German brewing patriarch to resuscitate this almost-extinct type of beer a century and a half ago. There are four versions of wheat beers, enough to satisfy any whim or occasion, the most common of which is weissebier (white beer), because of its haziness and relatively light color, or weizenbier (wheat beer). The wheat, weizen and weisse denotations can be used interchangeably. There are also filtered (kristall), dark (dunkelweizen) and strong (weixenbock) types in the family. Hefeweizen is the most popular; weizenbock is the most remarkable.

Wheat Beer History: Cloudy Early, Becoming Clear The earliest evidence of brewing, about 5,000 years ago, is from the Fertile Crescent, and it is known that wheat was used to some extent in Babylonia thousands of years ago. Brewing spread northward into what is now Europe. The first true weissebier brewery was built in the 15th century in the Bavarian village of Schwarzach by the noble Degenberger family. Although the Reinheitsgebot (the 16th century law governing beer ingredients) did not allow wheat malt to be used, the Degenberger clan was allowed to

Beer Style: Wheat


Glass style: weizen glass (regular wheats);

weizen glass, goblet, stem glass (weizenbock)

Serving Temperature: 48째 F Food Pairing: omelet, soft creamy cheese,

weisswurst, Indian dishes (kristal, hefe, dunkel); pungent cheese, game, chocolate (weissbock)


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

continue producing weissebier because of their grandfathered tenure. Weissebier was also the preferred beer of the royalty. When the last of the Degenbergers died, control of the brewery fell to the ruling Bavarian dukes, the Wittelsbachs, authors of the Reinheitsgebot. As the new proprietors of the weissebier brewery, the Wittelsbachs became the sole purveyors of wheat beer in Bavaria. Noticing that the masses were quite enamored with this noble brew, the Wittelsbachs expanded their domain and built more weissebier breweries in southern Germany. The dukes required the pubs they controlled to serve not only their dunkels but also their weissebier. The beer became so popular that a road was built from a ducal brewery in Kelheim to Ingolstadt just to slake the thirsts of students at the university! Ending Royal Control

As wheat beers were reaching new heights in popularity, the pale lager phenomenon was fomenting in Bavaria and Bohemia. By the middle of the 19th century, Munich breweries were tweaking their dark lager, and Bohemia and Vienna were producing their pale lagers with the new technology. Pale lagers replaced the weissebiers as everyday quaffs among the masses. Weissebier consumption fell dramatically, and wheat beers in Germany may well have vanished were it not for the tenacity, vision and confidence of Georg Schneider. Schneider became the tenant of the ducal brewery in Kelheim in 1855. He wrested the brewing rights to weissebier from the dunkels brewery next door in 1872 and ended the royal control of wheat


beers. Thanks to some aggressive production, Schneider got wheat beers back into the mainstream, where they enjoyed something of a comeback. It wasn’t until after World War II that they were embraced wholeheartedly and their sales significantly rejuvenated by the general popularity. Wheat beers started to attract a new generation of admirers. Since the 1950s, these brews have steadily become more popular.

Wheat Beer Profiles In short, wheat beers are top-fermented, hazy (excepting kristall), highly carbonated, low in hop aroma and bitterness, made with 50 to 70 percent malted wheat, and exhibit a tart, fruity flavor and multipart estery aroma. They are, as much as any other broad style of beer, defined by complexity rather than by a couple of distinct attributes. The use of wheat adds something to this profile, but the main contributor is an unusual strain of yeast. The aroma is a cacophony of vanilla, banana, clove, spices and even phenol, all of which would be unwelcome intruders in most beers but are quite at home in the sanctuary of a wheat beer. The malted wheat adds a tart/malty duality that gives a wheat beer even more depth.

Wheat is very high in protein, and the unfiltered, bottleconditioned nature of the beer contributes to the generally cloudy appearance. The protein precipitates readily when cold, and results in a turbid “chill haze.” The yeast in the bottle also will contribute some haze. There is a noticeable absence of the noble hop character that accompanies most German beers. Wheat beers contain a hop bitterness rate that is about one half that of even a lightly hopped beer, barely perceptible. A Weizen by Any Other Name The various siblings of the weizen family are quite distinct. Hefeweizen or Hefe-Weisse: This is the most common variety. It is bottle-conditioned and sedimented, so it has the yeast either in the bottom of the bottle or in suspension. The yeast, along with the chill haze, give it a cloudy appearance. The prefix hefe means yeast. This is Bavarian wheat beer in its most traditional state. After fermentation, the beer is bottled with its original yeast or a second strain to provide a tertiary fermentation in the container. A hefeweizen is of standard strength, about 5% ABV. Kristall Weizen or Kristall Weisse: Kristall is the German



the Complete World of B eer S tyles

word for “clear” and thus this is a filtered weizenbier. A kristall will retain the signature weizen character but have a more serene, refined taste, almost lager-like. Kristall weizen has had all of the yeast, and much of the chill haze, removed, as most beers in Germany would have. This is not to say it is any less enjoyable than a hefe, just softer. Dunkelweizen: Dunkel is German for “dark,” so this is literally a dark wheat beer. Dark malts are used to deepen the color and character of the brew, and they display the customary weizen character. Caramel sweetness, along with raisin and chocolate notes, may be detected. These are roughly the same strength as a hefe weizen and most German weissbier breweries include them in their portfolio. The final member of the wheat family, weizenbock, has a separate history that warrants special mention later. Enjoying Wheat Beers

Weizenbock: A Remarkable Wheat Some of the most beloved beers in the world are those that blend distinct styles to create a vibrant and perfect marriage. One style, weizenbock (wheat bock), is not generally recognized as a product of beery fusion, but it certainly is. The original bock of the 14th century was actually a weizenbock. Bock later lost its wheat element, leaving room for the reintroduction of weizenbock just a hundred years ago as a new style. Both wheat and bock beer components express themselves nobly in weizenbock. They are rich and malty like a doppelbock, full of fruity esters and spiciness like a dunkelweizen, and also showcase the dark fruit, molasses and sherry notes to old ale, Baltic porter and doppelbock. Seitecommon 1

These are rambunctious brews due to the higher carbonation levels and demand some attention when pouring. They itch to be liberated from the bottle and can erupt effusively. They are best served in a purposed-designed German wheat beer glass (handsome collectibles by the way) that will hold a full HEFE/DUNKEL-177x127/USA.qxp6 21.08.2008 14:30 Uhr

half-liter bottle with plenty of room to spare. The yeast can be roused before pouring, or the beer decanted off the yeast. Some swirl the remainder and add that last. It has become standard practice in some places to put a lemon wedge on the side of the glass, leaving its addition to the beer up to the drinker. Try it without the lemon. It is a shame to disguise the very things that make a wheat beer unique with a flavor as strong as lemon.

The World’s Most Popular Wheat Beer Imported from Germany by Distinguished Brands International, Littleton, CO USA • the Complete World of B eer S tyles



Schneider’s Synthesis Bavarian brewmaster Georg Schneider’s contribution to this style would not come until well after he rescued weizenbier from the scrap heap in 1872, a stroke of genius that needs to be examined relative to weizenbock’s other donor style, doppelbock. The most coveted brews of the 14th century in continental Europe were those of Einbeck in northern Germany, because of their expertise in hop production, and malting skill. Their famous bockbier was strong, but also had a delicate and well-balanced character, as it used one-third wheat in the grist and was fully lagered. By this association, one could deduce that it was the original weizenbock, and may have been quite similar to those that we enjoy today. Munich’s beers were mediocre by comparison, and, in fact, its brewers enlisted the expertise of Einbeck’s craftsmen to improve their own beer. Bock morphed into a barley-only brew, and soon enough, doppelbock was developed by monks at the St. Francis of Paula monastery near Munich in the 18th century. Strong, wheat-based beers may have existed, but if they had, they were in direct PIKANTUS-88,9x127/USA.qxp6 21.08.2008 13:58 Uhr violation of the Reinheitsgebot.

Wheat Beers

Weihenstephaner Kristallweissbier This classic from Brauerei Weihenstephan pours a strawgold, with a billowing white head. The foam is fed by a steady stream of carbonation. The nose is grainy, with a wisp of noble hops, and a firm dose of banana and vanilla. It is lively on the palate, presents soft banana and clove flavors, and finishes with a light sweetlactic tartness. The filtration Seite 1makes this a delicate beer, but leaves behind the qualities that define South German wheat beers. 5.4% ABV

Franziskaner Weissbier

The World’s Most Popular Wheat Beer Imported from Germany by Distinguished Brands International, Littleton, CO USA •


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

From the famous SpatenFranziskaner Brauerei in Munich, Germany, it pours lemon-gold with an orange tint. The aroma is rather active and dominated by vanilla and clove, with lesser notes of banana, lemon and honey. The flavor is no less complex, tangy and citrusy up front, and finishing with the familiar clove, vanilla and banana found in the aroma along with a hint of apricot. Very refreshing with a bit of yeast texture, it leaves a lingering impression in the mouth. A busy but mellow example of a classic Bavarian hefeweizen. 5.0% ABV

Tucher Dunkles Hefe Weizen Enters the glass with a bulging, moussy head, capping a turbid, tawnybronze brew. The nose is reminiscent of fresh wheat bread, cloves, caramel, cinnamon and banana. The taste is not as tart as a golden hefeweizen, but carries a combination of toasted malt, dark honey and caramel, with the ever-present spicy/banana notes. The finish is satisfying and refreshing and the empty glass is left with some of the original beige foam and lots of lacing. 5.4% ABV

G. Schneider and Sohn Aventinus Brewed in Kelheim, just north of Munich, it is dubbed “Germany’s original wheatdoppelbock.” Mahogany in color, it presents the expected turbidity, and a tall, almost brown crown that leaves some lacing. Chocolate, cherries, vanilla and sherry grace the aroma. Quite malty and rich, full-bodied, and full of raisins, caramel and molasses on the palate. Very creamy and complex, with minor notes of banana and clove. The finish has a bit of earthy oakiness. A classic all the way around. Aventinus also is available in an eisbock. 8.2% ABV

This brings us back to the Schneider Weisse Brauhaus in Munich. In a brilliant business move, the Schneiders acted upon the trend of the day without straying from their mission. One of the most popular seasonal brews in Bavaria in the early 20th century, and one that was gaining market share, was the rich, bottom-fermented doppelbock. The retort by Schneider was to make a classic Bavarian brew that was unlike any other, but nevertheless was similar to doppelbock. In 1907 they launched Aventinus, a dark wheat beer that rivaled doppelbock in strength and color, but also offered the familiar profile of the popular and rustic dunkelweizen. It was an instant hit. They boasted that it was conditioned with the Méthode Champenoise, which was later dubbed the Méthode Bavaroise. In hindsight, it can be said that the clever and resolute Schneiders not only rescued weizenbier from oblivion, but also astutely invented a style that remains unique today, as it was then. The name Schneider translates to “tailor” in English, and they were truly that in stitching together the original weizenbock. Building a Beer Few beer styles incorporate disparate complexity as deftly as weizenbock. Hefeweizen is known for its banana, clove

and vanilla esters, among other things. Dunkelweizen (dark wheat) marries those qualities with darker German malts, such as caramel and Munich. Bocks rely on their sumptuous maltiness. All three brews are lightly-hopped. Weizenbock is essentially a trinity of those styles. The fruity esters and spiciness, a byproduct of top-fermenting weizen yeast, fuses nuances of raisin, prune and molasses. Bready melanoidins add a savory banana bread fragrance. The mouthfeel is full. Wheat offers creaminess with the bonus of a billowing head. Malted wheat is used at a proportion of 50 percent in the grist, give or take. Most weizenbocks come in at between 6.5 and 9.0 percent ABV, with a bit more attenuation and dryness than a bock or doppelbock and a modicum of tartness. A weizenbock must have a gravity of at least 1064 to be labeled as such, and 1072 to be called a weizen doppelbock, as Aventinus is. They are cloudy to one degree or another, owing to bottleconditioning, which lends an earthy and rustic texture. Weizenbock offers the beer drinker a chance to savor many facets of classic brews rolled into one. Even so, it has no rough edges, but an easy, contemplative personality. A single entity fills the glass, but then a prism of distinct components gently introduce themselves to the senses. 

Thirst for Life.





the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



The Ales of The Rhineland here is little debate about Germany’s prowess as a lager-

brewing giant. And though its outstanding and widely consumed wheat beers are top-fermented, Germany will always be known more for its splendid collection of bottom fermenters. However, in the northwest cities of Köln and Dusseldorf, where Kölsch and altbier reign supreme, top fermentation is still the preferred method. Both are kings of their respective cities. In the Rhineland, this civic pride spurs spirited debate between the two, as if they are disconnected from the rest of Germany. And that is the mentality that sums up the very reason that each beer exists: a staunch adherence to and love for something to call their own. To their respective devotees, Kölsch and altbier are the crown jewel of brewing art.

Ode to Köln A beer may not make a city great, but certainly it can enhance its identity. In Köln, the brewers of Kölsch bier are uniquely protected by beerdom’s equivalent of France’s appellation contrôlée: Only beer brewed within a specified area around Köln can be called Kölsch. It is a remarkable beer: golden-hued, both topfermented (in the manner of an ale) and cold conditioned (in the tradition of a lager). Elegant and well-balanced, Kölsch melds the traditional and relatively nouveau and manages hybridization without compromise. Historical Kölsch Köln was established as a colonial Roman trade outpost in 33 B.C. on what was then the frontier of the empire. Its proximity to England and location

Beer Style:

Rhineland Ales

Glass style: stange or becher Serving Temperature: 48° F Food Pairing: fish, shellfish, egg dishes (Kölsch);

sausage, Mexican dishes, pizza (alt)


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

on the Rhine River made it an important and busy town. The six monasteries in and around Köln helped establish the area as a respectable brewing region during the Middle Ages. Over the course of a few centuries, secular brewing interests increased and thrived alongside the monastic breweries. In order to protect their local brewing trade and organization, the brewers and monks of Köln instituted the Köln Guild of Brewers in 1396, which established standards and guidelines within the city. It also insulated them from the influence of the burgeoning European brewing scene. Though the beers didn’t resemble modern Kölsch bier in the least, it nevertheless established a pervasive mindset that exists today. Historical sources describe the forerunners of Kölsch as being highly hopped, of low strength and golden in color. These beers have been in existence in Köln since the 1830s and at times employed bottom fermentation, in vogue at the time. The brewers of Köln enjoyed great prosperity until the years preceding World War II. The poor economic conditions in the 1930s and the devastating bombing raids during the war severely crippled the brewing industry. Many breweries were badly damaged or destroyed, but slowly emerged and flourished anew. The resolve of the brewers led to further definition and refining of its product, and the city became known for a single, identifiable and strictly defined type of beer. This led to the Kölsch Konvention of 1986, which established the parameters under which the appellation “Kölsch” can be used. About two dozen breweries participate. If you have ever had a real Kölsch, then you can appreciate the reason for the commitment to the style.


Rhineland Ales

Reissdorf Kölsch One of only two Kölsch imported to North America. Delightfully dry, refreshing and light. The house yeast gives the brew a subtle spicy and winey undertone. The Reissdorf brewery has been in existence since 1894 and was instrumental in the post-World War II brewing renaissance in Köln. 4.8% ABV

Carolina Brewery Sky Blue Golden Ale Brewed in Chapel Hill, NC, and definitively Kölsch in style, it is deemed “a lighter beer that still has handcrafted integrity.” It is easy to see why this brew has won a silver medal at the World Beer Championships. Bright gold in color, with a snow-white head, the fresh Halletauer hops give way to a lightly sweet, snappy malt finish. Properly fermented with a German ale yeast and cold-conditioned, it is still a favorite in this university town after many years.

Uerige Alt Zum Uerige is the pre-eminent Düsseldorf brewpub. It serves a classic altbier, and in the opinion of many, the finest. Very aromatic, bright and coppery, and bursting with both malt and hops in the bouquet, this very assertive beer would be too bitter for some were it not for the rich, dark malt platform to offset the hops. Smooth, deep and savory, the hops linger forever, a constant reminder of what is to come. The label proudly refers to its beer as dat leckere Dröppke, the delicious drop. The brewpub is nestled in the heart of the Altstadt, and is the quintessential altbier experience. 5.0% ABV. Its Sticke Altbier offers all of the same, in more robust fashion at 6.0% ABV.

Otter Creek Copper Ale This is the flagship brew from Otter Creek in Middlebury, VT. Medium-copper in color, with a fairly impressive clinging, frothy head. The aroma is rather pronounced and floral, with a nice malty background. The taste is toasty and grainy, the hop bitterness is not overwhelming but instead balances the malt quite well. The finish is pretty tight, with the malt overshadowing the hops. A nice, rich interpretation of an altbier, it is a very versatile brew, great for any taste, cuisine or occasion. 5.4% AB

Modern Kölsch Kölsch bier is the top-fermented counterpart to the pale lagers that are pervasive in Germany. It owes its color to a simple grain bill of pilsner malt and, in some cases, a small measure of wheat (less than 10 percent). By using this most delicate of malts, Kölsch is given a soft, grainy character. Highly attenuative yeasts are used which, when coupled with the simple pale malt grist, generate a dry, quenching palate. As the yeast is a top-fermenting one (a holdover from earlier times and a diversion from lager-loving Germany), a subtle fruitiness may also develop during fermentation. Kölsch is often considered a hybridized beer because it is cold-conditioned for several weeks post fermentation. Primary fermentation temperatures may also be tempered a bit to reduce any extraneous flavors that might obscure its delicacy. German noble hops, of course, are used to bitter and lightly aromatize. Hops provide a balance to the beer, as they are dosed neither too aggressively nor too timidly. The synergistic art of Köln braumeisters gives us a beer that is bright gold, dry in palate, well-balanced, softly aromatic and amazingly drinkable at about 4.8 percent ABV. Kölsch Culture To get the real Kölsch experience, it is necessary to travel to Köln itself. There are more than 20 breweries/ brewpubs in the area, each producing its own interpretation of the style. Each is minutely distinct even though they emerge from strict brewing guidelines, with slight variations in body, bitterness and aromatics. Nowhere is house character more subtly defined. A visit to the pubs in Köln is a unique experience. The beer is served in small (20 cl.), cylindrical glasses delivered by waiters, known as Kobes, who tirelessly zip around the tavern dispensing these golden liquid gems until asked to stop. Regrettably, German Kölsch beer is not very easy to find in North America, as only Reissdorf and Gaffel Kölsch are available here. American breweries are increasingly making German ales, as they present something of an untapped challenge. Kölsch made anywhere outside the Konvention-defined area should technically be labeled as “Kölsch-style,” though this deference is not always observed. Kölsch is enigmatic, elusive and, to most, somewhat mysterious. The recent interest in German ales may indeed result in more brewers crafting it outside its

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


homeland. Until then, savor those available. Better yet, beat the summer heat with a sojourn to the Rhineland and experience all things Kölsch firsthand.

Altbier Altbier, or old beer, is so called because of the reverential grasp its brewers have maintained on Rhineland brewing traditions. Indigenous to Düsseldorf, altbiers are topfermented, full of hops and with a winsome copper color. Altbier bridges the chasm between ales and lagers in a manner that flatters both. The Roots of Altbier Rhineland brewers were not bound by the heavy-handed decree of the Reinheitsgetbot, and this independence allowed them an opportunity to splinter from other brewing circles of Germany. The cool climate permitted brewing throughout the year, which was illegal in Bavaria. Thusly, a separate brewing culture was nurtured in the Lower Rhineland that is very much alive today in Düsseldorf and Köln. Once again, the innovations of the early 19th century that led to the crystal-clear, golden lager beers known as pilsner, influenced the brewers in Munich. Before long, most of Continental Europe was brewing similar beers. Indirectly, these malting innovations resulted in consistent, more palatable traditional dark malts. In Bavaria, old-style dark beers like Munich dunkels and bocks were not abandoned, but refined with this malt and improved lager fermentation knowledge. In the northwest, the brewers of Düsseldorf embraced the malting technology, but eschewed lager yeasts. It is easy to see how the altbiers evolved both on this history and a stubborn resistance to trendiness. Altbier Profile Altbier brewers employ the same elegant malts that German lagerbier brewers do. Generally the grist is composed of pilsner malt, Munich malt and a small measure of a dark variety such as caramel or black malt. Pilsner malt provides a crisp base to the beer. Munich malt lends a toasted malt flavor and aroma, a bit more residual character and an engaging copper/bronze color. The dark malts, used in very small quantities, are added almost solely for color. The malts are mashed in such a manner that helps create a dry-finishing product. Authentic altbiers are among the more heavily-hopped beers. In fact, the quantitative measure of their bitterness would seem to reach the intensity of an IPA. A taste, however, will reveal a dry, lingering bitterness that is not at all lopsided. This profuse use of hops is tempered marvelously by the qualities of the German malt, and a period of post-fermentation conditioning at cold tem26

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

peratures that reduces the sharp-edged bitterness. Hop additions for flavor and aroma are kept to a minimum. The uncommon Spalter variety is the signature hop in the more traditional recipes. Altbiers are top-fermented. But because they were brewed in the cool climate of the Lower Rhine, yeast that is tolerant of lower temperatures is needed. Slow and steady workers, the altbier yeasts perform at temperatures in the range that generally separates the usual ale and lager fermentation. The result is an ale that presents little of the estery, fruity character of most other ales. Instead, there is a soft, lightly malty, sweet, toasty aroma that is clean and inviting. Altbier yeast is very aggressive in its ability to attenuate wort, leaving it fairly dry. Altbiers are also unusual ales in that they undergo a period of cold-conditioning, or lagering, to help round out the beer. In fact, the designation obergärige lagerbier (top-fermented lager beer) can be found on some labels. A fully mature altbier is a beautifully round package of clean, malty flavor produced by subdued, but full, fermentation, and hopped copiously, then finished with a mellowing spell of lagering. Most are in the range of 4.5 to 5 percent ABV. Discover Altbier True altbier heaven is, of course, Düsseldorf. There are several famous altbier breweries within the city limits. A sampling would unearth subtle differences, but all exhibit the glistening bronze or burnished-copper color, the lingering bitterness and the light, malty background. The area of the city known as the Altstadt (Old Town) has within its confines three altbier brewpubs (Zum Uerige, Im Füchschen and Zum Schlüssel). Scattered around the city are a few others. Most bars feature one of the many locally made alts. The brewpubs and taverns in Düsseldorf have a reputation of being busy and eclectic. Coupled with some world-class beer, this would make for some fine entertainment. Often altbier is dispensed from wooden casks by gravity and is always served in stubby, cylindrical glasses. The bright, crystal-clear altbier supports a fine, stiff head that is typical of beers made with the protein-rich German malt. The style is also represented in some of the surrounding cities in the Rhineland. Breweries in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland make their own interpretations. The American landscape is somewhat barren with regard to altbier offerings, but they are seemingly becoming more popular. Altbier is an esoteric brew because of its ale/lager nature and restricted availability. It is not a brew that has rediscovered its past, but one that has resolutely remained true to its tradition and character. Altbier is a tangible symbol of Rhineland pride and demonstrates that the status quo is often enduring perfection.

Be Responsible. ©2008 Dundee Brewing Company, Rochester, NY.

Craft beers should be appreciated one at a time. So should craft beer drinkers. At Dundee beer, we don’t brew our family of Ales & Lagers for the masses. We brew them for you. How do we do that? By appreciating that you are an individual, different today than you were yesterday. Different from the first toast to the last. And different from everyone else you raise a glass with. That’s why the Dundee family of Ales & Lagers is carefully crafted to provide a perfect choice for your mood, your mindset, and your meal. Your beer does not define you. It reflects you. Be yourself and choose.

The Complete World of



Bock to Basics f it’s the pure, unobstructed essence of malt you crave, then Ger-

man bock is your brew. Born and raised in Germany, traditional bock beer and its brethren present unfettered maltiness like no other style of brew. These strong, lusty lagers come in several substyles beyond traditional bock—the stronger doppelbock; the paler, springtime helles/maibock and the freeze-fortified eisbock. Bocks run the color gamut from golden to dark brown, and the strength scale from moderately strong to bludgeoning force. Some bocks are seasonal or coincide with religious calendars, but many can be found throughout the year. The Birth of Bock The roots of bock beer can be traced to the 14th century and the city of Einbeck in northern Germany. Einbeck was a major European trade center in the Middle Ages and a member of the powerful Hanseatic League, a group of cities that worked together to protect each other’s trade interests during a tumultuous time. Einbeck’s beers were highly regarded throughout Europe and, with the aid of the League, it wasn’t long before the product was exported to England, Scandanavia, the Mideast, and Mediterranean and Baltic countries. The city is located in one of the earliest hop growing regions in Europe. Einbeck beer was brewed with the palest malt available—one-third wheat and two-thirds barley—making for a more delicate than usual beverage. It was brewed only in winter and stored cold, significantly mellowing its character. When compared to the generally murky, darker brews of the day, it’s no wonder that those of Einbeck won so many fans. Even though Munich was a brewing center during the same time, its beer couldn’t match that Beer Style: Bock Glass style: pilsner glass, stem glass Serving Temperature: 48° F Food Pairing: rustic cheese, game, ham, roast

chicken, grilled vegetables, custard dessert, foie gras


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

of Einbeck. The Munich braumeisters set out to address this disparity. In 1612, Duke Maximillian I invited the best brewer in Einbeck, Elias Pichler, to teach the moxie necessary to produce Einbeck beer. Munich’s indigenous brown beer, probably the forerunner of today’s dunkel, was thereafter made using the Einbeck procedure. The resultant brew still was dark, and probably stronger. It became wildly popular, and is probably a forerunner of traditional bock. Today’s traditional bocks are dark brown, and check in at 6 to 7 percent ABV. Aass and Einbecker Ur-Bock Dunkel are outstanding representatives of the style. There are various legends, some believable and others farfetched, about the origin of the name “bock.” One theory holds that it is a corruption of Einbeck. Another cites the German word for goat as the origin, referring to the kick of the strong brew or its coincidence with zodiacal Capricorn. Yet another cites a corruption of the German word pogkmedt (mead) as the origin. Still another attributes bock to Ainpoekische, dialectic Bavarian for Einbeck, and a shortened version, Poeckishe Pier. This seems the most logical, but it is still open to debate.

Doppelbock The Paulaner brewery of Munich can lay claim to the creation of doppelbock as a style. Italian monks from the order of St. Francis of Paula crossed the Alps and settled near Munich. Devout Catholics, they followed their traditions religiously, which



Capital Blonde Doppelbock

Hofbräuhaus Maibock

Ayinger Celebrator

Brewed in Middleton, WI, the heart of U.S. lager country, by Capital Brewery as a limited release in March and April. Bright gold in color, it pours with a rich, white head. The aroma is soft and malty, with a hint of noble hops. The taste is crisp, well balanced, clean and malty. A cross between a helles bock and a doppelbock. Any trip to Madison should include a short side trip to Capital to enjoy its many fine beers, including a maibock, in the biergarten.

Brewed by the famous Hofbräuhaus brewpub in Munich, Hofbräuhaus Maibock is considered the first of the modern bocks that were brewed lighter and designated for May Day celebrations. Pale copper, with a billowing and slowly retreating white head. Toasty and honeylike aroma, with some light esters. Malty, with a faint caramel flavor, a medium body and a light, spicy hop character. Its smoothness belies its strength. 7.2% ABV

Deep mahogany in color, with a tan head. Brewed in the village of Aying, in the foothills of the German Alps not far from Munich. The aroma is pure malt and little hop. Dark malts are very much in evidence in the flavor, with caramel and light roasty notes. It is relatively dry for a bock and the roasty finish lingers nicely. Truly a classic. 6.7% ABV

EKU 28 Medium copper in color, with a fleeting, beige head. It is so viscous that it clings to the glass. The aroma is very rich, with tons of caramel and pure maltiness. Somewhat estery in the nose, with raisin and cherry and a mere hint of hops. The mouthfeel is dense, and the alcohol is evident, but not hot. The flavor is rich, perhaps a bit fruity, and the finish is creamy and warming. This brew is brawny without being offensive. 11.0% ABV

8.5% ABV

meant fasting occasionally. Solid food was verboten, but liquid, not. As the monks were expert brewers, making a brew that sustained them during the abstinence seemed a logical choice. Strong and nutritious fit the bill perfectly, providing physical and mental sustenance. The monks established the Paulaner brewery in 1634 (coincidently, not long after Herr Pilcher from Einbeck visited Munich). Their beer became available to the public in 1780. The beer was named Salvator (The Savior), and it carries that name to this day. As the beer became popular, other breweries in Bavaria successfully brewed similar ones. Doppelbock literally means “double bock,” but it isn’t really twice the strength of traditional bock, only marginally stronger. They are generally dark in color, from dark amber to dark brown, though some pale versions exist. A beer can be considered a doppelbock only if it’s original gravity is no lower than 1072. As there is virtually no hop flavor and aroma, virtually all of this style’s character can be attributed to its Munich-style malt and brewing practices. Munich malts are darkened from some extra kilning and also rendered less fermentable, resulting in full-bodied, dextrinous wort. The character of these flavorful malts can be augmented by using time-

consuming, complicated decoction mashing techniques. The extra boiling during decoction, and perhaps in the kettle post-mash, results in caramelization and a myriad of other chemical reactions that benefit the flavor of the finished beer. All of this adds up to a multifaceted, rich brew. The lagering period is lengthy, often several months in duration. The darker doppelbocks have distinct caramel and chocolate notes and sometimes a faint roastiness, whereas the amber versions have a slick, clean malt palate. Most doppelbocks fall in the 7 to 8.5 percent ABV range but some are significantly higher. Coming in at 9.6 percent ABV is Urbock 23 from the Eggenberg brewery of Austria, established in 1681. The designation “23” refers to its original gravity in degrees Plato, roughly a 1092 specific gravity. It is very pale, pure tasting and honeyish. Stronger still is a product from the Hürlimann brewery in Zurich known as Samichlaus. At about 15 percent ABV, with a starting gravity of about 1120, it is brewed but once a year, on St. Nicholas Day, December 6. After fermentation, it is lagered until the following St. Nick’s day, when it is released just in time for winter. Reddish brown in color, and plush beyond description, it retains a smoothness despite its potency. This beer will cellar for quite some time.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


Helles Bock/Maibock Alternatively known as helles (bright) bock or maibock (May bock), these are brewed in winter and released in late April and May as a seasonal to coincide with spring celebrations, or as the focus of one. They are rich yet not overbearing, and are enjoyed before the searing throes of summer. They are transitional, as the warming offerings of winter and early spring give way to something lighter. Skilled brewers subdue the malty overtones of dark bock, and match them to the subtleties of lighter fare. These pale bocks range in color from deep gold to light amber. Naturally, light malts are used almost exclusively to produce them. As pale malts were unheard of until early in the 19th century, maibocks themselves are relatively new, stylistically speaking. Helles/maibocks are often given a slightly higher dose of hops than other bocks, producing a fresher, livelier aroma and more balance. Once again, the development of pale malt had much

to do with the introduction of a beer style, in this case maibock, as many brewers scuttled to match the hubbub created by pale lagers in the 19th century. Coincidentally, there was no beer crafted for the period right before the heat of summer. The vacuum was filled by the Hofbräuhaus of Munich, which produced the first maibock for annual May Day celebrations. The brewery deftly took advantage of the public’s infatuation with pale beers by making a strong lager with the maltiness for which Munich was famous. The urtyp (original version) was born, and soon many German breweries latched onto the beer and the appeal of the seasonal release. Brewing maibock or helles bock requires some skill. To adhere to convention, a bock must have an original gravity of at least 1064. It must also possess some muscle, body and maltiness, while retaining a degree of finesse. Finally, it has to be somewhat refreshing. A fine line to straddle, indeed. German lager base malts add lots of character without overwhelming the wort. Pilsner malt produces golden wort, Vienna malt a light amber wort and Munich malt full amber wort. As this is roughly the color range of a finished helles bock (golden) or maibock (light to medium amber), these malts are perfectly suited. They are used either alone or in various combinations. Vienna and Munich malts are lightly kilned for the rich, bready, toasted melanoidin aromas associated with darker German brews. In maibock, these aromas aren’t covered by the use of caramel or roasted malt. German breweries might employ a decoction mash to further enrich the malty components. A helles bock, on the other hand, might simply use pilsner malt as its grist, a decoction mash and a lengthy boil to concentrate the soft malt character. The finished beer ranges from 6 to 7.5 percent ABV.

Eisbock In yet another twist in strong lager production, some breweries produce eisbock. Simply put, this is a strong beer that is made stronger by freezing. As the water portion will freeze first, the beer is concentrated by the removal of the resultant ice. One brewery that employs this strategy is Kulmbacher of Kulmbach, Germany. The beer is known as Reichelbraü, about 9.2 percent ABV with the signature dark doppelbock color and malty character. Another brewery from Kulmbach, EKU, produces a strong bock called EKU 28 that uses a minimal concentrating step of freezing. The “28” is a designation of its degrees Plato, which gives the beer about 11 percent ABV. It is amber in color and aromatic. Georg Schneider also employs this “eis” strategy for their Aventinus Weizen Eisbock. 30

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

The Complete World of





touts and porters are the most common of the black beers, but only

one brew uses the designation in its formal stylistic name, the schwarzbiers of Germany. Literally translated as “black beer,” schwarzbier is perhaps the “Lucy” of all Germanic beers, with their old-style rusticity and connection to the cradle of German brewing. They are deep red-black in color and exhibit all of the traditional roundness of German lager brewing. These most venerable of beers are thankfully wending their way back into the mainstream after a long period of obscurity. Land of Plenty Authentic schwarzbiers of today make their home in what could be considered the most important region in the known history of brewing. Encompassing portions of both Germany and the Czech Republic, the area is famous for generating many innovations and supporting an unprecedented concentration of breweries. Bavaria, and Munich specifically, brought lager brewing to the forefront. In Lower Saxony to the north, the city of Einbeck was once a brewing epicenter, with over 700 breweries during the Middle Ages. To the east, in the Czech Republic and not far from the modern German border, lies Plzen, the birthplace of pilsner. Lying smack in the heart of this territory are the brewing cities of Bad Köstritz and Kulmbach, in Thuringen and northern Bavaria, respectively. This is the home of schwarzbier and the origin of Germanic brewing.

The Cradle A rich mosaic of tribal people inhabited this region during the first millennium BC. One of the settlements was the modern-day locale of Kulmbach. In 1935, an amphora dated to about 800 BC was unearthed from a burial site near the city; it contained the residue of charred bread made with barley and wheat. As this is the eldest evidence of brewing in Germany, Kulmbach may be the home of the most ancient continuous brewing culture in the world. It could also be argued that a beer made from such ingredients is a forerunner to schwarzbier.

The first historical mention of brewing in Kulmbach proper is from 1174. Through the middle of the second millennium AD, lager brewing practices gradually replaced ale techniques in central and eastern Europe and stylistic niches developed along cultural, geographical and agricultural lines. Many of the beers we know today are remnants of those times. Schwarzbiers are no exception and, along with the rauchbier (smoked beer) of Bamberg, may be the most seminal of all the Germanic brews. The use of roasted and smoked malt, respectively, are characteristics that have persisted in these two styles. Modern schwarzbiers are produced throughout southeast and eastern Germany, some from breweries in the former East Germany. One such is from the spa town of Bad Köstritz, in Thuringia, whose commercial brewing roots can be traced back to 1505. It is considered the benchmark of the style.

Schwarzbier Profile Implicit in the moniker, schwarzbier is at first glance indeed a black beer. Upon closer inspection, it is less inky and opaque than stout or porter. Still, it is the blackest of the lagers made in Germany.

Beer Style: Schwarzbier Glass style: pilsner glass, seidel or maaskrug Serving Temperature: 48° F Food Pairing: Food pairing: grilled steak, spicy

dishes, roast lamb

the Complete World of B eer S tyles




Köstritzer Schwarzbier

Einbecker Schwarzbier

Brewed in Bad Köstritz in Thuringia, Germany, since the 16th century, it is probably the best-known schwarzbier. It is quite dark, almost opaque, with deep burgundy highlights. The aroma presents a mixture of coffee, chocolate and malt, with a little hop nose as well. It is drier than one would expect and packs a nice balance of hop bitterness. Very complex: a world classic for any style.

From the Einbecker Brauhaus in Einbeck, Lower Saxony, and the birthplace of bock. Dark ruby-brown in appearance, it has a decidedly malty nose, with more Munich character than roast. Soft malt flavor and quite dry, with a stiff hop bitterness that loiters a bit in the finish. Some caramel notes also. Medium-light in body with a well-rounded flavor. 4.9% ABV

4.8% ABV

Mönchshof Schwarzbier Brewed by the Kulmbacher Brauerei in Kulmbach, Bavaria. Named “black beer of the monks” and dubbed “the black pils.” It pours with a nice, lacey, tan head and is deep brown in color. The complex aroma is roasty and malty at the same time with a noticeable hop character. Rich, medium body and great mouthfeel. Bittersweet, dark chocolate is in the flavor, which is backed up by a pronounced and lingering hoppiness. Very smooth and drinkable.


Sprecher Black Bavarian Brewed in Milwaukee by one of the best U.S. lager breweries. Dark brown, almost black in color, pouring with a rich brown head. Full of roasted character in the nose, with an American hop background. Full bodied and creamy on the palate. The flavor is alive with caramel, cocoa and roast. It is a substantial, wellbalanced brew, billed as a “Kulmbacher-style lager.” Overall, this one is as earthy as it gets. 5.8% ABV

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Schwarzbier brewers get the desired color by using roasted barley, albeit at much more reserved proportions than required for an opaque stout. German roast is often de-husked and produced from malted barley (making it Reinheitsgebot-friendly), whereas roasted barley for ales is simply roasted, unmalted barley. The result is a less harsh flavor. Though the malt is used sparingly, it leaves a profound, unique footprint in the beer. The remainder of the grist is usually a combination of pale pilsner malt and some version of Munich malt. Its malty contribution is a perfect complement to the character of a schwarzbier. The aromatic quality of the Munich malt is evident as well, presenting a toasted, bittersweet nose. For a German lager, the hop profile of a schwarzbier is fairly pronounced. While most rely on the malt background to chauffeur the beer through the palate, schwarzbiers can have a little extra bitterness, giving them an eclectic personality. This is not to say that they are overly hoppy, just well balanced. Hop aroma is reserved, but evident. Schwarzbier is distinctive in combining lots of characteristics into a diverse outline of style. It has great depth of color, equidistant between a stout and a dunkel. In a sense, they might be considered the “stout” of lager beers, but the roast is more timid and clean, giving the brew a mellow flavor, reminiscent of bitter dark chocolate. Strengthwise, they are modest at 4.5 to 5.5 percent ABV. The hearty smack of hop bitterness leaves a dryish impression. But the quality that makes the beer uncannily coherent is that it is a lager. Cold fermentation and cold conditioning mitigate the edges and round the beer out in typical German fashion. Lagering also lends a lucid and bright appearance. It is a straightforward beer, with enough nuance to be complex.

Black Gold There may be no higher concentration of breweries in the world than in the region where schwarzbiers are brewed. The numerous small breweries there might produce a schwarzbier that never leaves their city limits. It might even be unfiltered. Schwarzbiers have gained quite a bit of notoriety in recent years. Whether it’s because of the consumer’s penchant for undiscovered beers, or because of a unified Germany making more of them available, is of little matter. Of note, however, is that one of the newest faces on the beer scene is perhaps one of its oldest residents: a sweet and delicious irony.

s ty l e s f r o m t h e

Belgian-French Tradition

The Complete World of



Belgian Witbier ew summer quenchers offer the satisfaction of Belgian witbiers. Be-

yond the light, fluffy body and tart, lemony finish, they offer enough layered aroma and flavor to rival hearty winter beers. Witbiers tantalize the senses with evocative reminders of the summer season. Textured with wheat, rambunctiously yeasty, with herbal hints, and scented with pungent spices, witbiers are a bounty in a tumbler. Add to that a touch of enchanting Belgian individuality, with a nod to brewing history, and this is a transcendent treat to beat the heat. Traditional Wit Witbiers are yet another example of a style that nearly expired, but is now quite popular following an enthusiastic rebirth. Bière blanche in French, wits share a history with many of the enduring Belgian beer styles: a product of monasteries developed as a regional specialty. Monastic versions of witbier were being brewed in the 14th century. They were an expression of that which was available in the area east of Brussels, including the city of Louvain and the village of Hoegaarden, in the farmlands of Brabant. Blessed with sinfully rich soil and spirited agrarianism, Brabant’s farmers tended fields of barley, wheat and oats, all of which are utilized in traditional witbiers. The practice of adding spices to the kettle remained long after hops became the predominant flavoring. This is evident in today’s witbiers, though today they are of a more exotic nature. This is not terribly surprising, as some of the Spice Islands were colonized in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when Belgium was part of the Netherlands. Indigenous and ancient herbal gruit formulations gave way to foreign spices. The city of Hoegaarden was so interested in protecting its unique product that a brewers’ guild was formed there in the 1700s. Witbier was the dominant style immediately east of Brussels, around Louvain and Hoegaarden, as recently as the 18th century. The two municipalities were fierce competitors at the time, with Bière Blanche de Louvain being more popular than Blanche de Hougaerde. Though Hoegaarden witbier was by

no means an inferior product, well-heeled Louvain was able to promote its product more tenaciously. Hoegaarden was highly-regarded in its own right, as at least twenty breweries specializing in witbier operated there in the 1800s. The 19th century onslaught of pale lager ushered in the decline and, ultimately, the near-death of many regional brews. It was due in some part to novelty, but also to improved shipping and commerce. As the world became smaller, local fare seemed old-fashioned, and new products, exhilarating. In Hoegaarden, the stylistic cradle, this demise culminated finally in 1960, when no witbiers were being brewed. In fact, it was produced in only a few places anywhere in Belgium by then. All but extinct, witbier had on its side one of the great proponents of craft beer in the past 40 years, and he was not about to let something so personally significant disappear. His name is Pierre Celis, and his spunk and vitality are symbolized in the very beer he resurrected and without whom, we’d be pining over memories of vanished Belgian witbier.

Beer Style: Belgian


Glass style: tumbler, pint glass, pilsner glass Serving Temperature: 48–50° F Food Pairing: steamed shellfish, egg dishes,

white fish, Thai dishes, sushi

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



Modern Wit and Wisdom Pierre Celis grew up and worked as a milkman around Hoegaarden. Lamenting the loss of his cherished witbier, he decided to make his own. He purchased some used brewing equipment, fitted out a small brewery and, by 1966, was producing. He named the brewery De Kluis (The Cloister), in reverence to the roots of monastic brewing. Through his efforts, quaint became popular, in a reversion to a more natural, less-refined product. The popularity of Celis’ witbier goaded others, and by the mid-80s, many were being brewed in Belgium. Celis brought his expertise to Austin, TX, and with the same approach of using local ingredients as much as possible, founded the Celis Brewery in 1992. His influence can still be seen today across America and Canada.

A Witty Pose What then, defines a witbier? While the word itself means “white beer,” there are two compulsory attributes: the grist must contain up to 50 percent wheat (historical decree mandated six parts wheat to 10 parts barley and oats), and it must have a summary cologne of spice.


Hoegaarden Original White Ale The archetype from the Brouwerij van Hoegaarden, and known thereabouts as La Bière Blanche Originale, Hoegaarden Original was the definitive springboard for witbier. Hazy and straw-gold, and crowned with a regal, billowing, snowy head that releases an intricate perfume of honey, citrus, vanilla and especially coriander. It tiptoes lightly on the palate, with a surprisingly full body and a touch of sweetness. The flavor mimics the aroma. Imminently refreshing, and a classic in every sense of the word. 4.9% ABV

St. Bernardus Witbier From the Brouwerij St. Bernardus in Watou, Belgium, this witbier was tailored with the help of the master himself, Pierre Celis. Dark-gold, with a moussey, lingering, lacey head. An earthy, citrus aroma, with hints of coriander and orange. The body and flavor are fuller than most wits, with a yeasty chewiness and good malt backbone. A paradoxical mix of sweet and dry, with a tart lemon-orange and herbal wrap. Bigger all the way around than most, a pleasantly divergent version. 5.5% ABV

Hitachino Nest Allagash White Portland, ME is home to the Allagash Brewery and this outstanding American-brewed witbier. The pour presents all of the requisite traits of a classic witbier, a murkyblonde brew showcasing a fluffy meringue that extends above the rim. The bouquet is a bit muted, with notes of orange, lemon, chamomile and coriander poking through. Silky-smooth in mouthfeel, the taste is tart, slightly fruity and sweet, with a kiss of hops at the finish. The crisp carbonation and acidity give a sparkling finish. 5.0% ABV


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Proving that witbiers are hot right now, this offering from the Kiuchi Brewery in Japan is spot on style. Hazy straw-gold in color with a billowing, rocky, lingering head. The nose has some orange/lemon notes, but leans much more toward spicy, especially a powerful dose of coriander. The wheat lends a silky-smooth mouthfeel and grainy flavor married to a mix of coriander, orange and clove with a humble hoppy backdrop. This superb, effervescent effort is snappy and invigorating in both the palate and the finish. For summer refreshment, this one is hard to beat. 5.0% ABV

These are dubbed white beers because of their pale, almost milky glow. They are turbid, for a variety of reasons. First, the wheat is unmalted, leaving a bit of residual starch in the beer. Secondly, the high protein content of wheat naturally leaves a precipitous haze in the finished product. Third, bottled offerings are usually bottle-conditioned, leaving a fair measure of yeast in suspension when poured. The raw wheat is lighter in color than malted wheat, and it factors into the shimmering white-gold appearance. With wheat constituting about half of the grist, the remainder is a pale, continental pilsner-type malt, usually grown in Germany or Belgium. North American brewers might opt for a domestic two-row for their interpretations, a worthy substitute. Sometimes, and traditionally, a small amount of raw oats is added. The manifestation of the raw wheat and oats on the palate is a silky-smooth mouthfeel, a playful tart and honeyish contrast, and noticeable fruitiness. Of equal importance in a witbier is the use of spices. The predominant spice is always coriander, and it should be assertive in the nose. Freshly ground, and added late to the kettle to retain its aroma, it should fairly gush from the glass. The next most common kettle addition is curaçao (bitter) orange peel, which adds mysterious complexity. It is grown


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

in Spain, Italy, and North Africa, and is characteristically herbal, reminiscent of chamomile rather than orange, and complements the savory coriander. More spices may be added in small amounts. Some brewers are cryptic about their choices, but chamomile, anise, grains of paradise, peppercorns or ginger could conceivably be used. The marriage of the spice blend and wheat is one made in heaven. The modestly employed hops are those that exhibit spicy and herbal notes. Saaz, Styrian Goldings and East Kent Goldings are best. Witbiers should pour with a copious, lingering head, due to the proteinaceous wheat and higherthan-average carbonation. This only adds to the wonderfully intricate bouquet, as the mousse dissipates and releases its perfume. At 4.5 to 5 percent ABV, witbiers are certainly a quenching session brew. They are at their prime when fairly young, as they should be consumed in their most spirited and vivacious aromatic condition. While most of the common witbiers are offered year round, brewpubs will often concoct them for their summer repertoire. For refreshment, witbiers are as appropriate as any brew, and more complex. They are reminiscent of the fragrant season, and soft enough to sit well on a hot day. So, when that summer wind, comes blowin’ in...savor a witbier.

The Complete World of



Farmhouse Ales he recent demand by beer devotees that beer revisit its soul and

connection to the earth has spawned a newfound appreciation for rustic beers. Today, two loose beer styles are considered “farmhouse ales”: bière de garde (beer to store or keep) of France and saison (season) of Belgium. They are historic siblings that have separated themselves in profile, but not in philosophy. Saisons are quite well-known and are currently undergoing a flourishing renaissance, and bière de garde is gaining some interest from consumers and brewers alike. Both were brewed when conditions were optimal, and released when needed most, making them doubly seasonal. Bière de Garde Reformulated quite recently by a few savvy French brewers, bière de garde is truly a product of artisanal whim. Paradoxically rich, but sinewy; clean, but musty; muscular, but refreshing, bière de garde is a complex brew that exhibits bucolic appeal and a unique blend of brewing culture and art. France’s pastoral landscape was once dotted with tiny breweries. These were simple farmhouse brewers, who brewed for themselves and a few others. Their farmhouse ales, brewed and consumed as dictated by the season, were things of sustenance. They were made during the cool months, usually late fall and winter, when conditions were perfect for a slow, steady fermentation and clean, unspoiled character. This also meant that the hops and malt used were freshly harvested. The combination of fresh medium and deliberate, cool fermentation resulted in a stable product that would mature wonderfully. That is the essence of bière de garde. Modern Revival Though historical bière de garde brewers laid the foundation for what would be a passionate, if not extensive, brewing legacy in France, modern interpretations often differ from their forbears. Records show that more than one variety was often brewed. One version, of lower strength, was designed primarily to consume during the

hot summer months. Another more formidable brew was made to keep longer, to be savored the following harvest season. This romantic notion of farmhouse brewing would succumb to modernity. Largely, refrigeration was largely the culprit. Seasonal brewing became unnecessary, cities and breweries grew, industry replaced farming and beer drinkers came to favor the new light lager beers. France followed suit by brewing lower-alcohol, lighter beers for the masses. But, thanks to the vision of a few French brewers, the craft brewing scene in France would change. It was a both a step toward the future and an eye to the past that resurrected a stale craft in France. The family-run Brasserie Duyck in Jenlain, France has been in business since 1922. They were known for their somewhat pedestrian Duyck Bière rather than the quirky, anachronistic Jenlain Bière de Garde. But, the bière de garde was promoted

Beer Style: Farmhouse


Glass style: tulip, stem glass (bière de garde);

goblet, tulip, pint glass (saison)

Serving Temperature: 50–55° F Food Pairing: sausage, duck, roast turkey (bière

de garde); sushi, goat cheese, Thai dishes (saison)

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



Brasserie Duyck Jenlain Named after the village in which the brewery resides, Jenlain is the not only the forebear of modern bières de garde, but also the most representative of the style. The first to be bottled and corked (1945), Jenlain is brewed with a blend of French barleys and a mélange of continental hops, including Alsatian. A billowing, creamy head crowns a bright copper brew with notes of anise and cellar in the nose. The soft, sugary malt palate finishes crisply, with hints of pepper and must. 6.5% ABV

Farmhouse Ales

Brasserie La Choulette Les Bière Des Sans Culottes From the quaint farmhouse brewery in Hordain, France, the beers of La Choulette are perhaps the most rustic of them all. All of their beers are conditioned sur lie (on yeast), adding a bit of texture, complexity and fine carbonation. This effervescent bière de garde pours deep gold and lacy, with a pronounced earthy, nutmeg and floral aroma. The flavor showcases a woody and spicy character, balanced off by a relatively stiff dose of hops. Dry and refreshing. 7.0% ABV

in the 1950s and caught on as a hipster brew in the 1970s, its elegant presentation in corked bottles and full flavor a welcome respite from the contemporary bland offerings. This coincided with a seemingly ubiquitous movement towards local and flavorful specialties, a quintessential French mindset. Jenlain, as the popular prototype, would be the impetus needed for other brewers in France to formulate recipes that paid tribute to tradition, followed the “local is better” mantra and ultimately restored brewing vitality. Today, there are many artisanal brewers producing bières de garde in its homeland and, with a “keeping” quality to them, they are excellent as exports. Individualistic Interpretations When searching for a “typical” bière de garde, look to Jenlain, with its burnished amber hue, spicy, toasted malt and crisp finish. But, bières de garde are bound more by philosophy rather than a narrow set of parameters. Some are blond; others, brown. Either ale or lager yeast may be used. Adjunct or sugar is added to some, others are all-malt. Hops can be 40

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Saison Dupont

Fantôme Saison

From the class Wallonian brewery, Brasserie Dupont in Tourpes, Hainaut, it is the quintessential saison. Rich gold in color, Saison Dupont pours with a creamy, white, lingering head that presents an aromatic, wonderfully fresh hop bouquet. The flavor has a stiff dose of bittering hops, a light cellar character, and a grainy finish. Bottle conditioned, of course; as good as it gets. 6.5% ABV.

Brewed in Soy, Luxembourg province, by the Brasserie Fantôme, it’s named for a haunting spirit that inhabits some local chateau ruins. Brewed with pilsner malt, hopped with Goldings and Hallertau, and accented with special “mysterious” ingredients, two fruit juices and two herbs. A complex fruit and spice aroma with notes of watermelon, peach, apple and anise. The flavor features light maltiness and a reserved horse-blanket note. 8% ABV

from France, Germany, the Czech Republic or even Belgium. What they all share, regardless of color, is a velvety maltiness, crisp finish, subdued hop profile, spicy background and a hint of cellar and must. Essentially, bière de garde may be a style full of idiosyncratic sub-styles to the point of being absolutely individualistic, artistic to the end. In bières de garde, the use of continental malt is the norm, usually a pilsner type. Much of it is grown in the Champagne and Nord regions and possesses a slightly rougher character than the round, soft varieties of Germany and Bohemia. This may in fact contribute to some of the signature spiciness of bière de garde. Darker interpretations would include the Vienna or Munich malt to add some body, maltiness and depth. Wheat, caramel and aromatic malts may also find their way into the grist. Bière de garde brewers have no reservations about using adjuncts. Flaked maize or grits are used by some to add a little more fermentability, while others may “chaptalize” the kettle wort with a dose of sugar. A long boil could be employed to aid in caramelization. The grist is mashed to get

high fermentability. The combination of high-quality malt and full attenuation gives a full-flavored, malty brew, with a snappy finish. Most finish in the 6 to 8 percent range. Locally, there are hop farms in the Alsace region near Strasbourg, across the border from the famous Hallertau hop region of Germany. The French variety is named Strisselspalt. Even so, bière de garde is hopped with restraint. The French may eschew the local hops and opt for other European noble hops. Hop aroma is virtually non-existent. Yeast selection is still another personalized ingredient. Some brewers use lager yeast and ferment well above the temperature range that is optimal. Most use ale yeast and ferment at the lower end of its temperature range, a condition that would eliminate any strong fruity character because of the slow, extended fermentation. A brief, cold-conditioning period follows the fermentation. Usually several weeks is sufficient to smooth out the brew. Bière de garde is then bottled and corked.

It can be cellared for some time, and develops some earthy character because of the cork, hops and maturation period. Part of this unusual profile may be the utilization of unfamiliar combinations of ingredients or by using them outside of their standard comfort level. Either way, there is no denying that the bière de garde brewers of France have a way with their medium. Bières de garde may be one of the most underappreciated genres of beer. Though overshadowed by their Belgian farmhouse counterparts, they are as finely-crafted. It may be time to let down your garde.

Sampling Saison The French word for season, saison, has become a stylistic designation to distinguish a group of beers from Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium. Today, these historically seasonal ales are brewed year-round. Saisons are assertive, unmistakably Belgian and unequivocally earthy.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


Brewing in Wallonia Belgium is divided into two roughly equal regions along an east-west boundary. Flanders comprises the northern half, and Wallonia, the southern half. Wallonia boasts some world-class breweries, including three of the famous Trappist operations: Orval, Rochefort, and Chimay. Less famous are the secular farmhouse breweries scattered across the Wallonian countryside. All are down to earth, individualistic and quite dedicated to local brewing traditions. They are also responsible for the sole purely Wallonian beer style, saison. Saison is a relatively old style of beer, not so much for the usual stylistic guidelines such as appearance and strength, but for the seasonal constraints under which it was produced. Similar to bière de garde, saison was brewed during cooler months, then stored for consumption 1/2 pg verticalduring : 4 5/8”wwarmer x 7.5”h months.

“Cool job! ”

People ask us all the time if we really get to sit around all day drinking beer and writing about it. Hard to believe, but it’s true. We admit to having about the best jobs ever, but it’s not all fun and games. The All About Beer Magazine team is committed to giving you the best information about the brewing world, including complete, unbiased beer reviews. So you can hang around reading about what we’ve been drinking and writing about.

Subscribe Today! 35% off newsstand price. 6 issues for $1995. 1-800-977-BEER (2337)


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Being brewed on a seasonal basis, these beers had to be within a specific strength range. Too strong, and they wouldn’t be a decent thirst quencher. Too weak, they wouldn’t hold up through the storage period. Moderate to medium-strong became the default potency. They were hopped liberally to combat contamination and add stability. Saison Personality Saison as we know it today is quite true to its roots, retaining its character as a rustic, unpretentious and somewhat unruly brew. It is still mostly brewed in modest farmhouse breweries that blend in well with the local culture and architecture. At least one is an operating farm, in addition to a brewery. Yet another can claim to be the only operating steam-powered brewery in the world. Hence, this quaint style of ale precedes many of the tight and detailed classifications that we now use to pigeonhole almost every beer. Today’s saisons share many things. They are vivacious—frenetic at first—and they are usually bottle conditioned. Saison is also categorically pliant, its brewers making their own capricious versions. They range from 5 percent ABV to as high as 8 percent. Their color traverses the spectrum from full gold to reddish-amber. The majority of the malt grist is pale or pilsner malt, accounting for all of the malt in some of the golden saisons. Occasionally, wheat is used. Darker malts, like Vienna, Munich, aromatic and caramel, if utilized, would comprise a minority of the grist: the amber varieties of saison would get some of their color from these character malts. Munich malt, especially, contributes its toasty, malty character and marginal body. While saisons are in general fairly crisp, they do present a tangible mouthfeel. Augmenting the refreshing side of saison’s multiple personalities is the bountiful tally of hops. Mostly, traditional and noble continental hop varieties from England (Kent Goldings), Eastern Europe (Styrian Goldings) and Germany (Hallertau) are used, often in combination. The hop blending can add even more complexity to a beer that seems intent on such expression. Hop character is usually very noticeable as a resinous, herbal, earthy quality. As with most Belgian beers, yeast imparts its own distinctive mark to the beer. In the case of saison, the yeast is often a very flavorful one, contributing many subtle notes. Combinations of yeast may be employed. There might even be an influence from some wild organisms. While most saison breweries use their own house yeast, there is no mistaking the similarities among the different brands. Perhaps some of them share a regional ancestor, or the method and

conditions of fermentation have helped develop the unusual underpinning contributed by the yeast. Being bottle conditioned, saisons age gracefully. They can become vinous, tart, dry and amazingly nuanced. Young saisons smell and taste fresh and somewhat mellow, rich with the aroma of hops and malt. Some saison brewers strive to make their product even more distinctive with some personal flair. The use of spices— running the gamut from sweet orange peel to pepper to ginger—is not uncommon. One brewer adds one or more fruit juices to the brew. Weathering Saison Saisons are usually packaged in corked, 75 cl. bottles. They demand attention from the start with a lively pour. If that doesn’t nab you, the aroma should. Serve in a wide-brimmed, stemmed glass to get the full sensual force. Spicy, musty and fruity, the aroma of a saison is stimulating. The flavor is just as complex. Saison can resemble lambic with a lightly sour, cellar-like background. The hops, depending on the age, can

Le Merle

be starkly bitter or fresh and resiny. No beer is earthier, and a hint of spice is there, leaving one wondering if the yeast or an actual spice is the responsible party. Several saison-producing breweries remain in Wallonia, most of which are conveniently close to one another. Many saisons, some of which are organic, are available via export. It is also a style that is gaining some steam among beer lovers, a trend that has been duly noted by brewers both in Belgium and North America. Saisons are for adventurous beer drinkers. Conformity within style is not a priority; complexity, be it intentional or natural, is a badge. If you are lucky enough to get some in hand, savor, compare and share them; they are worthy of discussion. Drinking saison is like a walk in the woods. At first you notice only the forest, but then you discover the individual trees, and finally the diminutive, discreet inhabitants. Sensory stimulation is everywhere. The subtle notes sit beside the bold notes, each expressing itself. Especially in the summer, there are worse ways to laze away an evening than by savoring this intricate and multifaceted brew.




Elegant, subtle, refined…amazing. The Belgians have their own special touch with beer that carries the taste experience to a whole new level of complexity. And, our new Le Merle follows in that tradition. It’s a bottleconditioned Belgian-style Saison that has been described by Michael Jackson as “…more than a serious beer, it is outstanding…dizzying, appetizing, refreshing.” With “exciting fruity flavors” and “a whack of hop bitterness.” Which is to say, great beer. And, to top it all off, it’s named in tribute to our brewmaster’s inspiring wife, Merle. Give it a try.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



The Magic of Lambic he notion of brewing a “one-off” is not uncommon,

but the lambic family always fits that bill stylistically with virtually every aspect of their production. Brewing, fermentation, aging, maturation and ingredients are utterly distinctive. Lambic presents an unmatched sensory tapestry, and that is saying something, considering that these beers originate in tranquil Flemish Belgium. Land of Lambic Lambics are brewed atypically by modern standards, but are entirely ensconced in tradition in a historical sense. Curious and extraordinary are adjectives that better fit them. Lambics are so unusual that they may be hard to embrace, but to the lambic-smitten, they are beloved. The historical and current stronghold of lambic is the city of Brussels, Belgium, and the area immediately to its west and south, rural Payottenland. To the south along the River Zenne is a small town named Lembeek, a village that may be responsible for the beer’s moniker. Today’s lambics are little different, if at all, from their ancestors of 400 years ago. No other beer style can lay such bold claim. A look at the lambic method divulges its agrarian and old-fashioned charm.

Bushels, Bugs and Barrels As an indigenous beer of Payottenland, lambic’s logical medium is a grist based on local barley and wheat. Raw wheat, at 30 to 40 percent is preferred, with 30 percent the decreed lower limit for the style. Malted barley proffers the magical enzymes needed to convert the starches in the wheat, which, Beer Style: Lambics Glass style: tumbler, stem glass Serving Temperature: 55° F (lambic and gueuze);

48° F (fruit lambic)

Food Pairing: steamed mussels, sharp goat

cheese, ripe brie, dark chocolate


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

due to its floury nature, creates a turbid mash. This necessitates a method to break down the proteins and starches. The milky liquid is drawn off, boiled, and returned to the mashtun to raise the whole to an enzyme-friendly temperature, where mashing continues in normal fashion. Even the simple act of boiling lambic wort is novel. It is boiled for three to six hours, twice that of other beers, to aid in breaking down the components. Another deviation is in hopping a lambic. Hops that have been aged for a couple or more years are added in staggering quantities. During their aging period, they lose almost all of the properties that make them desirable in most beers (bitterness, flavor and aroma), but retain those characteristics important to all beers (preservative and antioxidant). Little or no hop character is therefore present. The wort has a gravity of between 1048 and 1056, so, in that respect only, lambic is rather modest. Lambic fermentation is the most remarkable step in production, and the single most important contributor to the profile. The wort is cooled by “cool ships,” large, shallow vessels in the attic of the brewery that are open to the environment, where the wort is pumped, and eventually equilibrated to ambient temperature. This allows maximal heat dissipation and, more significantly, unencumbered exposure to the resident microflora of wild yeast and bacteria. Normally tantamount to beericide, lambic brewers welcome the invaders. The microorganisms may come from the brewery’s attic, or waft in from the surrounding landscape via opened windows or louvers. As the native “bugs” are critical to the character of the beer, things are left pretty much undisturbed

within the brewery walls, lest the wonderful effect of nature be unbalanced. Centuries of spontaneous fermentation have rendered the microfloral ecosystem so stable that the wort/ organism symbiosis is incredibly consistent, with inevitable minute variations manifested in the brew. No two beers are exactly alike. The most important macrobiota are spiders, standing sentry against intruding flies. When cool, the wort is transferred to wooden wine casks that house another sub-population of organisms within their pores. The variety of influential organisms is mind-boggling, sometimes numbering over 100! If this seems like haphazard brewing, it is not. Lambics are brewed when the mixture of organisms is at its most desirable.

An Acquired Taste The initial fermentation in the barrel is allowed unfettered, foam spewing from the bunghole. After the primary fermentation has abated, the hole is sealed with a porous cloth. It is at this stage, which may last months, that lambic undergoes its enchanting metamorphosis as the myriad

organisms metabolize the wort. Yeast labors normally, but bacteria transforms other components into a complex, vinous mosaic. Two bacteria, Brettanomyces bruxellensis and B. lambicus, are named for the city of Brussels and lambic beer, respectively. Some Brettanomyces strains work on the residual wheat starch. The beer that evolves from this mystical, yet controlled, fermentation is a startling composite, and lambic is an acquired taste. What initially may seem like an astonishing assault on the palate becomes a mĂŠlange of discernable flavors and aromas. Lactobacillus produces a cidery and sour character. Brettanomyces contributes musty, horse blanket and earthy notes. Hints of fruit, vinegar and cheese are perceptible, too, but the overall effect is desert-dry and puckering: all of this character with a minimal wisp of hops. The barrels contribute some woody and vinous notes. Lambics are gold to amber: they gain color and c omplexity with age, which can be extensive. As recently as 1900, there were as many as 300 lambic breweries around Brussels; today there are a dozen. Straight lambic is most often served from a cask with virtually no

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



Cantillon Broucsella 1900 Grand Cru Named after the year 1900, when the Cantillon family moved from Lembeek to Brussels. The only available unblended lambic. Pours flat, with a musty and sour aroma. Dark gold to light amber. The flavor is quite assertive with woody, phenolic, vinegary and even fungal notes. One-third unmalted wheat, twothirds malted barley, aged for three years. Not for the timid. A classic in every respect.


Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze

Lindemans Cassis

Pours rambunctiously, golden and a little turbid. Citrusy and lactic aroma, with a musty, almost cheesy nose. The delicate lace adheres to the glass nicely. Blended from three different procured lambics, all aged on site. Legendary for its aging qualities. Earthy and effervescent. 6.5% ABV

Flows into the flute a handsome violet color with a modest but tight lavender crown. Fairly bright, with a light haze. The creamy top never degrades. The nose is a hybrid of berries and grape, with a suggestion of mint. The flavor is soft and sweet-tart. Brewed commercially in Vlezenbeek since 1811. A perfect dessert beer. 4.0% ABV

Kriek De Ranke From the Brouwerij De Ranke in West Flanders. Deep red in color, with a loose head. Aroma of sour cherries, mingling with plenty of lactic notes. Not nearly as sweet as some other fruit lambics. An incredible presentation of sour cherries in the flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the lambic character, but enhances it lusciously. Lots of oak and leathery hints. 7.0% ABV

5.0% ABV

carbonation. Some lambics are bottled. Cantillon makes a straight lambic, but most are blended from different vintages, an artisanal endeavor it its own right. In fact, blending is really what lambic is all about. The various blends and alterations create different styles of lambic known as gueuze, fruit lambic and faro, as well as simple blended lambic. Gueuze: The most widely available lambic is at first study simply a blend of old and young. Gueuze (sometimes spelled “geuze”) differs from straight lambic in that it has a measure of carbonation. Young lambics contribute some residual, unfermented sugars, which are subsequently transformed into carbonation. The overall ratio is left up to the blender; anywhere from two to seven lambics are combined, and the corked bottles are laid down to carbonate. Gueuze has the complexity of a lambic, with the pleasant effervescence of champagne. Fruit Lambic: The most common fruit lambics are kriek (cherry), pêche (peach), and framboise (red raspberry), but cassis (black currant) and Muscat (grapes) also find their way into the maturing beer, kick-starting additional fermentation. The amount of fruit added to the beer is quite liberal, on the order of one kilogram per five liters. The marriage is harmonious, the honeymoon lengthy and lusty, being anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The fruit 46

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

may also be a vehicle for more wild yeast, which further colors the palette of the beer. The preferred cherries are the local sour Schaarbeek, though others are used. The cherry pit adds a touch of almond essence. Faro: Young, blended lambic sweetened with dark candi sugar is known as faro. The extra sugar requires that the blender pasteurize the brew to arrest fermentation and retain the sweetness. Though uncommon, several are still produced, the most available being Faro Pertotale from Brouwerij Frank Boon.

Locating Lambic To get an authentic dose of lambic culture, one need only to travel to Brussels and just another 10 miles beyond. Of the area’s dozen or so lambic venues, most are actual breweries, but a couple are blenders who purchase lambic and ply their craft. The numerous cafés in the area serve the area’s offerings, too, with Le Bier Circus in Brussels a favorite of lambic seekers. The Cantillon Brewery is home to the Gueuze Museum, as well as being a world-class brewery. Other notables are Brouwerij Frank Boon, BelleVue, Drie Fonteinen, Girardin, Hanssens, Lindemans and Timmermans, among others. Many of these breweries export their exquisite products.

The Complete World of



Flanders Red and Brown Ales he untamed, sour brews of Flanders, known as red and brown

ale, personify the notion of territorial aritsanal Belgian beers perfectly. Like their close relative and revered neighbor, lambic, Flanders red and brown ales offer a glimpse of centuries-old brewing practices. Multiorganism fermentation, shrewd blending and extensive, patient aging all contribute to the character of these brews. Honoring History Belgium is geographically divided into two sections. The northern half, Flanders, is Dutch-speaking; the southern half, Wallonia, is French. Because of its close proximity to Germany, the Netherlands, and England, Flanders historically developed a multicultural character that is evident today and manifested in its approach to brewing. The willingness to adapt and adopt helps shape the character of its red and brown ales. Centuries ago, all beers were dark and spontaneously fermented and the wort was at the mercy of the airborne organisms or those that inhabited the fermenting vessel. Naturally, this muddled blend of wild yeast and bacteria exerted their influence on the beer. It is hard to imagine exactly what this might have tasted like (modern lambics may come close), it was sure to exhibit a powerful sour disposition. Porous wooden casks used for aging were the perfect substrate for any of the organisms that have been identified as contributing to the character of beer. Except in Germany and Bohemia, where brewers were actively selecting pure, bottom-fermenting strains of yeast, beer was for the most part expected to be somewhat sour and musty, especially in Britain and Belgium. English brew masters, especially those in London, established complicated schedules of aging and blending their ales in the 17th and 18th centuries. The natural, expressive contribution from the top-fermenting ale yeast was augmented by the traditional practice of aging in wood. Likewise, Flanders brewers aged and blended their ales. Also common to both areas was a preference for flat, or lightly carbonated, cask beer.

Blending eventually fell out of favor in England but not in Flanders. And, during the early 19th century, many brewers throughout Belgium adopted the scientific advances in yeast propagation but shunned the trend toward lighter beers. The brewers of Flanders red and brown ales resisted both movements, further insulating their brewing preferences.

Bacteria, Barrels and Blends The two styles, red and brown, reveal a shared loyalty to the time-honored practice of inviting an eclectic population of influential organisms to the fermentation and maturation party. The metabolism of these nontraditional organisms produces a highly attenuated beer as the extraneous organisms take over where the normal fermentation leaves off, either by fermenting compounds not routinely broken down, or by further fermenting byproducts of Saccharomyces, the conventional brewing yeast. Acetobacter, responsible for converting alcohol into vinegar, can also be present in either, adding another dimension of tartness beyond that of Lactobacillus, the organism of yogurt and sauerkraut.

Beer Style: Flanders

Sour Ales

Glass style: tulip, goblet Serving Temperature: 50–55° F Food Pairing: lobster, steamed mussels, egg

dishes, green salad

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



Flanders Sour Ales

Petrus Old Brown

Duchesse De Bourgogne

Flanders Oud Bruin brewed by Brouwerij Bavik in HarelbekeBavikhove, Belgium. A rubybrown presentation, with a nice, but fleeting head leaving lacy remnants. The aroma has notes of wood, cherry and a slight lactic and vinegar tinge. Medium-bodied with a caramel and earthy flavor, and a painless sourness. Very easy to drink and remarkably appetizing. Its smoothness comes from two years in oak casks. 5.5% ABV

Flanders Red Ale brewed by Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Vichte, Belgium, is a blend of eightand 18-month oak-aged brews. Brilliant mahogany color, with a pink-beige head. The aroma offers balsamic vinegar, wood, cherry, and vanilla. The taste is sweet upfront, but gives way to a spicy, almond, red wine complexity. The pleasantly astringent finish is both quenching and inviting. Best enjoyed slowly to savor the composite character. 6.2% ABV

Liefmans Goudenband

Rodenbach Grand Cru

A superb Flanders brown from Brouwerij Liefmans in Oudenaarde, Belgium. Deep, lucid red in hue, the modest head is fed by a steady carbonation. A sweet-sour aroma, reminiscent of cherries, cranberries, caramel, and tart apple. Creamy oak and sour fruit flavor with a medium mouthfeel and a sweetish finish. Very snappy due to the acidity and soft carbonation. This beer is as complex as any, truly a classic example of the style. 8.0% ABV

Brewed by the distinguished Rodenbach family in Roeselare, Belgium, this is an unquestioned classic. The vinous nose is matched by a burgundy color. Port wine, fruit, oak and vinegar notes comprise the aroma. Sweet and sour cherries and plums highlight the flavor, which is finished by a puckering tartness. Aged 18 months in oak, Rodenbach Grand Cru is a paradox, considering its sharp flavors and quenching smoothness. This is the one to savor if given the chance.


6.0% ABV

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

This seemingly incompatible panoply of organisms leads, oddly, to synergy in the final, well-aged product. The complexity is above and beyond that which would be expected from each contributor. Combined with the fruity, estery profile of the Saccharomyces ale yeast, or yeasts, it is enhanced further. As both ale styles are well aged, the selection of the maturation vessel is of utmost importance. Much attention is placed on the flavor, porosity and permeability of the wood used in the casks. The porous cells of the wood provide microscopic grottos and increased surface area for better contact with the aging beer, and harbor the bacteria that enliven the maturing beer. The permeable wood allows ambient air exchange. Oxygen, in scant supply in fully fermented beer, is allowed to cross the wood barrier from atmosphere to beer. Aside from the oxidative notes that this adds, oxygen is also an essential nutrient for Brettanomyces, which gives the beer a horsy or musty character. Cask aging can last anywhere from one to several years. Oak is the preferred material for the casks, as it is with wine and whiskey makers. Literally dozens of compounds lend their flavor to some degree or another, but two are the most important, as they impart a tangible element to the finished product: vanillin and tannin, which convey vanilla and astringent notes, respectively. The wood itself provides, for lack of a better term, “oakiness� during aging. Both Flanders red and brown are skillfully blended to achieve a certain consistency from release to release. Small variations are common and wholly anticipated; nevertheless, the product retains its signature profile. The blender must have an acute sense of taste to combine the sweet, young beer and tart, complex, fully-aged beer, as well as those in between in maturation. Even though the aging process is far from haphazard, there is a small measure of serendipity involved, and thus, little formulaic blending. For the most part, the finished blended beer is then prime-dosed and bottled, though pure cask beers exist at the source. Bottled versions can be enjoyed young or well-aged.

Separating Siblings While the red and brown ales may share a pedigree and some recognizable similarities, they warrant a

look individually. Flanders brown would be considered a more “modernâ€? interpretation of the two, as it has a period of aging in stainless steel. Flanders red is perhaps the more assertive and complex of the two styles. Part of the reason lies in the dominant acid bacteria that stamp the flavor. Red relies heavily on Acetobacter, yielding acetic acid and a piercing tartness, while brown banks on Lactobacillus, producingFRULI?AD?RESIZE???PDF a softer sourness.

Red can be attenuated as much as 90 percent or more, while brown is a more standard 80 percent. Several things contribute to this. Red, which is exposed to a more diverse microflora, is therefore subjected to a much more complete fermentation. Additionally, red has a wort that is more fermentable to begin with. The dark caramel malts in Flanders brown not only put the malt character more in the forefront, but also give it the deeper color that distinguishes it from Flanders red. The red has a reserved malt background and gets its color from Vienna and Munich malts. Brown traditionally has more hop bitterness, pulling it away from the “wine� character of the red and more toward that of sourish brown ale. Flanders brown’s sweet malt character makes it a perfect brew to blend with fruit, most frequently cherries. In the end, a Flanders red is an intensely sour, vinous beer, while Flanders brown is more of a tart dark ale. Red is startlingly quenching; brown, more soothing. The alcohol content in a red is generally a standard 5 to 5.5 percent, whereas a brown can vary between 4 and 7 percent. Red has a bit more head retention and beautiful lacing. Red is occasionally referred to as West Flanders red, and brown as either East Flanders brown or Oud Bruin (old brown). Flanders red and brown ales are an acquired taste—embraced immediately by some, never by others. With flavors and aromas not often associated with other brews, for an adventurous beer hunter, they may be that last frontier. Flanders red and brown ales are as rare as they are unusual, so consider yourself lucky if you are one of the many who can and do fully appreciate them.













the Complete World of B eer S tyles

The Complete World of



Belgian Strong Golden Ale sk even a modestly devoted beer lover to name one Belgian

brew, and they are likely to mention Duvel, the beguiling strong golden ale of Breendonk. Duvel is innocent in appearance, aromatic, ebulliently inviting, and stealthily sinister. Composed as a counterpunch to the haymaking popularity of pale lager after World War II, Duvel spawned a style that has been widely mimicked in both its homeland and abroad. It is tidy and refreshing, highly unusual for a beer of its formidable strength. Birth of the Devil Duvel and its offspring are purpose-designed, modern brews with a nod to traditionalism. Its development is recent, and owes its circuitous success to Scottish ales, Belgian creativity and, ironically, macro-European pale lagers. Duvel is brewed at the Moortgat brewery in the village of Breendonk, near Brussels. In earlier times, this brewery focused on dark ales, not uncommon among their contemporary Belgian farmhouse brewers. To celebrate the end of World War I in 1918, Moortgat brewed a special beer designated “Victory Ale” that was, predictably, hefty and dark. Legend has it that a friend of the Moortgat family called it “a devil of a beer,” and the name was changed to Duvel, Flemish for devil. The beer, however, was nothing like the current rendering, a beer decades in the making. After World War I and the restoration of regional trade, imported Scotch ales became popular in Belgium. They were similar in might and shade to the more familiar ales of Belgium but were noticeably different because of the yeast. Albert Moortgat had spent considerable time in Britain learning the intricacies of ale brewing. When he returned to Belgium, he brought with him a cache of bottle-conditioned McEwan’s Scotch ale, each a treasure trove of viable, alien yeast. In his zeal to create a beer that was similar to Scotch ale, Moortgat decided that the McEwan’s formulation was worth investigating. He enlisted the help of Jean De Clerck, the preeminent brewing and yeast scientist and pioneer, and prestigious member of the Faculty of Brewing at Leuven University.

The alliance proved to be an important one, as De Clerck discovered that the stock sediment had 10 to 20 unique strains. By meticulously isolating and examining their individual properties and nuances, De Clerck made it possible to employ separate strains for distinct tasks during fermentation and conditioning. A primary strain was selected because of its tolerance for high temperature fermentation and relatively restrained fruitiness under those conditions. It contributes a distinct aspect when coupled with the house malt. Another yeast compacts densely in the bottle, perfect for bottle conditioning. Utilizing the new yeasts, the reformulated Duvel was released in 1930 with quite a different character from its predecessor, Victory Ale.

Playing with the Devil Duvel resumed its metamorphosis in the 1960s. The brewery determined that it needed a pale brew, but Moortgat didn’t give in completely to the trend toward mass-produced pale lager, choosing instead to stick with ales. Given the popularity and high quality of their flagship beer, the brain trust took the bold move of redesigning Duvel once again, this time as a golden edition. Beer Style: Belgian


Glass style: tulip Serving Temperature: 50° F Food Pairing: mild seafood, shellfish, steak

frites, Thai dishes

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



It is nearly impossible to make a strong beer with a light golden cast, but through experimentation and the development of an elaborate schedule of mashing, boiling and fermentation, Moortgat managed. He also used dextrose for added strength without color. In this process, the wort is divided into two separate fermentation vessels and fermented with a different yeast in each. The dextrose is added prior to fermentation to raise the original gravity. Primary fermentation is done swiftly, and then the beer is transferred to conditioning tanks for secondary fermentation. The temperature is then dropped to near freezing to smooth out the beer and precipitate the yeast. After a month of cold conditioning, Duvel is bottled with yet another dose of dextrose and priming yeast. The third fermentation in the bottle takes two weeks. Moortgat introduced the modern personification of Duvel in 1970. After 50 years of tinkering, Duvel has remained unchanged for 38. It has been emulated extensively since.

Belgian Goldens

Duvel Brewed by the Brouwerij Moortgat, it is the legendary beer of the style and perhaps the most familiar of all Belgian brews. It presents a billowing pearl-white head above a bright gold body and a lusty herbal, spicy and fruity nose. Pear, apple and green grape hints mingle gently with the light, crisp flavor. The hops are perfectly balanced with the mellow malt. Clean, with a suggestion of yeast. A world classic by any standard. 8.5% ABV

Delirium Tremens From the Brouwerij Huyghe in Melle, Belgium. The label, with skipping crocodiles and pink elephants, is as playful as the brew. Off-gold in hue, with trails of bubbles feeding a lingering, creamy and bountiful head. Cantaloupe and apricot are laced with peppery hops in the nose. The flavor is reminiscent of honey and fruit with a bit of wheat-like phenol. The yeast adds a touch of the rural character that one would expect from a Belgian brew. The hops are spicy and firm. 9.0% ABV

La Chouffe The crowning grace of the Brasserie d’Achouffe in Achouffe, Belgium. A slightly hazy but beautiful burnished gold color, capped by a lacy pillow of a head. The nose is amazingly spicy; pepper and coriander come to mind, along with a bit of orange and hay. A little more sweet malt flavor than some of the others, with all the complexity of the aroma and a faint “farm” character. Very deep, indeed, this beer could be contemplated all night long. The benign gnomes on the label carry with them sprigs of barley and hops. 8.0% ABV


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

La Fin du Monde One of the finest Belgian-style beers outside of Belgium, it is brewed in Chambly, Quebec. Slightly turbid, straw color, with a creamy white head reminiscent of a witbier. The aroma is ripe with peach and apricot, with a light herbal hop nose. Silky-smooth mouthfeel, imminently deceptive in its strength. The flavor shows off a complex mixture of citrus, more fruit and a zesty spice background. As close to perfection as it gets, it carries its strength gracefully. 9.0% ABV

Tempting Yin and Yang Strong golden ales are by definition big brews that have a magnified flavor profile. They do, however, differ greatly from other strong beers in several ways. First, they are lighter in color than most. Typically they are made with either pilsner malt exclusively, or a miniscule measure of another. Pilsner is the most delicate of the continental malts, both in flavor and color. The soft, malty character is substantial enough though to produce flavorful wort. Second, pilsner malt is the most fermentable, which in turn renders the wort low in dextrine, melanoidins and caramelization, all three of which add body and/or flavor. The result is a highly-attenuated beer that might be further thinned by the brewer’s addition of dextrose or alternative sugar. The emergent beer has a higher alcohol content than other beers of the same original gravity. Finally, the profile allows brewers to unfurl a fragrant, eclectic noble hop character that is unlike any of the other strong European beer, due to the lithe body and soft malt. Most weigh in at about 30 IBUs, which is not generally considered aggressive. The preferred hop varieties in Belgium are Saaz for aroma and Goldings (Styrian and East Kent) for general kettle use. Flowery and herbal in the nose, the aroma

is the first appetizing lure. The bright color and nimble flavor is the hook. Additionally, these beers are somewhat fruity in aroma and flavor. The palate is very dry and smooth, with a touch of background rusticity. Much of the appeal is the presentation. The bottle conditioning, coupled with some aging, produces an energetic, moussy beer that needs a voluminous vessel. They are most appropriately presented in a spacious tulip-shaped glass so that the mousse/liquid interface perfectly bisects the glass. The effervescence aids immensely in bringing the aromas to sublime volatility. Proceed with caution, as the combination of drinkability and strength is devilishly deceptive.

The Naming of the Brew Many brewers take artistic liberties when naming their beers. It is customary for the strong goldens to have a moniker that hints at the mischievous effect of the style. Satanic, gnomish, impish, satiric, catastrophic and playful jabs at human frailty are among the many labeling themes that coax the drinker. Thankfully, damnation is only temporary. In fact, the label may be all one needs to locate these naughty brews. And isn’t that what it’s all about: exploring, being seduced and experiencing? Without a doubt.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



Dubbel and Tripel oday, seven Trappist monasteries are famous for their beer: Achel,

Chimay, Orval, Rochfort, Westmalle and Westvleteren in Belgium; and Koningshoeven in the Netherlands. Only the beers from these sources can carry the “Trappist” designation, although the dubbel and tripel styles—wholly attributed to the efforts of the Trappist monks—are made by secular breweries, as well. In some instances, brewing has been a part of the monastic life since the beginning of the Middle Ages in Europe, or about 1500 years ago. Benedictine monks of that time brewed for both sustenance and support. Unhappiness with the original order led some to found their own monasteries. The Trappist order, which first established itself in Normandy, France, was driven from there by the Napoleonic Wars, and eventually settled in Belgium and the Netherlands. Through it all, it was necessary to maintain a level of self-sufficiency, primarily through agrarian endeavors. At the heart, in many cases, was brewing. Beer was nourishment on several levels, both spiritually and literally. It was a commercial means to maintain their lifestyle (and undoubtedly secure the good grace of the locals), it was essentially a source of calories and nutrients and a vehicle for contemplation. As the monks worked cloistered, it would make sense that the minimal outside influence would lead to distinct styles of beer. To this day, the brewers behind the monastery walls are very individualistic in this regard. The Trappist brewers used their isolation to perfect their own beers, and the high quality of the

product is held with reverence around the world. In keeping with the commitment to simplicity, monasteries seldom make more than three different beers, with dubbel and tripel styles being the most recognizable. Even these are rather loose designations, beyond the fact that a dubbel is dark and medium in strength where a tripel is pale and quite strong. The old Belgian system of measuring original gravity classified beers by degrees as three, six and nine. Six became dubbel and nine, tripel. Rochefort, one of the seven Trappist brewers, designates their beers as six, eight or 10 and all are a shade of brown, with Rochfort 6 in roughly the style of a dubbel and the 10 being a quadrupel at 11.3 percent ABV. Belgian brewers have distinguished themselves for many reasons. One could cite the dichotomy of outside-the-box thinking and a simultaneous commitment to the guidelines of the brewing gods as a curious mix of art and skill that takes them to another level. The reconciliation of paradoxes may be the definition of religious experience; nowhere in the church of beer is this manifested more elegantly than in a finely-crafted dubbel or tripel.

Dubbel Talk Beer Style: Dubbels

and Tripels

Glass style: chalice or goblet, tulip Serving Temperature: 59–64° F (dubbel);

50° (tripel)

Food Pairing: game, braised meat, grilled tuna

(dubbel); asparagus, seared scallops, pesto (tripel)


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

One need look no further than Belgian dubbel to enjoy the intricacy contained in a finely-crafted beer of great sophistication. Many are made by Trappist monasteries, where divinity and purpose congregate. They are a combination of understated opulence (with the full, rich flavor and palate of dark malt), mellow drinkability and unparalleled finesse. A fine dubbel is malty with a touch of caramel sweetness;


fruity with hints of raisin, rum, berry or even fig; and spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg or pepper. Of course, none of the fruit or spice notes are added: they are simply the tangible byproducts of the kettle and fermentation, the malt and candi sugar and the business of the house yeast. The sugar also offers a tempered mouthfeel, making the body a bit more nimble. Perfect for pairing with hearty foods, cheese and dessert among them, dubbel makes as good a case for beer as cuisine as any other. Similar beers to dubbel have been produced for hundreds of years, but modern interpretations are products of monastic refinement within the past century and a half. On The Dubbel Dubbel may have been polished in Trappist monasteries, but it is brewed by a number of abbeys and secular brewers throughout Belgium. In addition, North America has a burgeoning number of breweries that make tasty examples, a few of whom specialize in Belgian-inspired beers as their sole enterprise. This is, in a way, a very

New at Michael Jackson’s

Great Beers of Belgium

Dubbels and Tripels

Chimay Première Perhaps the most well-known of the style, Première is brewed at the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Scourmont in the town of Chimay, Belgium. Also known as Chimay Red in America, it is the introductory firstlove Belgian for many. Tawny in color, with the distinct house yeast aroma and flavor reminiscent of cinnamon. Fruity and warming from a high-temperature fermentation, with hints of herb, cherry, peach and raisin. It is brewed with soft Artesian water, giving the overall character an easy suppleness. 7.0% ABV

Tripel Karmeliet From the Brouwerij Bosteels in Buggenhout, Belgium, Tripel Karmeliet is unique even among the tripels. The stylistic hazy gold and frothy brew has a delicate and perfumy nose with hints of minerals, coriander and peach. Light-bodied, the palate presents lemony sweetness with the candi sugar very noticeable. The lingering finish is a mixture of citrus and dessert spice. Very mellow and inviting. 8.0% ABV

6th Edition

The definitive guide to Belgian beers and their brewers Revised and updated shortly before his death in August 2007, this sixth edition represent the pinnacle of Jackson’s meticulous research and masterful writing. Get it at, and save 35% off the retail list price! Know your beer.


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Rochefort 6 Westmalle Tripel The “mother of all tripels” is brewed at the Adbij der Trappisten van Westmalle in Antwerp, Belgium. It pours a slightly hazy, lemon-gold, with an abundant, adherent, lacy head. The aroma is spicy and fruity, ripe with banana, citrus and alcohol. The body is medium-light, the flavor reminiscent of grapefruit and vanilla. Nice tart finish, a blend of citric acid, white wine and bitter hops. It is not only the progenitor, but also the benchmark of the style. 9.5% ABV

The mellowest offering from Notre-Dame de Saint-Rèmy near Rochefort, Belgium. The monastery dates to the 13th century, where they have been brewing since 1595. Deepcopper in color, the aroma is like fresh-baked Boston brown bread with chocolate and a hint of burnt sugar. The delicate mouthfeel is followed by a mix of chocolate, caramel, clove and fig and a brisk finish. Six is brewed just a couple of times per year to ensure yeast vigor, which is then used for subsequent stronger brews. Rochefort 6 can be cellared for as long as several years. 7.5% ABV

Belgian manner of doing things relative to most North American breweries. This ideal has served the brewers in Belgium for centuries and endures today as an adherence to tradition and a paradoxical thumbed-nose to convention: beer brewed for beer’s sake, with artisanal independence and respectful disregard for well-defined borders.

are best enjoyed only slightly chilled. One would expect that a beer of such profundity would only be found among the strongest and most ingredient-rich offerings. Dubbel demonstrates that a simple medium in the right hands with unencumbered resolve is the best approach. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have divine guidance.

Dubbel Agents

Subtle and Sought-After: Belgian Tripel

A first-rate dubbel is usually a sublime and transcendent combination of malt, candi sugar and yeast, a somewhat unusual triumvirate in conventional beerdom. Running the spectrum from dark amber to mahogany, dubbel gets its color from an unpretentious grain bill. Beyond just simply being dark, dubbels also have a solid backbone of maltiness, in great part from use of toasted malt and/or caramel malt. Usually, this type of toasted malt is known as “Munich” and it has been kilned to a higher temperature than pale malts like pilsner, which also makes up a portion of the grist. The Munich malt provides fermentables to the wort, but also enhances a malty profile. The combination of the delicate pilsner malt and the flavorful Munich harmonize perfectly if used. Other, darker malts, such as caramel and Special B may be employed as well. Complementary flavors, such as raisin, fig, cherry or rum, are a result of caramelization, via addition of dark malt, or by a prolonged, intense boil of the wort in the kettle. The common practice of adding candi sugar to the wort augments the brew in several ways. Dark candi sugar is reminiscent of turbinado or demerara sugar found in natural food stores. It contains the “impurities” in concentrated form, which might otherwise be distilled away during processing. It is made from sugar beets. The flavor is similar to caramel, but is also distinct in its own right. There is no mistaking a beer that has had this sugar added. Hops are asked to take a supporting role in the brewing of a dubbel: the beer would be incomplete without them, but distracted by a strong dose. Like many Belgian house yeasts, those that have been selected over the years have a noticeable spicy and earthy footprint. Clove, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and even rosemary or thyme and the like have been used to describe the miscellany of the fermentation. This adds to the diverse culinary attributes of dubbel, as it would be suitable for both savory and sweet, entrée and dessert, a flexible synergy of the malt, candi sugar and yeast. As most dubbels fall between 6.0 and 8.0 percent ABV, they are substantial and warming enough, thanks to the candi sugar, to be savored far into the evening during the cooler months. A more well-rounded, soothing and complex beer style would be difficult to find. Usually bottle-conditioned to add even further texture, they

The beer that is considered by many to be the zenith of the Belgian brewer’s art is tripel. Initially brewed in one of the legendary Trappist monasteries, tripel is now brewed by a number of brewers in Belgium, and increasingly in North America. Tripels are potent—deceptively so, with their light color and superb drinkability—spicy and bottle-conditioned. ItBEKGIAN is hard to imagine that a beer can be this subtle, yet so heady DUBBEL and thought provoking. A relative newcomer to the beer world, the best tripels are some of the most sought-after ales and, across the board, some of the most critically acclaimed.

“Deliciously rich in malty goodness.” Beer writer Fred Eckhardt

True Belgian Quality from

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


Trappist Origins Trappist breweries are not the sole producers of tripels, nor do all of them produce one. Some of the best triples are made by other abbeys and secular breweries. It is important, however, to define the Trappist tripels relative to their influence on Belgian brewing, and also because one, Westmalle, produced the first tripel a mere 70 years ago. Westmalle was founded in 1794 and began brewing for its own consumption in 1836. Beer sales were initiated in 1856, but only at the monastery gate, and they progressed to commercial brewing in 1921. It wasn’t until 1936 that the tripel was born. What made it unique was its complexity. Most pale beers of that era reflected a dedicated effort to use traditional, regional ingredients in the beers, which created a definitive, national character. English pale ales BELGIAN and bitters TRIPEL relied almost exclusively on Fuggles and Kent Goldings hops and ale malt, German and Continental lagers employed their own products for their brews. Belgian brewers, as much out of necessity as anything else, took an eclectic approach to producing their brews.

“A religious experience

in the tripel style.�

Beer writer Charlie Papazian

True Belgian Quality from


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

The fact that the Westmalle tripel was pale and had superior depth was something of a novelty. This propensity for Belgian brewers to eschew convention and brew outside the lines is what makes them unique. Would German brewers use English or American hops to make their lagers? Would English brewers use pilsner malt to make a pale ale? The answer to both of those questions is obvious. Tripel Treat Part of the mystique of a tripel is the color. They are pure gold or deep-gold, a trait that hides their formidable character, but showcases the softness. This color is achieved by the use of pilsner malt almost exclusively. Any deep hues come from the sheer amount of malt used, or an extended boil. The absence of character malts heightens the alcoholic strength, but lightens the body. Most have a fairly liberal dose of candi sugar (sucrose, up to 20 percent) in the kettle, which takes the strength and body in opposite directions, just like the pilsner malt. Though the body is light, it is not necessarily a thin beer, as brewers tend to balance the mouthfeel by using a slightly elevated mash temperature. On average, a tripel will ferment out to about 7.5 to 10 percent ABV, a strapping level that belies the coy facade. The lithe pilsner malt aids in the drinkability, the light body and the appetizing quality of the brew. They are generally quite effervescent, which is not normal for a beer of such strength, so they should be poured in a wide goblet or tulip to both accommodate the mousse and allow the intricate aroma to be appreciated. Like most Belgian (or New World Belgian-style) ales, the aroma is a complex mixture of both yeast and hop character. Often, a yeast is selected that offers a spiciness to the brew, with pepper, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and even some estery citrus or banana notes. A higher than normal fermentation temperature augments the yeast character even further. Tripels are apt to show off a hop character as well. Blends of various German noble hops, Czech (Saaz), English (Fuggles, East Kent Goldings) and Slovenian (Styrian Goldings) are frequently used. Multiple additions during the boil ensure a wonderful continuum of hop profile, from a fragrant hop perfume, through a tongue-teasing flavor and finally a quenching, bitter finish. The alcohol warmth is fleeting rather than balmy. Always bottle-conditioned, tripels are an ever-evolving beer, with some aging qualities that can withstand prolonged cellaring. Whether produced in Belgium, Canada or the United States, they are almost always designated tripel. Beer lovers may find tripel oddly tempting and seductive, but for the original producers, it is a symbol of firm sustenance, contemplation and pleasure. Open a tripel, and enjoy the experience. You might even find it spiritual.

MAESTROS OF MALT And let’s not forget the hops and yeast! At Bridgeport Brewing, we make beer under the watchful eyes of the most passionate brewmasters around. You demand the highest quality. We deliver. You want a full flavor in craft beer. Hell, we do too, and we promise that we will make the best craft beer you can find. This is our promise. Our pledge to you. We are BridgePort Brewing Company.

©2008 BridgePort Brewing Company, Portland, OR 97209

s ty l e s f r o m t h e

British Tradition

The Complete World of



Pale Ale and Bitter hough bitter and pale ale are generally separated from

a stylistic point of view, they are so closely related that the distinction between them is a tough one to discern. They might be thought of as the fraternal twins of the beer world. Today, it would be easiest to consider bitter as the quintessential pub ale of England, ideally consumed on cask, with pale ale more of a mass-packaged expression of a similar, but not the same, beer. Their divergence is not so clear though, as some real ale (which is served from a cask) is designated pale ale, and some bitters are packaged in bottle and keg. Nevertheless, their history, both separately and together, is an important one that has much bearing on distinct movements in the chronology of modern brewing.

Out of the Dark Until Flemish brewers introduced England to hops in the 16th century, “ales” were flavored with spice and herb mixtures called gruit. The new, hopped brews were called “beer.” Superior in flavor and quality due to the antiseptic property of hops, beer replaced ale as the beverage of choice. The most common brews of the 17th century in England were stouts and porters. Pale malt was available in the early 18th century, but it was expensive, so the commoners were relegated to consuming rougher dark brews. As pale malt became more affordable, palecolored ales supplanted dark ales in popularity. Many English brewers then produced pale, noticeably hopped ales in a range of strengths, one strongversion coming to be the preferred export to the English colonies, India pale ale. Pale ales became common in London during the 18th and 19th century cusp, but still competed fiercely with porter and stout. During the early 19th century, the shrewd brewers at Burton-Upon-Trent in the Midlands developed pale ales of their own. The burgeoning pale ale market in the Midlands had much to do with serendipity, as the water around Burton is quite hard and perfectly suited for the production of pale ale. This alkaline water not only gives an impression of dryness in the fin-

ished beer, but also rounds out the hop bitterness, desirable in a brew that stakes its reputation on a robust hop profile. The hardness of the water may also aid in the clarity of the beer via yeast vigor. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the strength of English ales gradually dropped due to economic instability, wartime rationing of raw materials, and taxation based on original gravity, leading to brews commonly at 5 percent ABV or less.

Bitter or Pale Ale? In the 19th century, ales that were pale in nature were often called either bitter or pale ale interchangeably. It is only in modern times that there has become a bit of a distinction between pale ale and bitter, but even that division is blurred. Some historians look back just 60 years or so, while others point to brewing records from about 150 years ago, when their ilk was referred to as “bitter ales” to distinguish them from the sweeter brown ales and milds of the day. Some consider the manner of dispensing as the decisive factor. Generally, on draft, it would be a bitter; bottled, pale ale. (This

Beer Style:

Pale Ale and Bitter

Serving temperature: 50–55º F Glassware: pint glass, mug Food pairing: sharp cheddar, fish & chips,

roasted meat, steak, Thai dishes

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



Pale Ale and Bitter

Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale Since 1988 in Bend, OR, Deschutes has been creating American interpretations of venerable English ales. At 40 IBUs, Mirror Pond presents the perfect ratio of hops to strength in pale ale. A plump aroma of Cascade hops and orange-gold color leaves no doubt as to its style. The flavor is reminiscent of grapefruit, orange and pine, with a finessed caramel finish. Not overly dry, and a delectable quaff. Northwest pale ale at its zenith. 5% ABV

Coniston Bluebird Bitter The Champion Beer of the Great British Beer Festival in 1998. Made with Maris Otter malt, Challenger hops and “water from the fells,” Bluebird is everything a session beer should be. It is bottle-conditioned. It pours with a tight, short head, and is gold-amber in color. It has a mellow, flowery aroma that is very clean. Faint caramel taste, with a firm body for a special bitter. Dry finish. The accolades are well-earned. 4.2% ABV


Fuller's Extra Special Bitter Perhaps the best-known ESB of English origin, it is worthy of its reputation. Widely available on draft. It is rich copper in hue and pours with a medium head. The aroma is malty, fruity, yeasty and full of the English hop nose. Full-bodied, the malt is very apparent on the palate, and the bitterness is firm and lingering with a mineral aspect. This is a great winter beer, as it is fairly strong, but goes down easily enough to enjoy anytime. A classic. 5.9% ABV

St. Peter’s English Ale Organic malt and hops are used to produce this outstanding pale ale from Suffolk, England. The aroma is astoundingly fresh for an import, very lemony and herbal, almost tea-like. It has a deep gold color and minimal head. Fairly light in body and brimming with hop flavor, the light carbonation gives this beer a real ale texture, with a firm grain chewiness. Not as bitter as most pale ales, but the hops hang on the palate tenaciously. Sessionable and light enough to be a summer quencher. 4.5% ABV

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

is not to say that bitters are not available in bottles, as many are.) Historically, bitter was produced as a draft ale, to be served fresh from the cellar as “running” beers. They usually included the newly developed wet-cured caramel malt in the grist. Pale ales were bottled to show off their color, and could also travel better in the bottle. Often though, English pale ales are referred to as bitters, with pale ale being more associated with modern American brews. As usual, there are exceptions, and thankfully, the exported bottled versions give at least a hint of what a real bitter is.

The Power of Pale Ale Pale ale is essentially the beer that launched the brewing revolution in America. The English sibling, though different, is a bastion of the brewer’s craft and a favorite among cask ale lovers. The development of pale ale over two centuries was critical historically, and its template is responsible for several modern movements that fairly define beer culture in both America and Britain. The subtle maltiness, slightly bracing hop character and aromatic effusion are reminders of artistic simplicity. Much is owed to pale ale, the gratitude paid by its enduring popularity and ubiquity. The shift away from cask-conditioned pale ales in England and towards maintenance-free bottled and kegged beer led to the formation of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) in Britain in the 1970s. Fed up with the fizzy, prickly, massproduced nature of available beer and the dearth of real ale, CAMRA sought a return to the art of cask-conditioning and cellarmanship, with bitters, pale ales and milds among the most desired styles. These efforts revitalized house brewers and grew steadily over the years. At about the same time, there was a movement afoot in the United States, whose state of brewing was far more unimaginative, and had been since the repeal of Prohibition. Once again, pale ale would be on the forefront of a fermenting revolution. Fritz Maytag purchased Anchor Brewing in San Francisco in the 1960s, and produced his now-famous Liberty Ale in 1975. It made use of American hops and barley, and varied rather remarkably from its British equivalent. In 1979, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. was founded, and in 1980 produced its first batch of pale ale. It was the spark that ignited the new brewing revolution, a godsend for those seeking something distinctly American. The catty, highly aromatic hops atop a crisp, light malt profile with clean contours fit the bill nicely. Literally hundreds of breweries produced a beer in the SNPA vein. They were refreshing and flavorful, a tough

culinary duality. This led to a thirst for hoppy brews, and the brewers followed up with IPA, then the bombastic Imperial IPA, and today’s current darling, fresh hop pale ales, where hops are harvested and used within a 24-hour period. Pale, by Comparison Divergence among beer styles is evident in comparing American and English pale ales. This is not to say that one is necessarily better than the other, or that there isn’t some stylistic overlap. Many American brewers make distinctly British versions, taking full advantage of the availability of premium British pale ale malt in the States, and British brewers are experimenting more with American hops. The English/American pale ale contrast offers an interesting examination of basic brewing ingredients. British pale ale malt is nutty and robust, American two-row malt is softer and crisper. Caramel and crystal malt is generally used more liberally in English pales, lending color, bready notes and body, while American pale ale brewers tend to back off a bit on this character malt, adding to its brisk profile. Classic English hops are refined, earthy and floral; whereas American hops tend to evoke wildness, with a brash citrus and pine profile.

Balance is a feature of English pales, while Americans proudly show off a full spectral hop character, with particular attention to aromatic additions. American yeast tends to be a silent workhorse, leaving the malt and hops to fend for themselves, while classic English ale yeast leave a notable footprint of fruity esters and faint butterscotch. The average ABV of both is about 5 to 6.5 percent, and both are burnt gold to full amber in color. Think of Bass Ale and Sam Smiths Old Brewery Pale Ale as the most recognizable English versions, with Sierra Nevada the American counterpart among the hundreds that exist. Pale ale has not only spawned a revolution or two, but also sired a myriad of beer styles. It catapulted America into a new era of brewing, and did the same in Britain long ago. Interestingly enough, the result was the same in both cases: an enlightenment of sorts, an epiphany that there was more to beer than the status quo.

Bitter, Ordinary and Special Bitter as a beer style may invite some trepidation among the uninitiated, but the family of beers known as bitters are nothing more than a type of pale ale. They are, at their simplest, definitive session beers. Best from a cask, but no

Britain’s best-selling premium ale. WHATEVER YOU DO, TAKE PRIDE. For more information email

the Complete World of B eer S tyles PRIDE_5x7 inches.indd 2


10/7/08 15:04:45

stranger to bottles, bitter is the most common real ale in its homeland of England. The Essence of Bitter As bitters run from gold-amber to full copper in color, grist augmentation with specialty malts is often in order. The colorenhancing malts are crystal on the light end of the spectrum, to black malt on the high end. A light- to medium-caramel memo is a bitter requisite. It is not unusual, and wholly acceptable, to include flaked maize or sugar in the recipe. Implicitly, a significant dose of bittering hops are the norm, though they are not meant to dominate the beer. The impression should be one of a lingering, quenching bitterness. Cask versions may get a bit of aromatic dry-hopping in the cask itself. English beers have an undeniable character, with subtleties contributed by water condition and yeast, sometimes reminiscent of minerals. Often hard water is used for pale ales and bitters. Centuries of selective yeast culling is also a significant contributor. Gentle fruitiness is yet another byproduct that one would expect in an English bitter. Bitters are often pigeonholed into one of three different classifications based on original gravity and alcohol con-

uif!xpsmeĂ–t! psjhjobm-!pvs Dibnqjpo!Bmf/

For more information email



the Complete World of B eer S tyles

tent, with a concomitant hop rate that puts them within a respective balance. The fairest of the lot is ordinary bitter. With an ABV of less than 4 percent, ordinaries are perfect session beers. Boasting plenty of malt backbone to back up the hops, an ordinary bitter is proof that a beer need not be big to be beautiful. The middle rung is occupied by special, or best bitter. Less than 4.6 percent ABV, it is simply a strong version of an ordinary. Still a session beer, most of the bitters fall into this category. At the top of the hierarchy are extra special (ESB) or strong bitters. They range from 4.6 to as much as 6 percent ABV and over 50 IBU. Still very quaffable, they generally have a stiff maltiness, and more complexity. They are sometimes offered as a seasonal.

Real Ale Savvy beer drinkers know that beer has many faces. Unfiltered, unpasteurized brew is seen as a natural, unadulterated product. Bottle-conditioned beer has its own appeal and devotees, but the zenith of natural beer is cask-conditioned real ale, its proponents unwavering in their devotion. The Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), the powerful consumer organization, keeps a watchful eye on the real ale culture in Britain. They rescued the custom, which was in danger of being snuffed by larger breweries, over 30 years ago. The term “real ale� alone denotes a set of guidelines that must be followed to designate the beer as such. Made from traditional ingredients, real ale is a live entity that must be served while fresh. The draft version is conditioned in a cask just long enough to allow a dose of priming sugar to bestow gentle carbonation. Finings help pull yeast out of suspension during the cask fermentation. Often the beer is dry-hopped right in the cask to add hop aroma. The ale must be served precisely when it reaches its proper carbonation and maturity level. The kegs are kept at cellar temperature, and dispensed via beer engine with a hand pump at the bar. Some are dispensed via gravity alone. The cask is vented so oxygen is let into the keg. A keg of real ale will change subtly over a few days as a result of the oxygen and a continuation of its conditioning. Technical skill and art meld to create this ephemeral delight. Though less romantic, bottle-conditioned brews also fit the definition of real ale. Bitters lend themselves well to the concept of real ale. Most ale served this way in Britain is a bitter. The easy caramel malt character, combining with a quenching hop bitterness and a fresh hop aroma is righteous indeed. Bitter as a session beer adds to the sociability and ambiance that is the heart of the English pub. 

The Complete World of



Always Original—IPA and Imperial IPA orn during the Industrial Revolution out of necessity and

fueled by novelty, India pale ale is the subject of a 300-year-old saga that remains unfinished. But the abridged version of British brewers sending their hoppy, fortified pale ales to troops in India is merely the veneer of this rich legacy. IPA is currently in the midst of its third movement, in quintessentially American extreme fashion. As the original IPAs served to fortify an already formidable brewing industry in England, and the American interpretation became a craft beer staple in the 1990s, so has Imperial IPA stoked a sizzling U.S. specialty brewing scene in this decade. In today’s envelope-pushing state of brewing, modern IIPA has no equal, and hops are its heroes in the quest for explosive and innovative beers.

The Birth Britain had emigrants, sailors and troops all around the world—with India being one of its most important outposts. All demanded beer, but India itself was too warm for brewing. The commonly dark, sweet ales of London usually arrived in the subcontinent infected, uncarbonated and unrefreshing. George Hodgson, brew master at The Bow Brewery in East London in the late 1700s, used his proximity to the East India Co. to dominate the export market to the colony. Among other beers, Hodgson exported a strong, hopped pale ale. Primed and dry-hopped casks kept this ale vital and less susceptible to microbial invaders. The excessive hop dosages and elevated alcohol levels, combined with the long voyage, transformed the beer into a wonderful drink. But Hodgson overreached, and opened the door to the brewers of Burton-on-Trent, long known for creating outstanding darker beers. The pale ale coming from the Trent valley tasted imminently better than London brews, because its sulfate-rich water produced a brighter ale—one with a pleasant and refreshing hop character.

Burton brewmaster Samuel Allsop succeeded in brewing one of exceptional quality, with help from an expert maltster, and offered a strong pale ale superior to those of London. It displaced the London beers to become the preferred export to the English colonies as India pale ale. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, trendy continental pale lagers chipped away at pale ale’s rightful place in English pubs. This phenomenon was even more pronounced abroad. Britain exported ales in the first half of the 19th century to the United States, following the original wave of immigrants. But, alas, as in Europe, lagers took over, ale production dwindled and Prohibition essentially wiped out ale brewing in the United States. But not every brewer succumbed. Ballantine’s IPA—brewed first in 1830 by Scottish immigrant Peter Ballantine in his adopted New York—survived Prohibition and until 1997. Ballantine’s was rediscovered during the American brewing boom of the 1980s and ‘90s. Called Ballantine’s Burton at one time, it was hoppy, of formidable strength and a rare brew, given the period. It is believed that many of the ales made in America today use a strain of yeast related to that used by Ballantine—a fitting, if serendipitous, tribute.

Beer Style:

IPA and Imperial IPA

Serving temperature: 50–57º F Glassware: pint glass (IPA); snifter, tulip, pint

glass (Imperial IPA)

Food pairing: grilled salmon, Indian dishes (IPA),

spicy curry, pungent cheese, pâté (IIPA)

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



IPA and Imperial

Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’

Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA

Three Floyds Dreadnaught

Bear Republic Racer X

Since 1987, Anderson Valley Brewing of Boonville, CA has impressed the beer world with its extraordinarily crafted brews. Hop Ottin’ IPA is the quintessential west coast interpretation of the style. Light copper in color, with a sticky off-white head, Hop Ottin’s pungent aroma is pine-pitch and grapefruit, with a hint of malt and fruit. It has a full body and outstanding mouthfeel, with a resinous-citrus flavor, background of earthy caramel and hints of berry. The herbal, lingering finish is the perfect punctuation for the incorrigible hophead. 7.0% ABV

The flagship brew of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware, 60 Minute IPA is bright and brassy amber in color, and the aroma is robust with notes of citrus and cedar. But where the three-hop blend shines is in the gritty, earthy flavor that accompanies a clean malty backbone and smooth medium body. The crisp, firm, complex finish is appetizingly bitter in this superbly crafted beer. Dogfish Head might be more famous for its unusual and experimental beers, but their classic interpretations are every bit as noteworthy. Dig the symmetry of 60 IBU, 60 minutes of continuous hop additions and 6% ABV.

Located in Munster, IN, Three Floyds is easily one of the most original and hard-working breweries in the United States, with flourish being part of the gig. The Dreadnaught is a deep copper, lacy brew whose aroma itches to get out of the bottle— full of grapefruit, pine needles, peach and mown grass in the nose. The palate is unyielding with a full mouthfeel and malty, caramel, flavors. Allowing the beer to warm really liberates the character. Noticeably strong with some volatile alcohol warming. In a word, impressive.

Located in Healdsburg in Sonoma County, CA, Bear Republic is at the nexus of Imperial IPA land. Orange-gold in color with an off-white crown. Great depth of aroma with a spicy, citrus character and pine woods. Fresh and fruity, with a berry-like flavor to accompany the malt. The finish leaves a lingering hop coating on the tongue. Creamy all the way around, and simply one of the best. Racer X is the brawny big brother to their Racer 5.

The Resurrection On the heels of CAMRA in the 1970s, a similar movement in the United States started to gather momentum. As microbreweries cropped up in the 1970s, ales forgotten decades earlier appeared on the landscape. The utilization of American ingredients, especially hops, were an epiphany to those who tasted them for the first time. New Albion Brewing in Sonoma, CA, was one of the first to venture into this frontier. Though they lasted only a few years, they helped sow the seeds of the American craft brewing revolution. San Francisco’s Anchor Brewery was resurrected in the 1960s by Fritz Maytag, now an icon in American brewing lore. In 1975, he first made what is now known as Liberty Ale, originally calling it “Our Special Ale.” An instant classic, it was made with American ingredients and teetered on the IPA stylistic precipice. The Sierra Nevada Brewery first produced its Celebration Ale in 1983, and it garnered the full attention of blossoming 66

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

9.0% ABV

9.5% ABV

hopheads. Its higher gravity and massive, fresh, unmistakable West Coast hop bouquet is still a pleasure. Other brewers took the cue, and IPA took over as the beer that Americans came to love. Most come in at 6 to 7 percent ABV, and have a dark gold to light amber color, at times with a subtle to moderate caramel character, medium mouthfeel and dry, quenching finish.

Imperializing The developing American fetish for aromatic, strong IPAs rolled unfettered through the 1980s and into the ‘90s. Nearly every brewery had one. Over time, as palates acclimated and brewers looked for something new, a natural progression happened. Brewers started demonstrating their skill with mammoth beers whose malt edifice had massive doses of hops breathing down its neck. There was little reason to be reticent, as America had lost its brewing personality 50

years earlier and, aside from a tradition of craftsmanship, was essentially reinventing itself. There were no boundaries to balk at, guidelines to abide by and, foremost, no traditionalists to answer to. The brewers themselves were making (and breaking) the rules, restrained only by the limits of their own creativity. IPA was a natural target for that take-no-prisoners attitude. Soon enough, as the public dictated, hops won the battle for supremacy. The United States, primarily in the Pacific Northwest, grows a greater variety of hops than anywhere else. American hops run the gamut from soft and citrusy, to rough and resiny and even fruity. In proper combination, they can produce an IPA with an unimaginable hop profile. Imperial IPAs now reign as the undisputed heavyweight champ of hoppy expression.

Building the Beast Skill is required to brew any beer competently, but when boundaries are toppled in the name of exploration, experimental aptitude and intuition may be even more important. Beyond being just a beefier version of IPA, Imperial versions are incrementally more complex by design. Grain bills

remain relatively similar to those of IPA. Small amounts of caramel and sometimes the malty Munich variety are used to round out the mouthfeel and gusset the hop onslaught. Generally light amber to bronze in color, Imperial IPA makes use of a relatively simple malt bill to showcase the hops as their aromatics fairly bound from the glass. The IBU ratings are lofty, but the real calling card of the brew is its flavor and aromatic hops. It’s evident to anyone with an appreciation for American IPA that these Imperials present the familiar bouquet of northwestern hops. Grapefruit and other citrus, as well as cherry, pine resin and a general floral presentation exemplify a well-made IIPA. And, as if the burst of aroma wasn’t enough to take your breath away, they generally pack a roundhouse punch of 8 or more percent alcohol by volume. Imperial IPA symbolizes the rambunctious, independent nature of American microbrewers. Its blueprint for success was well established and needed only some adventurous and restless souls to take the plunge. Imperial IPA has spawned a movement of its own, with the imperialization of other styles becoming commonplace. For now, though, brawny IIPA is the most palate-tested and awe-inspiring of them all.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



Brown Ale hough the brewing industry continually reinvents itself, few

breweries would have survived, or even been established, without a portfolio of familiar, time-tested styles. These endure because of their soft edges and drinkability. With humble roundness and rich, supple character, brown ales are an example of this sensibility. Rooted in the earliest of English brewing history, intertwined with historical porter, refined during the golden age of brewing, and rediscovered during the recent brewing renaissance, brown ales are ubiquitous in one interpretation or another. They are literally the base beer that spawned most of the other styles in England. They are outstanding crossover beers, showcasing a malt complexity and smooth contour agreeable to almost everyone. Not coincidentally, that was the original intent of brown ale, a modest brew that served to satisfy the masses. Brown Evolution Brown ale as we know it today is a relatively modern creation, though brown beer has existed for several hundred years. In the early 19th century, Daniel Wheeler’s newly patented black malt was added separately to a grist where desired. Modern stout and porter, containing these black, roasted malts, were born. Beers made with the patented malt were henceforth known as black beers and those without, brown. Brown ale would acquire its signature with the development of lightly roasted and caramelized malts. Though favored as a proletarian brew through a good portion of the 19th century, an overall lull in the demand for brown brews coincided with a movement towards pale beers into the 20th century. Brown ale was considered somewhat stodgy, but nevertheless held on just enough in pubs throughout London and some other pockets of England.

Beer Style:

Brown Ales

Serving temperature: 50–55º F Glassware: pint glass, mug Food pairing: green salad with vinaigrette, game

meat, BBQ, hamburger


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Before long, one of today’s famous brewers would reintroduce the world to the pleasures of brown ale, and essentially define the modern style. Prior to 1927, bottled versions of dark mild ale were marketed as brown ale. To capitalize on the demand for bottled beers, the brewmaster of Scottish and Newcastle, Jim Porter, was given the task of formulating a beer to fill that niche. His Newcastle Brown Ale, introduced in 1927, was designed to cater to the local working class, and was so superbly-crafted that it won a gold medal at the Brewers’ Exposition in London in 1928. The style moniker and legacy remain today. It is nutty, with a delicate caramel background and dryish finish. No beer seems easier on the palate.

The Spirit of Brown Today, brown ales in England are very much like the Newcastle blueprint, though some in the south are a bit sweeter and darker. It is in the United States, where the craft brewing inclination is to “Americanize” the classic styles that things diverge a bit. In that respect, a lot of those brewed in America are made heftier, hopped more aggressively (with American hops of course), or both. On the other hand, given the proclivity for tradition, many brewers in the United States have maintained the modesty that is manifested in classic English brown ale.


Brown Ales

Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale

Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale

From the Old Brewery Tadcaster in Yorkshire, Nut Brown pours brunette with a loose and clingy froth. An aromatic mixture of caramel, butterscotch, and malt, the flavor is nutty, with that same hint of butter and caramel, reminiscent of toffee. The finish is rather crisp, with a wisp of hops to polish the palate. The buttery house imprint left by rousing the gregarious yeast in Yorkshire slate square fermenters is unmistakable. Samuel Smiths was founded in 1758, and this brew is a classic by any measure. 5.0% ABV

Brewed in Boulder, CO, Ellie’s Brown is deep russet and shows a well-formed, longlasting head. Dark caramel malt, chocolate and a soft floral character grace the nose. A nice creamy mouthfeel is coupled with toasted nut, caramel, light roast and gentle hop flavor. The caramel sweetness is nimble rather than cloying. The dark malts give this brew a dry texture. Avery may be known more for their bigger beers but this well-rounded brown is as fine as any traditional brown ale brewed in the United States. Suitable as a quencher or a dessert beer. 5.8% ABV

Nøgne Ø Brown Ale Brewed in Grimstad, Norway, this newcomer is deep reddishbrown, with a fleeting head. The nose is redolent with the earthy goodness of chocolate and especially brown malt, an historical nod. The flavor is no less interesting, with a slightly craggy edge softened by a hint of caramel and toffee. Very complex, this intricate brew straddles the nebulous line between brown ale and brown porter, very much a nostalgic beer. The finish is snappy, as the sharpness of the dark malts loiters a bit, urging the next sip. Bravo to Nøgne Ø, their portfolio is impressive and, coming from a land of light lagers, it is even more astounding. 4.4% ABV.

New Glarus Fat Squirrel This bucolic brewery in New Glarus, WI is well known for its dazzling specialties and outliers, but its regular offerings are no less stellar. Fat Squirrel pours deep brown with a creamy tan head. The aroma unleashes a mixture of chocolate, toffee and caramel. The full mouthfeel marries wonderfully rich, malty and nutty flavors. The hop blend treads lightly both in the flavor and the soft finish. Fat Squirrel is made entirely with homegrown Wisconsin malt and is bottle-conditioned.

It is the deft employment of specialty malt that makes or breaks a great brown ale. Historically, pale ale malt would have been augmented with a measure of brown malt, and later, some caramel malt. Brown malt is a spirited grist component, as it has a very earthy component, slender roastiness, as well as a full reddish hue. Some might consider it a bit coarse if used extensively, but just as many find it appealing. The resurgence of historical brews has spurred maltsters in England to produce more of it, as even American brewers are keen to add that bit of authenticity. It is still a commonly used malt in England. More often though, caramel and chocolate malts are use to achieve the deep amber-to-mahogany color. Each of these malts contribute the essential flavors. The synergy is a soft toffee character unique to a well-made brown. Few beer styles showcase the art of blending just a few well-selected malts. Sometimes, the liberal use of dark malt blurs the line between brown ale and porter, especially those brewed with the rougher brown malt. These versions may be very close to historical brown porters. Brown ales are, in fact, somewhat interpretive, showing a continuum of plentiful caramel, rich chocolate and soft roast, or any combination thereof. True-to-style English brown ales are well-balanced with respect to hops. East Kent Golding or Fuggles would fit the bill if brewing a classic version. Hops should be noticeable, but not overshadow the engaging, whispering sweetness of the malt. Americanized interpretations have as their own signature a somewhat forceful hop character, both in bittering and aromatic additions with noticeable floral, citrus and pine notes. This is a tricky proposition, as dark malts don’t always handle those catty hops well. English yeast will provide the most character, and give that earthy, mineral character that brown ale richly deserves; this is, after all, a beer of everyman, with a lot of substance packed into an understated package, to be enjoyed over several hours. Most are around 5 percent ABV, but American versions often push towards 6 percent. Those opulent versions are more the norm these days. And though many don’t fit snugly into the classic mold, there are many wellbalanced, superbly nuanced ones to be found. The true beer-lover is one who will both explore and enjoy the vogue, and embrace the nostalgic brews. Just as a skilled chef can make a remarkable dish with few ingredients, so can a brewer craft a simple, contemplative beer in the same manner. Brown ale is such, as those who appreciate them are looking for nothing more than straightforward, unadorned enjoyment. Sometimes, that is the toughest challenge. Often, rather ironically, it is the easiest to find.

5.8% ABV the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



The Ales of Scotland cotland embodies an understated, self-confident mentality true to its

sturdy inhabitants. Largely rural and natural, the ales of Scotland symbolize both the people and landscape, which can be at once craggy and bucolic. As Scotland lies in the United Kingdom, one would assume that its ales should reflect the characteristics of the grand, historic brews of Great Britain. But Scotland’s ales are an eclectic hybrid, with largely indigenous ingredients proudly lending finesse to brews that otherwise owe their profile to techniques practiced by the disparate brewing cultures of England and Germany. They are top fermented (albeit patiently) and truly ales in that respect, but are cold conditioned in the manner of lager brewers of Bavaria and Bohemia. The result is a deep, hearty color, even in the paler versions, and a smooth, humble depth of character. Like many representative beer styles, they have taken a long, meandering road to their final destination, but in the end, are a product of those things that ultimately work best with the medium and the environment. Seminal Scottish Ale The cradle of brewing is generally attributed to Mesopotamia around 4000 BC. There is, however, archaeological confirmation of ancient brewing in Scotland. The evidence comes from Fife, north of Edinburgh, and Kinloch, on the Isle of Rhum, and the tribal inhabitants that roamed both continental and maritime Europe at the time. Archaeologists uncovered a shard of pottery dated to 2000 BC and the Neolithic period, that contained traces of a fermented beverage brewed with heather flowers. Though little is known about these early brews beyond the artifact, there is some anecdotal evidence surrounding the brewing of heather ales

Beer style:

The Ales of Scotland

Serving temperature: 50–55º F Glassware: thistle, snifter, pint glass (Scotch

ale/wee heavy); pint glass, thistle (Scottish ale)

Food pairing: game meats, cream desserts

(Scotch ale/wee heavy); roasted meat, lamb (Scottish ale)


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

and mead by the Picts a couple of millennia ago, prior to the arrival of the Romans. Legend has it that the closely-guarded heather ale recipe went to the grave with a Pictish elder, who resisted divulging the recipe even in the face of death. As in much of medieval Europe, Scottish monasteries housed the brewing artisans, famous for their ale. The patron saint of Glasgow, St. Mungo, was himself a skilled brewer in the sixth century AD. In the Middle Ages in Scotland, the task of brewing often fell to the women, especially in rural areas. Many of these broustaris were so adept at brewing that they sold their product to the public. Aberdeen boasted a list of 152 such brewing women in 1509 and the brewing center of Edinburgh employed over 300 female brewers, or “alewives.” The first documented beer purchase from a public brewery is in 1488, when James IV bought a barrel of Blackford ale in Perthshire. The cost: 12 Scots shillings. The rising popularity of these public breweries led to the formation of a brewing and malting guild in the 16th century in Glasgow, known as the Incorporation of Maltmen. In another move to protect the Scottish breweries, law-makers made it illegal

to import foreign beer of any sort. This allowed the brewers of Scotland to concentrate on their own products. Edinburgh was the Scottish epicenter, rivaling London and Munich in stature during the burgeoning period of commercial brewing in 18th century Europe. Scottish beers were highly-regarded around Europe, and in faraway ports in the Caribbean, Canada and South America. The apex of Scottish brewing ended during the 19th century. The first test to the Scottish markets came from England, whose unfettered production and export of porter challenged the Scots. Later, English brewers perfected pale ales, usurping locally brewed beers in popularity. Finally, Central European braumeisters refined their revolutionary pale lagers and took yet another bite out of the Scottish ale province. But each time the Scots adapted and persevered, either by hiring foreign brewers to produce those same beers in Scotland, or by learning to make them themselves. This resilience and versatility proved valuable from a survival, if not dominating, standpoint, in that Edinburgh became perhaps the most eclectic brewing center in the world. At one point, Edinburgh brewers were producing porters, stouts, lagers, brown ales and bitters, as well as their own unique Scottish ales. This was aided by the diversity of water hardness among the many wells dug in Edinburgh for brewing, each source lending a helping hand to individual beer styles. Soon enough, regional pride endeared people to their country’s beers, with the Scots concentrating on their own version of ale.

The color in a Scottish ale comes from judicious use of dark malt. Today, caramel malt is more common in the grist, but traditionally a small amount of roasted, unmalted barley was used for color and a hint of smokiness. Thrifty brewers of yore roasted the unsprouted, or slack, barley and used it in the mash, usually amounting to about 1 to 2 percent on average. There is historical evidence that Scottish beers were mashed at a slightly higher temperature than English beers. This would also create fuller, more dextrinous wort, a characteristic that is evident in modern Scottish ales. Unlike the English, Scots brewers were employing the practice of sparging, rinsing the grain while running off the wort, instead of the repeated drain and mash “parti-gyle” method to produce multiple brews from a single mash. As the sparge method filled the kettle slower, and resulted in prolonged contact with the fire, the wort acquired a more caramelized character. Again, this is yet another contemporary characteristic of the Scots ware, even if it is done through a prolonged boil. Scottish ales are lightly hopped brews. As it is near impossible to grow hops in Scotland, they resisted using them longer than most other brewers, and when they did use them, did so

Distinguished Scots What then, makes Scotland’s ales different from their counterparts to the south? The answer lies in the ironic fact that they employ many of the same ingredients, but have craftily waged a symbiotic relationship with their distinctive climate, which approximates the distant environs of Bavaria. Scotland is famous for its barley, both northern whiskey barley, and southern ale barley. The two overlap agriculturally, but the southern is of the same stock that is used in English and Irish ales. It is rich and substantial, even in its most lightly-kilned form, cementing the foundation for Scottish brews. Scots maltsters were often the brewers and distillers. This intimate connection to their goods ultimately manifests itself in the ensuing production of the malt. It should come as no surprise that Scottish ales are malty in their essence, a proud platform of both craft and art. Oats and, to a lesser degree, wheat are other crops that grow easily in the cool, sometimes forbidding climate. Each will, on occasion, find their way into a grist, lending a creaminess and full-bodied impression.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



sparingly because of the cost. To avoid more shipping costs, hops were stored, and aged hops, which lost some of its bittering qualities, were also used. This is yet again manifested in the modern ales. English varieties are used. The cool climate of Scotland necessitated the selection of a yeast that could ferment at temperatures more like that of a lager beer. Still an ale yeast, it worked at a leisurely pace and left the beers somewhat under-fermented. Storage in cellars that approximate the lagering caves in Bavaria imparted a distinct lager-like character: smooth, full and malty, with a dryish finish. They are deep amber, to full copper, to black-tinted brown, full-bodied and may have a bit of smoky character. Of particular historical import is the fact the a preference for herbs held fort longer in Scotland than many other places. Indigenous plants such as bog myrtle, heather, spruce and other botanicals remained popular. Heather is used today in at least one Scottish ale, Fraoch, and coriander adds a unique accent to Traquair House’s Scotch ale, Jacobite. Heather Ales in Alloa counts gooseberry (grozet), elderberry (ebulum), and Scots pine and spruce (alba) and kelp brews among their offerings. The Ebulum is a black ale, and is especially interesting. Often the brewers refer to their individual brews by the shilling designations, a remnant of an old taxation system. It is important to distinguish between so-called Scottish and Scotch ales. Scottish ales called 60 (light), 70 (heavy) or 80 (export) shilling are in the range of 2.5 percent to 5.0 percent ABV. Scotch ale, or wee heavy, starts at 90 shilling and usually measures at least 6.5 percent ABV, with an original gravity of about 1070. Some historical Scotch ales might be as high as 140 shilling, with a starting gravity of 1125, although the scale has slipped downward some over the last 150 years. Today’s 80 shilling might be equivalent to a 60 shilling of 1850. Wee heavy ales tend to be a specialty brew. They share much of their profile with other strong beers, yet retain more individuality, more at the impulse of the brewer. Classic, distinct beer styles are just that because of their evolution, which can depend on things both serendipitous and intended. Scottish ales are every bit the session beer that mild, brown ale and bitter are. Gentle enough to quaff a few, yet soothing enough for cool nights, proving that mellow beers need not be boring. Wee heavys are lush, vigorous and alluring, big and satisfying, almost an image of Scotland, itself. Whatever the strength, the ales of Scotland are the perfect partner for the cool, mesmerizing landscape. The brewers who make them are scattered throughout Scotland, from the southern borders to the remote Orkney archipelago in the north. 72

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

The Ales of Scotland

Skullsplitter Ale

Jacobite Ale

The quintessential Scotch ale. Brewed at Orkney Brewery on the windswept Orkney archipelago off the northern coast of Scotland in the town of Quoyloo. Named after the notorious Thorfinn Hausakluif (the skullsplitter himself), who was the seventh Viking Earl of Orkney about 1,000 years ago. Rich, malty, with a pronounced smoky character and very smooth, it sports a dark brown color. There are hints of butterscotch, caramel candy and fig. Most definitely something to be enjoyed slowly at 8.5% ABV.

Brewed at Traquair House Brewery in Peebleshire, southern Scotland. Made with pure spring water and a small amount of coriander. Deep brown in color, the aroma is sweet and the coriander faint but noticeable. It has a rich, full mouthfeel and a substantial earthy malt flavor. Notes of chocolate, raisin and molasses are also present. This beer is dessert in a bottle. Traquair House also makes a non-spiced Scotch ale that is a classic example. 8.0% ABV

Broughton Black Douglas Ale Brewed on the Scottish Borders, Black Douglas is dark redbrown, with a fluffy tan head. Molasses and roast malt, with a wisp of peat in the aroma. The flavor is spicy with smoky phenol, and a nice background of dark caramel and fruit. The finish is dry and slightly sharp, owing to a decent hop smack and the roasted barley. 5.2% ABV

Belhaven St. Andrews Ale From Belhaven Brewery, named for the “Home of Golf.” Copper pour with an off-white head. The aroma is laden with faint almond, woody and wine notes and a fleeting whiff of hops. Medium-bodied, featuring mellow caramel and cherry hints over the mellow, soft malt. The finish is dryish and nutty. 4.6% ABV

The Complete World of



Porter he development of porter in the early 18th century is among the

most significant brewing events of the past 300 years. Porter signaled a shift in brewing practice and drove the Industrial Revolution in brewing. It rose to dominance, was supplanted by its offspring, and eventually disappeared altogether. Given up for dead just three decades ago, it has been resurrected by the current proclivity for historical beers. Birth of a Style Porter was created specifically to lessen the load on London publicans who served legions of thirsty laborers by blending beers of various strengths and maturity. One such blend was known as “three threads,” a reference to the three beers— brown, stale and pale—that publicans combined to produce the popular beverage. Brown was the common beer of the day. Old brown ale, known as stale beer, was kept for a period of maturation during which it developed lactic and musty cask character. Pale beer was made from pale malt produced around London, and the beers made from it were referred to as “two penny.” Well-aged, stronger beers made from the first runnings of the mash during this period (the early 18th century) were often called butt beers, as they were stored in large casks known as butts. But innovative brewers in London began to make a hoppier single brew from several combined runnings of the mash, and dubbed it “entire butt beer.” The sobriquet “porter” was most likely adopted for these beers because of the new brew’s immense popularity with the porters who comprised a good portion of the workforce.

Industrial Porter The popularity of porter during the 18th century coincided nicely with the groundswell of the Industrial Revolution. Brewing moguls emerged and built massive breweries to slake the thirst of the burgeoning workforce. Steam-powered engines provided power and innovative copper cooling systems allowed year-round brewing and storing.

Brewers took advantage of the improving trade routes and porter’s popularity to send their brew throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. To the dismay of the brewers outside of London, porter was putting many on the verge of bankruptcy. The solution was to make porter, themselves. In Ireland, Arthur Guinness was brewing only porter early in the 19th century, but became well-known for its “stout porter,” simply a strong version of porter, and eventually exported his brews to England. Within a century, Guinness became the largest brewery in the world.

Paint It Black Existing for decades as a brown beer, porter’s complexion was about to change. Coke replaced coal as a curing fuel for malt, creating a lighter, amber malt that replaced brown malt as a chief ingredient in porter. Coupling that with the increasingly common pale malt, porter would have taken a pale turn. Pale malt was slightly more expensive, but also more efficient, proven by the new instrument, the hydrometer. This was welcomed from the business standpoint but posed a public relations issue. Porter drinkers expected their beer to be dark and, mistakenly, stronger. Beer Style:


Serving temperature: 50–55º F Glassware: pint glass Food pairing: seared scallops, steak, burgers,

chocolate mousse

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



To give the public the dark beer they were familiar with, newly invented black malt, made with Daniel Wheeler’s revolutionary drum kiln, was added instead of other questionable, toxic or narcotic substances. Ironically, the things that defined and propelled porter also led to its demise. Pale ales and pilsners swiftly became the darlings of Europe. Stout was catching the eye of those who wanted a dark beer, but something stronger. Brown ales and milds defined themselves as regional favorites. By the 1940s, porter had essentially vanished in England. It seemed fated to be appreciated only in a historical context, but the newest wave of brewers were loathe to relegate porter to such an end. The persistence of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in the United Kingdom and the forward-thinking optimism of microbrewers in North America leased new life to the style in the late 1970s.

Profiling Porter Porter today is far different from the original, but not unlike that of almost 200 years ago. Black malt is the defining feature. The style guidelines segregate porter into two styles true to the historical brews, those being either brown or robust porters. Strong brown porter is


Tyranena Chief Blackhawk Porter Brewed at the modest Tyranena Brewing Co. in Lake Mills, WI. Almost opaque, with red tints. Notes of cocoa, creamy chocolate and coffee in the nose. Medium bodied with a complex malt character of sweet caramel, malted milk and a formidable dose of black malt. Very well-balanced hop and malt profile. Soothing and crisp, with quite a memorable finish and superb drinkability.

Anchor Porter From the brewery that launched the micro revolution in the United States, a benchmark for the style. A fluffy brown, lacey head caps this mahogany-black brew. The aroma is bittersweet chocolate, malt and toffee, with a smack of West Coast hops. Silky smooth on the palate, roasted malt reminiscent of mocha, a touch of molasses and light fruitiness (raisins). It has a wonderfully dry finish that begs for more. Brewed since 1972. 5.6% ABV

5.6% ABV


For more information email


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Meantime London Porter Brewed at The Greenwich Brewery in London, this robust porter is London-style brewing at its apex. It uses seven malts in its 1750 recipe to create superior depth and complexity. Deep ruby-black in color, the head is a rocky, clinging mocha. Hints of molasses, burnt sugar, and chocolate suffuse the nose. The flavor is brawny, but trim, the collection of dark malts providing roasty dryness, with the base malts lending malt, caramel and toffee. The flavor also has hint of wood and smoke. The mouthfeel is creamy, the finish mildly bitter. Bold and earthy all the way around. 6.5% ABV

Smuttynose Robust Porter From Smuttynose Brewing in Portsmouth, NH, this robust porter combines skilled American craft brewing with classic English style. Black with mahogany tints, the tan head is rocky and lacy. The aroma offers a hint of American hops, and a full dose of chocolate, caramel and black malt, with a whisper of molasses. The creamy, full mouthfeel carries a burst of roast and bittersweet chocolate. Delicately bitter, it finishes with a touch of caramel sweetness and more of the coffee-like roast. Founded in 1994, Smuttynose has a well-earned reputation as one of America’s best all around breweries. 5.7% ABV

perhaps the most historically accurate interpretation, but robust porters are probably more common. While a stout relies heavily on roasted barley, porters showcase black patent malt. Chocolate malt is more commonly found in porter versus stout. Body-building crystal or caramel malt adds a bit of sweetness and mouthfeel. Even Munich-style malts are used to give more malty complexity. Some adventurous modern brewers are going the historical route and using a modicum of brown or amber malt. The distinction between brown and robust porters may be blurred, but a robust porter is generally deep red-black, is slightly higher in strength, and relies more on black malt. A brown porter is indeed deep brown, features a chocolaty and caramel forefront, and is slightly lower in alcohol. Alcohol by volume for all porters is generally between 4.0 and 6.0% ABV. English brewers tend to stick to their own traditional hop varieties. Americans might opt for English hops as a historical nod, but most brewers put a stamp of their own on the beer. High-alpha acid hops are often evident in the background, and flavor and aroma hops present that familiar panoply of resinous, citrusy and piney notes, as at home in porters as they are in pale ales. Some of the subtleties of the hops might get lost in the deep-colored malts, but the marriage adds

depth and smoothness. Usually the hoppy, Americanized versions are definitively in the robust category.

Finding Porter Porters are common in CAMRA-recommended real ale venues and in brewpubs and microbreweries throughout the United Kingdom. On this side of the pond, porters might not be as favored as stouts, but are nevertheless ubiquitous. Edmund Fitzgerald Porter from Great Lakes Brewing Co. is a cut above most. Smoked versions from Alaskan, Rogue and Stone showcase the versatility of specialty porter. Mad River’s Scotch Porter uses both Scottish peated malt and German rauch malt in a burly, well-balanced porter. Highland’s Oatmeal Porter exploits the silky quality of oatmeal to enhance the smoothness. All of these fall on the robust side of the ledger. For sheer versatility, porters are hard to beat, offering sturdiness on the one hand, drinkablility on the other. They can be the epitome of balance, or a dark beer for hopheads. The range of flavors in porter is almost unparalleled for a beer of modest means. Soothing enough for cold weather, modest enough for warm, porters may still take a back seat to stout, but they occupy the driver’s seat for many.

Smuttynose Half Page Ad TK

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



Dry Stout and Oatmeal Stout ost people who take the plunge into the “dark side” of beer explora-

tion are surprised to find out that most stouts are neither heavy nor overwhelmingly strong. Quite the opposite is true in fact, as the complexity and modest strength more than balance the bitterness of their signature roasty punch. Both dry and oatmeal stout are agreeable enough to be session type brews, and are rather versatile in their palate. Their kinship is unmistakable, as are their differences. The minimalist dry stouts are appetizing and quenching, the velvety, sweetish oatmeal stouts are more contemplative and well-rounded. Together, they could perfectly frame a seamless evening of food and drink. Dry Stouts No beer style is more intertwined with a single country than are dry stouts with Ireland. Though not originally from Ireland, dry stouts were nurtured and defined there. Quenching, creamy and mild in strength, they are a perfect session beer. Ireland’s brewing culture has been traced back about five millennia. But it is the past 300 hundred years, and the well-known brewing revolution in England, that directly influenced the craft and commerce of Ireland. The first specific mention of stout, referring to the vigor of the beer and its pedigree, is directly tied to the evolution of porter. While the first reference to stout beer in 1677 may be descriptive in nature, its loose connection to a specific style of beer comes in 1750, when note was made of “stout butt beer”—essentially a strong porter. Though known as stout, the beer itself little resembled the stouts of today. None of the malts of that period would have given a stout the signature

Beer Style: Stouts Serving temperature: 50–55º F Glassware: pint glass (dry stout); pint glass,

stem glass (oatmeal stout)

Food pairing: raw oysters, bisque, corned beef

(dry stout); seared scallops, chocolate mousse (oatmeal stout)


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

black color that we are now familiar with. Instead, it was, like porter, a shade of brown. About this same time, the first family of modern stout was beginning to make their presence felt in Ireland. Guinness, the most famous brewing family in Ireland and, arguably, the world, had been brewing beer in County Kildaire since the first half of the 18th century. The family reins passed to patriarch Richard’s son, Arthur, who purchased a brewery in 1756. He then moved to Dublin in 1759 and leased a brewery lying fallow at St. James Gate. This was a respected and cherished venue, located at a coveted water source and accessible to the barley-growing regions of Ireland. Arthur was as shrewd as he was aggressive. Guinness brewed both porter and ale. Though imported English porter was cheaper because of tariffs, Guinness weathered the storm and made brewing profitable, and by 1769 he was exporting his Extra Strong Porter to England. In 1799 he abandoned regular ale brewing to concentrate on porters. Wheeler’s innovative drum kiln made the production of roasted barley possible. Subsequent recipes combined small amounts of roasted barley with paler malts to produced dark beers that were high quality and easy to reproduce. Some brown beers became black beers, the forerunners of today’s stouts (and porters). In 1820, Guinness changed the name of their Extra Stout Porter to simply

Extra Stout. Guinness became, in the latter half of the 19th century, the most prolific brewery in all of Europe. The tradition of making both a porter and stout continued with many breweries, with stout being the stronger of the two. The popularity of porter and stout switched in the 20th century, with stout becoming more coveted. Irish breweries were helped inadvertently by World War I: The British limited malt roasting during the war, but there was no such constraint in Ireland, making the Irish dry versions available throughout the British Isles. Stout Siblings Guinness may be one of the most influential breweries in the world, but they have some competition in their own back yard, making similar stouts. Beamish and Crawford have been in business since 1792, with a brewery on site since well before that. Murphy’s is no newcomer either, with a history dating to 1850. Both are located in Cork, in southern Ireland, near the Irish barley-growing area. It could be argued that these two stouts are more complex than Guinness, as they each have a more

varied grain makeup. The water in Cork is different than that of Dublin, a feature manifested in the different brews. Stout Profile The most distinguishing characteristic of a dry stout is the black, essentially opaque appearance. It should demonstrate some ruby highlights, but for all intents and purposes, it is a black beer. This deep color comes from the use of roasted barley, an unmalted barleycorn. It is a powerful additive indeed, and usually comprises ten percent or less of the total grist. This is quite enough to give not only the deep color, but also the assertive flavor of bitter chocolate and espresso. The roasted barley also contributes a drying sensation. The foundation of a stout in Ireland is a robust, maritime malted barley, comprising roughly between 65 and 90 percent of the grist. The remainder of the grist is responsible for the subtleties that provide the extra dimension, depth and uniqueness to what might seem to be an otherwise singularly dominated beer. Guinness uses 25 percent flaked barley to achieve its soft, creamy character. Beamish employs a bit of wheat for the same effect, with a little chocolate malt for added depth.

Imported from Ireland by Distinguished Brands International -

the Complete World of B eer S tyles




Beamish Stout

Murphy’s Stout

Established in 1792 in Cork as brewers of porters, on a site that has a brewing history that dates to the 1600s. A frothy tan crown adorns this stout. The head lingers forever thanks to the wheat component of the recipe. The aroma is decidedly roasty, with a hint of chocolate. A bit of chocolate garnishes the otherwise crisp, rich flavor. The hops and roasted barley linger on the palate for some time. Fairly assertive overall.

Properly known as the Lady’s Well Brewery in Cork, Ireland. The brewery was established in 1856 by the four Murphy brothers, and has been using the same recipe since then. Soft, quite dry and feathery, it is very smooth and has a nice bracing roast finish. Some chocolate malt adds to the character, both in the aroma and flavor. The mellowest of the Irish stouts. 4% ABV

4.2% ABV

Tröegs Oatmeal Stout This oatmeal stout is brewed in Harrisburg, PA, by Tröegs Brewing Co. A deep-tan head graces this jet-black brew, which emits a malt and bread aroma accented with coffee notes. The flavor is robust with toffee and dark chocolate. The hop character is quite noticeable, augmenting the sweet-roasted profile nicely. A malty finish punctuates the brew firmly. Big and inviting, a quintessential American take on a classic style. 6.8% ABV


McAuslan St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout From one of the pioneers of Canadian microbrewing, McAuslan Brewing of Montreal, comes one of the best oatmeal stouts to be found anywhere. It pours jet black with a brown froth. The aroma has malted milk, cherry and bittersweet chocolate. The rich, smooth mouthfeel unfurls flavors of roast and toffee up front, with hints of caramel and molasses at the finish. Smooth and full on the palate with an espresso-like, roasted finish and light suggestion of hops. The copious dark malts and oatmeal make this a rich and satisfying beer. 5.0% ABV.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Murphy’s uses only chocolate malt in addition to roast and pale. Other formulations might include some caramel or black malt, especially outside of Ireland. The perceived dryness of the stout is further enhanced by a relatively elevated hop bitterness. Dry stouts are generally in the range of 4 to 4.5 percent ABV, but have hop rates with IBU ratings in the high 30s to low 40s. The strong flavors of the roasted barley on top of the bitterness of the hops acts in complementary rather than additive fashion. A light, but firm body adds to the drinkability as dry stouts carry enough residual character to soften the edges. The notion that dark beers are both strong and heavy is pure poppycock when examining the character of these creamy beers. The iconic presentation of a “traditional” pint of stout has changed somewhat over the past 40 years. Before then, Irish stout was dispensed from a cask by gravity or beer engine, or later via CO2 pressure. The invention, by Guinness, of a draft system that uses a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide filled the glass with a wholly different beer than before. It has become the standard method and is as familiar as the beer itself. This eventually led to the invention of the nitrogen “widget,” a device found in canned stouts that delivers the same effect beyond the confines of the pub. The reduced carbon dioxide softens the texture, but the effect of the nitrogen is even more pronounced. It produces tinier bubbles that churn and rise slowly to surface in a mesmerizing, chaotic “surge,” that eventually unite in a tight, creamy layer of tan goodness that marks each sip and lasts to the end of the pint. It also ensures that the last drop will be as delicious as the first. Some purists would say that it also inhibits the aroma and takes the roasty edge off. Stouts brewed in England tend to be higher in gravity than their Irish counterparts, and would more often be classified as something other than a dry stout. One reason for this is a more liberal use of caramel and chocolate malts and adjunct such as oatmeal or even real chocolate. Guinness itself has many formulations, primarily for export markets, that stray significantly in some cases from its dry, Dublin version. The microbrewers of the United States take great liberty with their stout recipes. It would be odd to visit a brewpub and not find a stout on the menu. They usually are a touch more strapping than those brewed in Ireland. This is not to say that they aren’t dry stouts though, and considering the American propensity for hops, the gravity and bitterness balance are in keeping with the Irish parameters.

Dry stouts are as sociable as any drink, beer or otherwise. The pub culture of Ireland is testament to that. Historically considered a healthful drink, its role as a tonic is alive and well. Dry stouts are able to nourish the mind and the soul, and sustain camaraderie.

Oatmeal Stout History has shown that adjunct grains have been used, and in many cases endured, as a means to nutritionally fortify the beer, stretch barley supplies, or simply to add complexity to a brew. Some such brews proudly proclaim these supplements by name or appearance: oatmeal stout does just this. Oatmeal stout is a somewhat under-produced brew, but is unique in that it is fuller than a traditional dry stout, not as formidable as an Imperial stout and quite satisfying in its own right. Oats was undoubtedly a common ingredient in ancient ales. Oats is a staple crop in the cool, maritime and sometimes harsh climates of Scotland and England. The further north one goes, the more prominent oats becomes as part of the cuisine. It is quite nutritious and valuable as a foodstuff, containing high amounts of both protein and oil. Coincidentally, these very same regions are the birthplace of stout and its forbear, porter. The marriage of oats and stout has waxed and waned over the past couple of centuries, and hopefully is here to stay given its popularity and the current state of brewing exploration. A movement transpired near the end of the 19th and into the 20th century that created a few of the stout substyles that are recognized today. Brewers began to tout stouts for their health benefits. Primarily, these were the sweet milk stouts, which contained lactose, said to be of particular benefit for nursing mothers. Some brewers began using oats or oatmeal in their grists, an ingredient that adds complexity, silkiness and a touch of sweetness. Oatmeal stout, along with other sweet stouts, grew in popularity throughout the first half of the 20th century, but saw a decline thereafter to the point where they all but disappeared when Eldridge Pope made the last one in 1975. The hiatus was brief, as Samuel Smith commenced production of their oatmeal stout in 1980. It served to revitalize the style for English brewers. It wasn’t long before the American microbrewing movement took hold and propelled the style even more into the spotlight.

likely to disintegrate. As protein is unfermentable, it also lends a viscous impression. The higher oil and protein content of oats provides a silky-smooth, almost slick mouthfeel, and a full-bodied, rich brew that is subtly sweet. Oatmeal is usually used at less than 10 percent of the grist. Oatmeal stouts are more substantial all the way around than Irish dry stouts, though not terribly so, with slightly less roast character. They are just as dark, with chocolate and deep crystal malts often making up in color for the lack of roast, with the added benefit of more complexity. The hop rate is fairly modest, with the focus on bittering rather than aroma. American brewers might buck this trend a little bit, but in general, the emphasis is on the multifarious malt bill and richness therein. As with most American/English sibling beers, each will take on the overall character of their respective homeland, mostly owing to base malt and yeast selection. Alcohol by volume is between 5 and 6.5 percent in the finished beer. Oatmeal stout offers something different for stout-lovers. DRY IRISH STOUT They are neither one-dimensional nor overwhelming, and it would be hard to find a better constituent to temper the traditional full-roast flavor of stout than oatmeal. They are contemplative enough to consume as a nightcap without the knockout punch, and modest enough to session over.

CAMRA Champion Bottle Conditioned Beer of Britain 2007 & 2003

Feeling Oats Oatmeal enhances a beer on several levels. As a brewing ingredient, oatmeal is one that is used sparingly, but has a marked desirable influence on the finished product. The high protein content creates a thick, mousse-like foam that is less

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



Baltic Porter and Russian Imperial Stout hese two sibling styles, Baltic porter and Russian imperial stout,

are distinct only because of an historic, if somewhat inexplicable, preference for one beer over the other in the various countries. As English porter and stout were the most exported beers in the world during the 18th and 19th century, their popularity outside their homeland found a natural home in the cool, somewhat extreme environs of Scandinavia, Russia and Eastern Europe. Big Baltic Porter Baltic porters are perhaps the least known of the “imperialized” English brews. Fortified porter rode along with its more famous, formidable sibling, Russian imperial stout, into markets to the east. The increased strength and soothing dark malt was a perfect match for the northern climate, serendipitously popularizing porter and creating a future local market. Baltic porter then evolved further, leaving its British ale roots behind in many cases, as Baltic brewers made their own versions using bottom-fermentation and lagering. The expatriated brews were still dark and strong, but often came to resemble the strong lagerbiers of Germany. Baltic porter is undergoing something of a rebirth today. Some are brewed to approximate the original British ales, while others are true to the Baltic lager construct. ExPorter By the late 18th century, England began exporting its renowned pale ale to India to quench the thirst and keep up the spirits of their troops. It was brewed to a higher strength, attenuation and hop bitterness to withstand the trip and prevent spoilage.

Beer Style:

Big Porters and Stouts

Serving temperature: 55–64º F Glassware: pint glass, stem glass, snifter Food pairing: hearty stew, death-by-chocolate

cake, crème brûlée, intense blue cheese


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Similarly, fortified porters and stouts were shipped to allies in the east. While not a long route through the Baltic Sea, it is rather treacherous, sprinkled with hundreds of rocky islands and snug straits. The careful journey allowed access to innumerable beer-loving ports along the way in Denmark, Germany, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Western Russia. No doubt this was a much less detrimental trip to the beer than the one taken to India, as the weather was colder and the duration relatively short. The journey may have taken weeks nonetheless, inadvertently resulting in a smooth, essentially cold-conditioned beer once it reached its eastern-most destinations. Coincidentally, this was at a period when lager brewing was becoming more common throughout Europe at large, given the influence of Germany and Bohemia. The voyage also included intimate contact with the port city Copenhagen, gateway to the Baltic region, and home of the Carlsberg lager brewery, whose owners and brewers essentially invented brewing science. Owner Jacob Christian Jacobsen procured a lager yeast in Vienna and employed it at his brewery in the mid-1800s. In 1883, Emil Hansen, a scientist working at Carlsberg, isolated a single cell of the yeast strain that became known as Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, a name still used for lager yeast. This brush with Copenhagen may not have directly or immediately influenced the future of England’s strong exported porters, but nevertheless was a symbolic foreshadowing of their evolution in the east.

From Imperial to Baltic



The popularity of this relatively exotic brew spurred the brewers that rimmed the Baltic Sea to produce their own, where strong and dark cold-conditioned beers had been brewed for some time. The breweries were set up to produce lagers, so that the manufacture of any was possible, including the original Baltic porters. It could be said that this undertaking shifted the strong porters from Imperial to Baltic. Russian imperial stout retained the deep roasted character, while imperial porters underwent a transformation. Generally speaking, Scandinavian and Dutch porters resemble the London originals much more than do those from Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, whose Baltic porters are similar to doppelbocks with an extra measure of dark malt character. Poland especially boasts an assortment of superb porters, including Okocim, Zywiec, Kozlak and Dojlidy. American brewers have taken to the Baltic porter style in recent years. They are often made with ale yeasts in the United States, but nonetheless an effort is often made to present the beer with the restrained roastiness of the true Baltic versions. In this respect, they are much like those emanating


from Scandinavia: very dark, but smooth and velvety, and fairly true to the original English imperial porters. Baltic Bliss This curious mixture of English tradition, imperial intentions and bottom-fermentation results in a robust but soft brew, with profound depth. A little of each chapter of its history is represented, symbolic of the transformation that has marked even the simplest of porters. Baltics are just another branch on the family tree. Foremost, they are malty up front, exhibiting the best of the bock beers of Germany. Munich-style malts are commonly used to achieve the sweet, rich, full-bodied character that is the signature of the style. A taste will reveal the caramelized nature of the brew, reminiscent of raisins, toffee, prunes, molasses and licorice, not unlike an old ale, due to added dark caramel malt or prolonged kettle time. As Baltic porters can range from deep ruby to bordering on black, a small measure of roasted or chocolate malt might be added to the grist, generally in a restrained fashion to avoid the harshness or burnt quality that regular porter

north coast brewing co.

zymography 1988–2008 ORIGINAL RELEASE DATES 1988 – Red Seal Ale

1996 – Acme Pale Ale

1988 – Old No. 45 Stout

1996 – Wintertime Ale

1988 – Scrimshaw Pilsner Style Beer 1997 – Acme Brown Ale 1988 – Christmas Ale

1998 – Anniversary X

1989 – Old No. 45 Stout renamed Old No. 38 Stout

1999 – Acme IPA

1989 – Centennial Ale 1990 – Summer Ale

2004 – Anniversary XVI, Sweet Sixteen

1990 – Oktoberfest Ale

2005 – Cru d’Or, Organic Dubbel

1991 – Traditional Bock

2005 – Old Plowshare, Organic Stout

1994 – Alt Nouveau

2006 – Brother Thelonious

1994 – Blue Star Wheat Beer

2007 – Le Merle Saison

1995 – Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

2007 – Rasputin X, Barrel Aged

1995 – PranQster Belgian Style Golden Ale

2008 – Anniversary XX

2000 – Old Stock Ale

2007 – Old Stock Cellar Reserve

We call that a good start.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



Big Porters and Stouts

Okocim Porter The best of bottom-fermented Polish porters, Okocim is deep mahogany in color. The nose is predominantly malt, with hints of cherry and chocolate. The mouthfeel is opulent and creamy; the flavor has a hint of roast and licorice, and loads of malt and toffee. Hop profile is quite subdued. This beautifully elegant and complex beer combines all of its components superbly. The finish is sweet and satisfying, a perfect dessert accompaniment. 8.1% ABV

Sinebrychoff Porter

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Brewed in Kerava, Finland, “Koff” Porter is the definitive example of the hybridized type of Baltic porter. It combines British (top-fermention and roasted character) and Continental (generous dose of Munich-style malts) components with great finesse. Koff is unfiltered, with a perfect smack of hop bitterness for balance. It pours black, with a wellsustained head. The aroma showcases malt, caramel, mocha and anise. Medium-bodied, the flavor has brown sugar and burnt chocolate, followed by a semidry, silky finish. One of the most underappreciated beers in the world. 7.2% ABV

Produced by renowned brewmaster and culinary expert Garrett Oliver, this seasonal imperial offering is one of the most well-rounded and complex strong beers, period. Inky black, with aromas of burnt chocolate and fruit in the nose. Creamy and smooth in the mouth. The flavor is reminiscent of malted milk, chocolate, coffee and dark fruit. This is the perfect afterdinner drink and, specifically, a dessert beer. This outstanding brew is also an excellent pairing for fine cigars. 10.6% ABV.

might have. There might be a hint of dark fruit, also owing to the dark malts. Lager yeasts are the norm, but the odd ale yeast can be found employed under cool conditions (like a Scotch ale, not surprisingly given the climate), followed by cold-conditioning period. Hops provide balance, but the main event in these brews is the malt complexity and drinkability. Strength ranges from 7.0 percent to 9.5 percent. Perhaps it is because of their proletarian origin, or because of the consumer gravitation towards the more glamorous stouts, but porters are often overlooked. There’s room for Baltic porter to expand its horizons both stylistically and commercially.

Russian Imperial Stout The saga of English brewers sending fortified ales abroad is a well-documented one. India pale ales were designed to mollify the troops in Asia, but the strong exported stouts and porters were sent to allies in Baltic regions as an en82

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin Brewed in Fort Bragg, CA, and named for arguably Russia’s most notorious rapscallion, Old Rasputin Imperial Stout is equally noteworthy. It is also one of the best and most respected beers available. Black as midnight, it smells of toffee and dark roast coffee. Semisweet chocolate and rich malty flavors accompany a thick, dextrinous palate. Some dark fruit in the flavor. Deceptively drinkable. Rasputin himself would grin wickedly if he could get his hands on one of these. 8.9% ABV.

trepreneurial endeavor. Baltic porter and Russian imperial stout may have had an effect in a commercial sense at first, but their enduring influence on modern beerdom could be considered even more profound. The strong stouts are favored by beer aficionados for their rich, luxurious depth, and fairly symbolize the penchant of American brewers for big beers. The Birth of Strong Stout In the 18th century, when porter and stout were at the height of their popularity in England, a thriving shipping industry with convenient routes in the Baltic Sea allowed the brewers to send their wares to innumerable ports therein. Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, the Baltic states, and western Russia all were destinations of the exported dark English brews. Savvy brewers took advantage of the demand abroad and made the strong and hoppy adaptations available for the burgeoning market. Strong Baltic porters are still produced in Poland, Finland and

Sweden as a distinct style adopted from the original English brewers. Strong stout, however, was more favored in Russia. The well-traveled Peter the Great may have been the first to insist on the import of British beers to Czarist Russia. Stout became favored by the Russian Imperial Court of the era and, legend has it, was the preferred beer of that irrepressible rogue, Rasputin. It is a London brewery that is credited with popularizing the style as a strong, exported stout. Around 1781, Barclay Perkins began exporting its stout to assorted ports in the Baltic region. Purposely brewed to be a formidable beer, it would easily withstand the voyage. The serendipitous extension of this attribute was that it was also perfectly suited for the cold, gnarly climate, where spirits were otherwise very much favored. When Empress Catherine II discovered it, its place in Russian annals was secured. Today, under the name of Courage, the same imperial stout is still brewed in London. The brewery states that it is the same beer that was exported to Russia over 200 years ago. The visage of Catherine herself is on the label.

spans the malt continuum at the brewer’s discretion. Chocolate malt is a popular addition, as is caramel or even Munich malt. These character malts should not sit in the forefront of the overall profile, but should serve as an accent brushstroke in a first-rate imperial stout. Unusual grain additions are uncommon but not altogether absent. Oatmeal or wheat can add a creaminess and aid in head retention, often a problem in high-alcohol beers. The high proportion of character malt leaves a substantial amount of body and mouthfeel. The hop character of imperial stout can run from fairly low to forceful. Hop variety is not terribly critical, but the catty, American types that are high in alpha acid might interfere a little too much with subtleties. Some do exhibit that signature Northwest U.S. hop profile, and do it well enough to put a footprint of America in the brew without throwing the beer out of kilter. Though imperial stouts are substantial in alcoholic strength, there should not be a perception that the beer is overly thin or “hot.” There should be a balance between the sheer muscle of the beer and the alcohol.

New World Imperialism

Tasting imperial stouts make for great contemplative sessions, solo or shared. The combination of roasted barley and other dark character malts gives imperial stouts a bittersweet personality. Notes of coffee, even espresso, are often present. These beers should not be overly fruity, but often hints of prune or raisin are noticeable. Imperial stouts age quite nicely and will change significantly over time. After all, they were initially brewed to stand the test of time. Their full-bodied nature and warming strength make them a perfect winter warmer and nightcap. If ever there was a brew that is perfect for dessert, imperial stouts are that. Imperial stouts and chocolate are made for each other. Rich chocolate cake, truffles, or plain dark chocolate are the consummate company for succulent imperial stouts. If cigars are your indulgence, then you need look no further for a companion than imperial stout. The trend to “imperialize” many beer styles has had yet another boost in the past few years in America, just as regular India pale ale introduced America to hoppy beers 20 years ago. Imperial IPAs are proving a worthy challenger to imperial stout, but there is little doubt who the undisputed heavyweight champion is for now. It’s debatable whether imperial stouts are so named because of their original connection to royalty or because of their brewers’ far-ranging ambitions. What is certain is that imperial stouts have done much to expand the horizons and broaden the appreciation for world class beers. If you live in the United States, you have literally dozens to choose from. Of course, imperialism begins at home.

Nowhere is imperial stout more prevalent, revered and consumed than the United States. Naturally, American brewers put their own slant on the style, but they have retained the core, sublime qualities that make big beer lovers drool. Anyone who has had regular stout of American origin can vouch for the depth that they provide, but imperial versions are a quantum leap beyond. Ever so apparent in American imperial stouts is an adherence to historical guidelines out of respect and appreciation for tradition, coupled with flair that doesn’t compromise, yet is slightly aberrant. Such trendsetters mean no disrespect to heritage, simply a broadening of it, with a bit of invention thrown in. Imperial stouts are just as likely to be a year-round offering as they are a seasonal. It matters little either way, because of their strength and aging qualities, imperial stouts can be enjoyed anytime. Imperial Idiosyncrasy The commonality among imperial stouts is that they are big and roasty. Beyond that, it is pointless to pigeonhole them because of their vast complexity. Almost any type of malt could be used, as could any type of hop. The numerous and diverse subtleties and nuances are what make these beers distinctive. Nestled atop the foundation of pale malt, the requisite roasted barley is used at roughly the same percentage as in smaller stouts, somewhere around 8 to 10 percent. The remainder

A Tempting Portrait

the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of



Old Ale and Barley Wine ntertwined since the time when strong, aged beers were common, the old ale

and barley wine styles sometimes overlap in strength and brewer designation. English versions of the two especially exhibit this intersection, as both styles tend to be better aged and somewhat reserved in hop expression. American brewers tend to focus on hoppy barley wines, and seldom make anything resembling an old ale. Old Ale Old ales bring with them a curious moniker. Are they called “old” because of an extended aging period, a nod to venerability, or because of an old method or style? In the keynote representatives of the style, it is all three. Old ales are remnants of a period when ales meant for keeping or long-term aging were strong, and invariably dark. They are gently hopped, higher than average strength and showcase a malty personality. Some are seasonal. Aging, though, may be the key contributor to their character, as they can develop a complex profile with some oxidative or vinous notes.

Embodying English Brewing Heritage The English forerunners of old ale may be the last of the modern styles to utilize some of the common practices that pre-porter brewers used a century and a half before. This may also partly explain the “old ale” designation. Old ale was also called such because of a lingering preference for aged beer, even though by the late 19th century, the brewer’s craft had been refined enough to ensure a constant supply of fresh beer.

Beer Style: Old

Ale and Barley Wine

Serving temperature: 50–55º F Glassware: pint glass, stem glass, snifter Food pairing: blue-veined cheese, foie gras, game

meat, aged cheddar, ham, crème brûlée


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Still, some beers were made in the cooler seasons and stored for several months or more, something for which a stronger beer would be well suited. A fresh versus an aged one would be quite different in character. To ensure a steady supply of this type of beer, brewers kept a few casks of well-aged beer, known as “stock ale,” handy to blend with fresh product. When the brewing seasons and cycles came full circle, these stock ales would be released as old ale. Another characteristic of traditional old ale from the late 19th century was that it was a somewhat sweetish brew. This helped to distinguish old ales from the other popular brews of the day, like pale ale, porter and stout, which were a bit drier.

Familiar Old Ales The best modern examples of old ale can claim many of the characteristics of their ancestors. They are usually dark in color, fairly strong, sweetish, fruity, dextrinous and moderately hopped, and they age elegantly. The big ones are reminiscent of English barley wine. Some are called winter warmers, and most have a descriptive tag, such as “old” or “winter” on their label. They are typically 6 to 9 percent ABV. The rich character of old ale begins with the inherently robust premium English pale ale malt. Some old ales are amber in hue, in which case the pale malt may be augmented for color and body with a measure of crystal malt. The darker examples use a more complex grain bill and incorporate some crystal malt as well as small amounts of darker varieties such as chocolate, black or roast. Old ales have the typically English fruity ale nose, and the grain bill has some influence over

the estery components of the aroma. Amber old ales are reminiscent of lighter aromatics like peach, apricot or vanilla, while the dark versions present raisin, molasses, toffee or even prunes. As old ales are brewed to have a plump profile, a full-bodied consistency is in order. Because of the higher-than-average gravity, the wort of old ale has a more concentrated malt character. The smooth, lightly viscous mouthfeel is a function of body-building specialty malts and an elevated mash temperature. The impression of the sweet malt profile is further amplified by employing kettle and aroma hops in rather modest amounts. Hop character may be further diminished by aging. In order to ensure that the beer doesn’t dry out extensively, and hence retains its full profile, low-attenuating yeast is utilized. One that produces a variety of estery aromas might also be selected, augmenting the complexity. Aging is critical to the old ale profile, as many possess sherry or port-like and oxidative notes. Many strong beers develop these characteristics over time, and old ales lend themselves especially well to this. The estery aromas of the young beer metamorphose into the winey notes of a kept beer. The stronger dark varieties, like Gales Prize Old Ale, are perfect examples of the resultant transformation. An interesting paradox of old ales is the dryish thread that runs through them, due to the tempering effect of aging on the original sweet brew.

its very name—given some three hundred years ago-to this comparison. Dubbed “barley wine” to compete with grape wines from southern environs, they share with wine fortitude, requisite maturation and subtle cask complexity. The commercial title was given by venerable Bass, a marketing maneuver that spawned imitators and contributed mightily to an American renaissance decades later. Barley wine is often brewed as a commemorative or annual offering. Classic English and American versions differ, the former showing some refined restraint, the latter more impetuous and rowdy-a neat metaphorical difference. Formidable in spirit and makeup, barley wine lends itself well to comparative tastings, given its lability and many interpretations. American brewers’ embrace of barley wine over the past BARLEYWINE 20 years ensures that anyone can have a soothing goblet or impressively-stocked cellar at their disposal.

Ye Olde vs. Brave New World Barley wine is a vestige of ancient strong ales, but more recently of English parti-gyle brewing employed through

Defying Classification Eldridge Pope Thomas Hardy’s Ale, at 12 percent ABV, goes well beyond the range of “ordinary” old ales. Many would consider it a barley wine, though the brewery doesn’t designate it as such. Older vintages develop some dryness and vinous character. In the United States, North Coast Old Stock Ale and Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale are huge beers whose names pay homage to brewing traditions. There are several old ales that comprise a neat, fairly welldefined family of beers. They are brewed throughout the year and may be aged before release. They carry enough of a swagger, at 5.6 percent to 9 percent ABV, to provide a soothing touch to a winter evening without being overwhelming. They are best enjoyed at cellar temperature. One benchmark of the style, Theakston’s Old Peculier, is not being imported into the United States at the moment, unfortunately, but there are others, both American and English, to savor.

Barley Wine Lately there has been a movement afoot to equate beer with wine with respect to class and culinary eminence. Beer as cuisine may cut across many styles today, but barley wine owes

The anniversary vintage arrives October 1st.

the Complete World of B eer S tyles



Old Ale and Barley Wine

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil

George Gale Prize Old Ale

This innovative brewery in Alva, Scotland, produces beers decidedly in the English ale mode. Old Engine Oil is no exception. It pours black, but has a much softer roastiness than a porter or stout. Also in the nose are hints of chocolate, malted milk and anise. It is silky on the palate, with licorice, dark bread, raisin and cherry, reminiscent of black forest cake or cherry cordials. The hop bitterness is somewhat high for old ale, but still takes a back seat to the malt complexity. The finish leaves an earthy, dryish impression. This is a well-rounded, charming winter warmer. 6.0% ABV

Brewed in Horndean, Hampshire, England. It pours with a scant head and is deep reddish-brown in color. The aroma bursts with malty, winelike character and a mixture of molasses and raisin. Bottle conditioned, and a former Champion Beer of Britain. The flavor is complex, quenching, sherry-like, and somewhat dry for a strong beer. It is full of dried dark fruit. The perfect sipping beer at 9% ABV.

J.W. Lees 2001 Vintage Harvest Ale From Manchester, England, J.W. Lee’s is one of the few English barley wines widely available, often in several vintages. One can imagine that this is what a barley wine of decades ago would taste like. Amber and slightly turbid, it is aromatically complex, with notes of sherry, treacle, honey and pear, the cask-aged character being quite evident. Hops are submissive in both the aroma and flavor. Earthy and sweet, but not cloying, and easy to drink despite its strength. Flavors of sherry and raisin with a rich finish. For further complexity, it is available aged in various whiskey and wine barrels.

Great Divide Old Ruffian Old Ruffian is brewed in Denver, CO, and to many is the benchmark for the unfettered hop profile that American ales are known for. Pours mahogany and slightly hazed, with a modest, fleeting head. The aroma is an exhilarating explosion of bright hops presenting pine and mandarin orange. The flavor has caramel candy, malt and spruce, with a chewy mouthfeel. The bittering hops linger in the finish, along with some sweet orange and caramel, and a bit of heat from the alcohol. Remarkable, even by Colorado’s lofty standards. 10.2% ABV

11.5% ABV

the 19th century. Parti-gyle is a method whereby successive runnings from the grist are made into separate beers, with the initial one being the strongest. This hodgepodge of beers had an assortment of names, with the strongest going by names such as stock (for blending), old (well-aged) or strong ale. The term barley wine (and malt wine) was noted during the 18th century, as brewers tried to curry favor with wine drinkers. Whether that strategy worked or not is debatable, as most regions of Europe that are known predominantly for either wine or beer have long been that way, with some crossover of course. This usually has more to do with climate and agriculture than any sort of class distinction, perceived or otherwise. In the early 19th century, brewers moved towards Scottishinspired sparged mashes and single-purpose grist, including those made primarily from pale malt. Both modest strength 86

the Complete World of B eer S tyles

and strong beers were often included in the portfolio. London and Burton to the northwest were famous for their pale ales, but also strong brews. Records from the mid-19th century specified brews with original gravities identical to modern barley wines. They differed from one another though. London’s were hopped less, attenuated more and were not generally dry-hopped. Burton’s were more heavily-hopped, attenuated less and almost always dry-hopped. Based on this, it is easy to see that the strong ales of Burton are antecedent to today’s barley wines. In fact, the famous Burton brewer, Bass, launched the first beer commercially designated as a barley wine in 1903, Bass No. 1 Barley Wine. Many British brewers followed suit, going so far as to mimic the No. 1 label. Today, English barley wines are not prevalent, but there has been enough interest to keep the style alive and coveted

over the past 30-odd years. Thankfully, American brewers have more than taken up the slack with the verve and independence that has defined the microbrew revolution in the United States. The story of Fritz Maytag and the Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco is a familiar one. His acquisition of Anchor on the verge of its closing in 1965 is essentially the rebirth of craft beer in America. In 1975, Maytag introduced Anchor’s Old Foghorn barley wine, America’s first. Still one of the finest, it has been distinctly American from the start, but has much in common with its English forebears, in that it is full-bodied and fruity, and less aggressively hopped than many of its American counterparts. The ubiquitous American barley wine covers a wide spectrum of interpretations, so there is something for everybody.

A Strong Personality A well-crafted strong brew should age well and develop some depth. The barley wine brewer can tweak the components to individualize the brew, but the formulation need not be complicated. Barley wines proudly demonstrate their alcoholic strength and may be well-attenuated, but they require a substantial backbone to support it. To that end, English pale ale malt may the best alternative to provide the clean, somewhat lean, malty profile and authenticity that a barley wine deserves. In fact, that is really the only grain necessary, if it is handled skillfully. The essential caramel background can be achieved with a prolonged boil, something a brewer might employ anyhow to realize the desired original gravity. Usually though, the pale malt is buttressed with caramel malt to get the body, flavor and residual sweetness that offset the hops and alcohol. Without that peripheral caramel character, a barley wine would be a thin, alcoholic mess. American two-row barley is a more than capable substitute for English varieties, though it may need a bit more augmentation. To add further depth, grains like Munich and chocolate malt might be used. Hop choices depend primarily on whether the brewer wants to create an American or English interpretation, has a personal preference for one type or another, or seeks a diverse hop profile. In any case, hops are used rather liberally, from beginning to end. American brewers usually go heavy on both bittering and late hop additions, with dryhopping quite common. English barley wine is a little less bitter on average, and lighter on the aromatic additions. Even German or Czech hops are not off limits to enhance the sensory explosion that is barley wine. Fermentation and, hence, yeast presents something of challenge in brewing barley wine. One must be selected

that can handle alcohol concentration of at least 9 percent and as much as 12 percent or more. Barley wine brewers of yore would “walk” their casks of fermenting beer around the brewery to rouse and reawaken the yeast, coaxing the punch-drunk organisms back to work. Yeast can also be selected to produce an estery brew, or not. One favorite American strain leaves little to no trace in the brew, while other American and English strains contribute fruity, woody or earthy aromas. Barley wine changes deliberately, but dramatically, over time, developing vinous notes. English barley wines are especially famous for this, given that there is less hop intrusion, and usually a more characterful yeast at work. Some are delicious after a decade or more. Barley wines range in strength from about 8 to 12 percent ABV, or more. Color ranges from light copper to amber to ruby. As barley wines are often vintage-dated, it is a unique experience to sample several years running of a particular brand, a vertical tasting. Alternatively, try samples from different breweries, as no beer style is more extensively toyed with. In any case, barley wine has a way of stimulating beery discussion. On the other hand, a trip to the cellar on a private evening might be just what the doctor ordered.

Off-centered ales for off-centered people. the Complete World of B eer S tyles


The Complete World of


Styles ABV: alcohol by volume, the common method of measuring alcohol content in beer. Acetobacter: an aerobic bacteria that produces acetic acid in a beer, generally undesirable except in a few styles, such as lambic and Flemish red or brown ales. ale: family of beer that ferments at warmer temperatures, also called “warm-fermenting” or “topfermenting” because of the action of ale yeast attenuation: the degree to which fermentable sugars are converted into alcohol as influenced by yeast, mash conditions and ingredients among other things. bottom-fermenting: a term for the lager family of beers, based on the tendency of lager yeast to be active at the bottom of a fermentation tank barley, two-row and six-row: refers to the number of kernel rows in the head of the stalk, two-row is the more commonly used, whereas six-row is employed when extra amylase enzymes are required to convert other grains. Brettanomyces: a yeast that produces horsey, cheesy or barnyard aromas and flavors, generally undesirable in beer except in lambics and a few others. cask: the traditional container for all beer, in modern times it has come to mean a barrel-type container that is used for real or cask-conditioned ale, dispensed via gravity or hand pump at cellar temperatures. decoction: a traditional German procedure where a portion of the mash is heated to boiling separately and returned to the main mash to raise the whole stepwise through ideal enzymatic ranges.


the Complete World of B eer S tyles

Glossary drum kiln: a cylindrical kiln used to produce malts of myriad colors and properties without the application of direct heat. fermentation: the process by which yeast metabolizes simple sugars into alcohol gravity: short for specific gravity, or the measure of density of a liquid. grist: crushed or milled grain before it is mixed with hot water to form a mash. hops: the cone-shaped flowers of the vine Humulus lupulus, used to give beer its bitterness and aroma, and as a preserving agent. hydrometer: an instrument that measures the specific gravity of a liquid; in the case of brewing, it enables brewers to measure the concentration of sugars in wort or the progress of fermentation as the sugars are converted to alcohol. IBU: International Bittering Units, a measure concentrations of various hop compounds in a beer, an indication of the beer’s bitterness. Lactobacillus: an anaerobic bacteria that produces sour notes in a beer, generally undesirable except in a few styles, such as lambic and Flemish red or brown ales. lager: family of beer that ferments at cooler temperatures, also called “cold-fermenting” or “bottomfermenting” because of the action of ale yeast. malt: grain (usually barley) that is allowed to germinate, with the process stopped by heat. The amount and duration of the heat determines the color and other qualities of the malt, which govern the color of the beer and many flavor components. mash: a mixture of milled grain (grist) and water used to produce fermentable liquid.

mashing: the process by which a mash undergoes temperaturedependent enzymatic changes to create wort for fermentation by breaking down proteins and converting starch into both fermentable sugars and unfermentable dextrine. melanoidins: heat-catalyzed chemical reactions that enhance color, aroma and flavor of malt or wort via the interaction of sugar and protein components. modified/under-modified: the degree to which barley starches are converted by a malt-producer; under-modified malt requires more manipulation by the brewer during mashing than highly-modified. noble hops: hop varieties, including Hallertauer Mittelfruh, Tettnang Tettnanger, Spalt Spalter and Czech Saaz, prized for their aromatic qualities parti-gyle: an ancient brewing practice where successive beers are produced by draining the mash and re-saturating several times to create incrementally weaker beers from a single mash. Reinheitsgebot or the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516: A law that mandated that beer could be made only from malted barley, hops and water; amended later to include yeast. sparge: the process where hot water is sprinkled on the top of the mash at the same rate as it is drained into the boiling kettle to leach all of the components out of the grist. top-fermenting: a term for the ale family of beers, based on the tendency of ale yeast to be active at the top of a fermentation tank yeast: in the making of beer, the micro-organism that ferments sugar into alcohol

All About Beer Style Guide 1