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There are numerous styles of beer, broadly classified as either ale or lager.


ALES. Older by far of the two great classes of beer, ales are typically fermented close to room temperature, most often between 60 and 70xF. Ale yeast floats on the surface as it works, hence the term "top-fermenting." At these warm temperatures, yeast produces abundant amounts of flavor chemicals such as esters and aldehydes, which give ales their characteristic fruity and spicy aromas.


LAGERS. In the 15th century Germans, fermenting in very cool caves, began to cultivate a type of yeast adaptable to cool temperatures, which sank to the bottom during fermentation. At the much cooler temperatures of 35-50xF, bottom-fermenting beers take much longer to mature, requiring an extended aging or "lagering" time in the brewery. Cooler temperatures suppress the production of fruity, spicy flavors, generally producing smoother, less complicated aromas than ales.



ABBEY ALE.  A dark, rich and strong Belgian ale brewed in the style of Trappist monasteries, using century old guidelines. Strength ranges are designated from enkel (single) to quadruple (or character).


ALT (Ale).  A traditional German brewing process of top fermentation being warm and the aging process being cold, like with lagers. Dusseldorfer Alt is usually ruby brown, crisp and bitter, while Kolsch Alt is from the Cologne region of Germany and is pale, delicate and moderately hopped.


AMBER ALE. This is a vaguely defined American style ale, where anything goes, as long as it's amber, with a moderate hop taste.


AMBER LAGER. This is a vaguely defined American style lager of normal strength.  It is usually pale to medium amber and lightly hopped.

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AMERICAN ALE.  A top fermented beer which is similar to lager but with a richer, heavier and more complex taste. Has a range of color from blonde to dark brown.


BARLEY WINE (Ale). A very strong  ale, with an alcohol content of 8 percent or higher.  It is usually amber to medium brown and often highly hopped.  It is a great winter warmer and should be sipped like brandy.  Requires several years in the cellar as it improves with age.


BIERE DU GARDE (Ale). A French "laying down" beer, it is placed on its side for aging.  Blonde to copper in color, it has a medium to strong  alcohol content.


BITTER (Ale). This classic, everyday drink of England is gold to amber in color, low to medium in alcohol content and quite bitter. Should be lightly carbonated.


BOCK (Lager). This extra strong full-bodied lager, is traditionally brewed in Germany during the winter and served as a springtime beer.  It has a moderately high alcohol content and is usually lightly hopped.


BROWN ALE. This British style ale is brewed in two distinctly different formats: the Northern England version is medium bodied, reddish in color with a fruity or nutty taste, while the version made in Southern England is lighter bodied, darker in color and sweeter to the palate.


CREAM ALE. An American style golden ale with a delicate hop character, it is often aged cold like altbiers.


DARK LAGER. This is a very lightly hopped normal strength lager with a deep amber to medium brown color. Usually accented by a roasted malt character.


DOPPELBOCK.  An extra strong, very full bodied double bock, amber to dark brown color.  It is often sweet and creamy and may be tangy or fruity.


DORTMUNDER (Lager). An evenly balanced lager, in the style of the city of Dortmund, Germany, it has a pale golden color and is traditionally stronger than other German style lagers.


DRY LAGER. A style of beer with all the carbohydrates being fermented, creating a drier beer with less after taste.


DUNKEL.  Full bodied lagers, which are well hopped, but almost always with a bitter taste.  Color ranges from deep red to black.


FARO (Ale). A diluted, sweetened lambic variant, sometimes seasoned with spices.


FRAMBOISE (Ale). This is a lambic or Belgian sour brown ale to which raspberries have been added.


FRUIT BEER. A tart and pale beer made from a blend of young and old lambics to which fruit or fruit flavoring has been added.


GUEUZE. A sweaty or tart tasting beer made from a blend of young and old lambics.


HEFE.  The German name for yeast, this unfiltered wheat beer is cloudy and bottle conditioned with yeast.  The prevalent tastes are citrus or clove.


HERB & SPICE BEER.  A beer, to which spices or herbs other than hops, has been added. 


ICE BEER.  Made extensively in the United States, this beer has a higher alcohol content due to the freezing during production.  


IMPERIAL STOUT (Ale). This is very strong in taste and alcohol content.  This was originally created for exporting to the frozen areas of Russia.  The coloring is very dark to black and a heavy, rich taste.


INDIA PALE ALE.  This ale was developed by the British to endure the long voyage from England to India.  It is golden to deep copper in color and quite hoppy.


KRIEK (Ale).  A lambic variant created by the adding of dark, sour cherries.


LAMBIC (Ale).  A family of wild-fermented beers made near Brussells.  All are acidic, vinous, and usually well carbonated.  


LIGHT LAGER.  Low in calories and strength, this American original pilsner is very pale and lightly hopped.


MAIBOCK (Lager).  A well-hopped, pale version of the Bock beer style.


MALT LIQUOR.  This is a stronger version of the American lager.


MUNICH HELLES (Lager).  Popular in southern Germany, this golden colored lager is of normal strength and lightly hopped.


NON-ALCOHOLIC BEER.  This is beer without alcohol, usually removed by evaporation or other industrial methods. 


PALE ALE.   Golden to copper in color, the European version tends to be heavily malted, while the American version is more hopped.  Both may be fruity.


PALE LAGER. This is a mainstream American or international lager, made most often with corn or rice adjuncts.


PECHE (Ale). A lambic variant created by adding peaches.


PILSNER (Lager). Originating in Pilsner, Czechoslovakia, this pale to golden colored beer provides a dry, crisp taste with a flowery finish.  


PORTER (Ale). A variety of three ales creates a very hoppy and malty beverage which is strong in flavor and alcohol content.  The taste is often sharp with a hint of burnt charcoal.


RAUCHBIER (Lager).  A smoked beer made from malt.


RED ALE.  An American style ale originally in imitation of Irish blends.  This ale is typically a deep reddish-amber and not too bitter.


RED LAGER.  An American style lager, resembling  amber lager, but with a slight reddish cast.


SAISON (Ale). This farmhouse ale from French-speaking western Belgium has an exotic spicy fermentation character.


SCOTTISH ALE.   The national style of Scotland, this ale is available in a range of strengths, from quite light to near barley wine.   This ale is sweet and rich with a creamy head and is more malty than hoppy.


STEAM BEER. A unique American style beer created in California.


STOUT (Ale).  Born from porters, this ale is very dark to black in color and is served warm.  Tastes range from molasses to charcoal with a malty or bitter sweetness.


TRAPPIST ALE.  True Trappist is brewed at Trappist monasteries in Belgium and is dark, rich and strong with a fruity taste.


WHEAT BEER.  A general term for any beer made with wheat malts.  The taste may vary greatly, but is usually tart and yeasty. 


WEIZEN (Ale). This traditional wheat ale from Bavaria has a pale golden color and is often hopped.


WITBIER or WHITE BEER (Ale). A delicate wheat and oat beer from northern

Belgium, named for its opalescent haze, the result of unfermented starch.  Stronger, darker versions exist.


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