Welcome back to Beer And It’s many Styles. In Part 2 I will be breaking-down the characteristics of the world’s beer styles and giving some suggestions of Northwest examples.
Lager/Pilsner –Lager beer was developed in Southern Germany around the 16th century. They are typically highly carbonated, very light in color, and are designed to be served extremely. Pilsners are even more on the light side. A great example of American pilsner would be Samuel Adams Golden Pilsner, Brooklyn Pilsner, and August Schell Pilsner. To the general public (unrefined knowledge and palate) Budweiser, Miller and Coors are pilsner. They are not. They are simply great examples of an American pale lager. This category also includes Dortmunder/Export and American Malt Liquor.
- Full Sail’s Premium Sessions Lager - “Original Session, with the bright red label, is a classic all-malt pre-Prohibition style lager that reminds us of what American lagers used to taste like. It’s flavorful, refreshing, and has a touch of that import-style taste. (Which, once upon a time, you didn’t have to buy an “import” to get.) Oh, and it comes in a stubby, 11-oz bottle like your grandpa used to buy. So after your next session (surf, jam, gab, whatever), crack open a Session and drink to the good old new days.” Also try their Black Lager, I prefer it over the Premier Lager. Full Sail
- Hopwork’s Organic Lager- “Our Czech style pilsner is all malt all the time-no choicest rice or corn syrup here! Whole flower Czech Saaz hops balance the delicate honey flavor of our organic Canadian grown pilsner malt creating a golden beer with depth of character.” HUB
- MacTarnahan’s Full Bloom Craft Lager - “With beginnings reminiscent of a Bohemian pilsner, this bountiful craft lager is a refreshingly hoppy Northwest experience.” MacTarnahan’s
Vienna Style Lager- Vienna style lagers were developed by brewer Anton Dreher in 1841. Vienna lagers are typically reddish-brown or copper in color with medium body. Different from the classic lager the Vienna malt is slightly sweeter with a toasty aroma and flavor. This style is made with the Noble hops variety lends a low to mild hops aroma and flavor. This category also includes Marzer/Oktoberfest and Steam Beer.
- Widmer Brother’s Okto Festival Seasonal - “Loosen your lederhosen. Our full-bodied OKTO Festival Ale is inspired by Bavarian Oktoberfest, and we pay fitting tribute with its distinctive malt flavors, mild floral character and crisp clean finish. Prost! To the land of the Prost! ” Widmer Brothers
Munich Style or Helles Lagers- Obviously this style is of German origin. Hell in German means of light coloring. This style is made with lightly toasted European style pale malts and moderate amounts of Noble hops. These ingredients produce a light straw or golden-colored beer with a clean tasting and a hint of yeast flavor but no roasted, fruity or butterscotch characteristics. Compared to a Dortmunder or a European Export style lager the Munich style lager tends to have less hop bitterness, a bit lighter in color with a lighter malty body with a sweeter finish. This category also includes Munich Dark and Dark Bock.
- Lompoc’s Seasonal Heavens Helles – “A German style pale lager with a golden straw color. It has a floral aroma and a clean crisp finish.” Lompoc
Ales- Wheat Ales-There are two common varieties of wheat beer; Witbier (Dutch for “white beer”) is centered around Belgian tradition of using flavorings such as coriander and orange peel, Weissbier (German for “white beer”) is centered around German tradition of mixing a least 50% wheat with barley to make a light-colored top fermenting beer. Both are named for their pale unfiltered and hazy appearances. The witbier style is typically not brewed with hops, instead it is flavored and preserved by blends of different spices and very little hops to balance the flavor. The flavor is only slightly hoppy and is extremely refreshing in the summer months. The weissbier style differs to several different wheat beers. The term “Hefeweizen” refers to wheat beer that is traditional unfiltered. The term kristallweizen (crystal wheat), or kristall weiss (crystal white beer) refers to wheat beer that has undergone filtration to remove the yeast, producing a clear appearance. This category also includes Dunkelweizen and weizenbock, sour varieties and Lambics.
- Widmer Brother’s Hefeweizen - “Meet the beer that started it all. Our naturally cloudy flagship brew starts with the highest quality wheat. It’s bold, clean flavor and pronounced citrus and floral aromas are what define American-style Hefeweizen. So pour yourself a cool, cloudy glass, finish with a lemon and enjoy the original. ” Widmer Brothers
- Upright Brewing’s Pure Wit - “Upright’s take on a Belgian-style wit using coriander and a special bitter orange peel for aromatics along with a good portion of oats and both raw and malted wheat. Creamy, tart, and refreshing.” Upright Brewing
Pale Ale Pale Ale is one of the world’s most popular beer styles. This style is made with top fermenting yeast and primarily pale malt. The higher proportion of pale malts produces a lighter brown or amber color. The term “pale ale” started being applied to beers of this style around 1703 because of drying of the malts with coke fuel. Depending on the method of brewing and level of hops, this style can have a wide range of taste and strengths within the pale ale category.
- BridgePort’s Blue Heron – “Our heritage beer, Blue Heron, was first brewed in 1987 as a special release for the Audubon Society, and named after Portland’s official city bird. The taste reflects its Northwest roots, drawing on indigenous ingredients from the hop fields of the Willamette Valley and the barley fields of the high Northwest desert. This pale ale is round and soft on the palate, finishes crisply.” BridgePort
- Deschutes Brewery’s Mirror Pond - “This is base camp, where any craft brew exploration begins. A distinct hop nose and hop-forward flavor make Mirror Pond the quintessential Pale Ale. It is aromatically complex, multi-layered, and unmistakably ‘right.’ ” Deschutes Brewery
India Pale Ale- The name India Pale Ale came from the popularity of the brew master and brewery who made the style, George Hodgson of the Bow Brewery on the Middlesex-Essex border with the East India Company traders in late 18th century. Traditional beers wouldn’t hold up through the voyage to India so in order to prevent spoilage the brewers added extra hops and increased the alcohol level. Those specials steps paid off and are now characteristics that make the IPA extremely popular with serious beer drinkers. Depending on the malt types and amounts, the color of an IPA could range from light golden to dark amber. It typically has an aroma of fresh hops, sweet citrus blossoms and on occasion pine tree. Most IPA has a pleasant bitter hoppy taste with additions of citrus or pine depending on the types and amounts of hops and malts. This category also includes Belgian ales, Farmhouse ales, and Altbier.
- Deschutes Brewery’s Inversion - “Named after a clouds-beneath-your-feet weather phenomena, Inversion is a big, bold, hop-front, India Pale Ale with a surprisingly subtle subtext. Centennial and Cascade hops provide a tart, citrus greeting, while Carastan and crystal malts soften the edges.” Deschutes Brewery
- Hopwork’s Organic Ace Of Spades (Imperial IPA) - “Named in honor of rock n’ roll icon Lemmy Kilmister and his band Motörhead’s popular song and album, Ace of Spades prominently features Amarillo, Cascade and Centennial hops, added at every point of the brewing process: mash tun, first wort, kettle, and dry hop. All of the hoppy green goodness results in a beer with a huge citrus hop aroma, flavor and deep, clean bitterness.” Try Hopworks classic IPA, it’s my favorite. Hopworks
- Ninkasi’s Total Domination IPA - “Total Domination has a citrusy, floral hop aroma, and big hop flavor balanced with a richness imparted by Carahell and Munich malts. This beer is a big flavorful Northwest IPA that maintains it’s drinkability, and as such has garnered great admiration from the novice craft drinker and the seasoned hop head alike.” Also try Ninkasi’s Tricerahops double IPA. This one is for you “hop heads.”Ninkasi Brewing Company
- Rouge’s Brutal IPA - “An Imperial bitter with exotic traditional floor malts, citrusy, hoppy flavor, stupendous hop aroma.” Explore Rouge for several different IPA, and Imperial IPAs. Rouge
- Lompoc’s C-NOTE Imperial IPA- “To call C-Note very hoppy would be an understatement. It’s brewed with the seven “C” hops (Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus and Challenger) and pushes the bitterness limit to 100 International Bitterness Units. ” I haven’t had the opportunity to try it but Lompoc has recently released a C-DOG Double Imperial IPA. If you try it, please let me know it is. Thanks. Lompoc
Bitters- Bitter is an English term meaning pale ale, the term the British use to refer to a pale ale or the category of pale ales. If the ale falls under the 3% alcohol level it is known as Boys Bitter, and if it falls at 7% or higher it is known as premium or strong bitters. The British also refer to variations of bitters in beer strength, such as best/regular bitter (4.2%-4.7%), ordinary/session bitter (4.1%) , special bitter, extra special bitter and of course premium bitter (4.8% and above.) There is a vast array of differences but there are no agreed or defined ones to note of. Hop levels vary within each variety but the only noticeable difference is the higher level in the ordinary/session bitter group.
Barley wine A barley wine or barley wine can typically reach an alcohol level of 8-12%. It is called barley wine because it is as strong as wine. This style beer can range from amber to deep reddish-brown in color but all are rich and full flavored. This category also includes Old ales.
- Hopwork’s Noggin Floggin’ Bourbon Aged Barley Wine - From a review on Beeradovcate ”The beer pours a reddish-brown amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive and intriguing, as one can really pick up the Macallan scotch barrel aging. Otherwise, there is noticeable vanilla and butterscotch, making for one fine smelling BW. However, as nice as this beer smells, this beer is just excellent on the palate. The scotch barrel flavor component intermingles in a very nice way with the toffee, caramel and light smoke I’m picking up. Also, while this beer is fairly sweet, the butterscotch and peat tend to counter it pretty well. There’s a bit of heat on the finish, but it has a single malt flavor component about it, and is not at all unpleasant or objectionable. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, fairly sweet, butterscotch and light peat finish. Drinkability is surprisingly good, though one can tell the abv. is up there a bit, and so along with the sweetness and peat, a little bit obviously goes a very long way in this beer. ” Beeradvocate
- Widmer Brother’s Galaxy Hopped Barley Wine - “Galaxy Hopped Barleywine is a new take on an old favorite. This beer pours a dark crimson, almost mahogany color. The yeast and & Galaxy Hops™ deliver a big bang of red and yellow fruit aromatics like banana, pineapple, cherry, and strawberry. The experience begins with a taste of toffee and darkened sweet caramel overlaid on subtle tones of vanilla, all to be punctuated by the floral and citrus dry hop character.” Widmer Brothers
Stout- This style is a dark beer made possible by roasting the malt or the barley and was first recorded in London in the 1730s. Stout is the traditional way or generic way for the strongest or stoutest porters, usually 7% or 8% alcohol. “The main difference between a porter and a stout is what the brewer decided to call it.” Wikipedia – Stout.
- McMenamin’s Terminator Stout – “Black as the darkest night, rich as the most decadent dessert, Terminator is for the true stout lover. This is a full-bodied and flavor packed ale which draws its robust complexity from kiln-baked specialty grains. Look for a wide array of toasted, chocolate, nutty and coffee-like flavors in every pint! The devoted swear by it, and it remains one of our top-selling ales year after year.” McMenamins
- Alameda Brewhouse’s Black Bear XX Stout - “Black Bear XX Stout
Smooth, rich and creamy. Rye malt blends with roast and chocolate
malts to create a new and delicious stout profile, balanced with soft
and velvety hops.” Alameda Brewhouse
- Deschutes Brewing’s Obsidian Stout -”Deep, robust and richly rewarding, this is beer to linger over. Obsidian has distinct notes of espresso, chocolate, roasted malt and black barley, with just enough hop bite to cut the sweetness.” Deschutes Brewing
Dry or Irish stout-Irish or dry stout is extremely dark in color and most likely will have a toasty or sometimes a coffee taste. Among other stout this variety is the lightest and tends to be less carbonated. The most famous of the dry Irish stout is Guinness, followed by Murphy’s and Bearnish.
Imperial stout- This variety has a long history which helped develop its name and characteristics. Imperial stout also known as “Russian imperial stout” or imperial Russian stout” is a strong dark stout whose history begins in the 18th century. Thrale’s Brewery in London began exporting this variety of stout to the court of Catherine II of Russia. After several changes in ownerships, the brewery then changed the beer to Courage Imperial Russian Stout, giving it’s name. It traditionally has a high alcohol content 9%-10% to prevent the beer from freezing on its way to Russia, via the Baltic sea.
- Rouge’s Russian Imperial Stout - “The Emperor of Stouts. Rich in texture, broad, soft and creamy. The most robust and fullest of all stouts.” Rouge Ales
- Caldera Brewing’s Old Growth Imperial Stout – Caldera Brewing.
- Portland Brewing Company’s Goose Bump Imperial Stout - “Goose Bump is a deliciously dark Imperial Stout brewed with roasted and chocolate malt, coffee beans, and bold hop flavor which percolate into a complex blend of fearsome intensity. ” Portland Brewing Company
Porter- In the “beer world”, there is much debate if there is any difference between a porter and a stout. Historically, there was no difference. The term “stout” was originally used to specify a stronger porter among other porters.
- Deschutes Brewery’s Black Butte Porter – “With a dark beer as our first and flagship brand, Black Butte defined Deschutes as a radical player. A slight hop bitterness up front enhances the distinctive chocolate and roasted finish. It’s prized for its creamy mouthfeel and intense complex flavors.”I personally think Black Butte is a bit little as far so mouth-feel for a porter.It’s a summer time porter. Deschutes Brewery
- Lucky Labrador Brewing Company’s Stumptown Porter – Beeradovcate
- Roots Organic Brewing’s Toasted Coconut Porter – “A medium Bodied London style porter, with a slight hint of roast malt and “dry hopped” by 10 lbs of subtle, sweet tropical, hand toasted Coconut Flakes. The coconut is subtle but lends a creaminess and smooth finish to this porter.” Roots
Milk/Cream stout- Milk stout, also known as sweet stout or cream stout, is a stout that contains lactose. The lactose does not ferment by brewers yeast, thus adding sweetness, body (mouth feel) and extra calories to the beer.
- Lompoc’s Sockeye Cream Stout – “This is a perfect stout! Roasted malt flavors with rich chocolate and coffee undertones combined with an addition of oats creates a lasting finish. Served on nitro. ” Lompoc
Oatmeal stout- This variety of stout is a stout with a specific proportion of oats added, maximum of 30%. Oatmeal stouts do not take of oats. The oats impart smoothness from the high content of lipids (includes fats and waxes) and gum. Both increase the stout’s viscosity and adds to the rich mouth feel.
- Rouge’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout- “Ebony in color with a rich creamy head, earthy flavor and a mellow, chocolate finish.” Rouge Ales
- Alaskan Brewing Company’s Oatmeal Stout - “The unique blend of the oats and malts in Alaskan Stout produce a balanced, smooth beer with hints of coffee and caramel. ” Alaskan Brewing Company
Chocolate stout- This specific stout gets its name from the noticeable dark chocolate flavor that comes from using a more roasted and aromatic malt, such as chocolate malt. In some beers the brewers will actually use a hint of real chocolate to increase the nutty chocolate flavor.
- Rouge’s Chocolate Stout- “Ebony in color with a rich creamy head. The mellow flavor of oats, chocolate malts and real chocolate are balanced perfectly with the right amount of hops for a bitter-sweet finish.” Rouge also released a Double Chocolate Stout, which won a Gold Medal at the World Beer Championships. Rouge Ales
Coffee stout- In order to obtain a bitter coffee flavor which this variety is known for, the brewer must use the darkest roasted malts, such as black patent malt. Most coffee flavored stouts can range from below 4% to over 8% alcohol. Some brewers will add flavors; real coffee, mint, chocolate or even cream, which would give a Coffee Cream stout.
- Oakshire Brewing’s Overcast Stout- “Gray skies are a regular part of life in Western Oregon. Overcast Espresso Stout is a dark, silky oatmeal stout brewed with beans from a Eugene coffee roaster. Rich, smooth and full of coffee flavor, aroma, and caffeine- this beer is quite nice on a gray or sunny day!” Oakshire Brewing
- Hopwork’s Survival Stout- “Beer of the Ancients! Barley, Wheat, Oats, Amaranth, Quinoa, Spelt, and Kamut sustain the soul with nutrients cultivated through the millennia. Finished with 15 pounds of cold-pressed Stumptown Holler Mountain coffee. Unlock the mystery entombed in darkness.” Hopworks
Oyster stout- This stout is historically known to be a wonderful pairing with oysters in public houses and taverns in Ireland, hints the name oyster stout. Modern oysters stout are made with a handful of oyster shells in the barrel, for unknown reasons, marketing perhaps.
* Upright’s Oyster Stout - “Originally formulated and brewed in late 2009 with Jason McAdam of Burnside Brewing, this traditional British-style stout uses both oyster liquor and whole oysters, giving the full-bodied and roasty beer a lightly salty flavor with a distinct mineral laden finish.” Upright Brewing