Simply put, a beer style is a label given to a beer that describes its overall character and often times its origin.
Two different types of yeast can be used to create alcohol. Bottom-fermenting yeast that ferments slowly at a low temperature creates a smoother, mellower beer. Lager beers are light in color, high in carbonation and tend to be less alcoholic than ales. Lagers are best served chilled (about 48 degrees).
This type of yeast rises to the top during fermentation. It also ferments more rapidly and at a higher temperature, resulting in a more aromatic and fruity product. Real ale is produced using traditional methods, without pasteurization. Compared to lagers, ales have a lower amount of carbonation and should be served at a warmer temperature (54-56 degrees). Strong ales should be served at room temperature.
Malty, hoppy beers have a rich golden color. They can be ales or lagers and tend to be fuller bodied due to the addition of specialty grains.
Beer becomes darker when the barley is kilned for a longer period of time. This also creates richer, deeper flavors from the roasted grain.
The name is often shortened to IPA. This ale was originally brewed in England for export to India. The large quantities of hops added were intended as a preservative and to mask potential off-flavors that might develop during the long voyage.
This is the term for the classic lager originally developed in Czechoslovakia, a pale, golden-hued, light beer after which many mass-produced American beers are modeled. Pilsners should be served very cold (43 degrees).
Very bitter, very dark, this beer was developed in England as a “nourishing ” drink for manual laborers such as porters.
Very dark and heavy, with roasted unmalted barley and, often, caramel malt or sugar, stout was invented by Guinness as a variation on the traditional porter. Serve Guinness at a cool temperature (41-43 degrees).
Malted wheat, in addition to barley, is used for this German style beer. Wheat beers were drunk prior to prohibition and are experiencing a rebirth. In the U.S. American wheat beers are markedly different from their German predecessors, which are “spicier. ”