Recently, I had the opportunity to take a class at my place of employment, in which we became familiar with the various types of organic beer we carry. It was enlightening to find out the differences between these fine Ales and Lagers. I really had no idea what some of the differences in beer involved other than color. I thought I’d share the knowledge I was able to gain regarding the types of beer for those that are beer oriented. There are those sports fans that may find this info helpful in the upcoming fall football season! Basically the beers come in two categories, Ale and Lagers.
Ales and Lagers
I was able to learn the differences in Ales and Lagers beginning with the different brewing processes that are part of each type of beer. Ales are brewed using a “top-fermenting yeast”. This process hastens the brewing that occurs, creating a rich, fruity product that has a higher alcohol content than a Lager.
Lagers are made using a “bottom-fermenting yeast” which is used for a longer brewing process, using generally cooler temperatures for a longer period of time than Ales. The result is a milder flavor and lighter color.
This is a low carbonated beer made with malted barley. It has a sturdy flavor and typically a higher alcohol content. You’ll see it referred to as IPA (India Pale Ale), EPA (Extra Pale Ale) or APA (American Pale Ale). In Milwaukee, my hometown, beer drinkers can find brands like Lakefront IPA, Cream City, Sprecher, and Sierra Nevada in a pinch and won’t be disappointed in their flavor. Depending on your location, you’ll find a lot of local breweries in your hometown that produce many fine Ale beer types
You’ve probably figured out by now that Brown Ale is dark in color right? This beer is low in it’s carbonation and it’s flavor can vary from sweet, all the way to the other side of a malty and hoppy beer flavor. It’s a beer that you can enjoy anytime, whether your eating or perhaps taking in a sports game.
Lager and Pilsner
The aroma of these two beers is similar to that of straw. They have a lighter color and are high in carbonation.
These are the notorious beers with high alcohol contents, however, that comes at the expense of quality in flavor and otherwise.
Bock, Dunkel, and American Dark Lagers
Here’s a bit of an interesting fact. Were you aware that these particular lagers originally were brewed only for special occasions like the holidays, and used as food substitutes for Catholic German monks during fasting season? This was primarily due to the rich nutrient content of these beers.
Source: Beer class given at Outpost Natural Foods, Wauwatosa, Wisc