Beer Style Guide
A fruity, strong ale made by secular brewers in Belgium and based on the products of the Trappist abbeys.
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"Alt" in German means "old" or "traditional," referring to the way beer was brewed in Germany prior to the nineteenth century. After a warm fermentation this hybrid was were lagered for several months in ice-cold caves. This mellowed the fruitiness typical of a top-fermented ale. This style has a pronounced bitterness, with subdued hop flavor and aroma compared to a pils. Great with brie cheese, deli sandwiches, and hamburgers. The serving glass is similar to a highball glass and the ale's temperature should be about (50 degrees F) when served.
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This style can range from a golden to light copper color. American Ales are characterized by the American variety hops used to produce high hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Complimentary foods include steak, lamb, and hamburgers.
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Barley wine is not wine at all, but possesses many wine-like characteristics contributed principally by its high alcohol content, usually between 6 to 12% by volume. The strongest beer ever made was a barely wine weighing in at 15.86% by volume and appropriately named Doomsday II. These beers are often aged for 18 months or more to mature the flavors and can be cellared for up to 25 years. Barley Wines have a velvety texture, a fruity, smokey palate and a hint of acidity with a warm alcohol finish. Barley wine is a mean in itself so it does not compliment food very well. Potential pairings include chocolate candy and various desserts. It should be served at room temperature, possibly as an after dinner drink.
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An acidic, light-bodied style of Wheat (weisse) Beer made in Berlin. Traditionally served in a large mouthed goblet and usually laced with either a dash of raspberry syrup or woodruff. Best served at (45-50 degrees F).
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Biere de Garde
Yes, the French can make good beer. This style is characterized by a smooth, sweet, fruity, and earthy taste with a color which can range from a deep blond to a reddish brown. Typically, bières de garde are brewed in the Northern region of France near the Belgian border, corked in wine bottles, and then aged from several months to several years. Complimentary foods include tarts, chicken, lamb, rabbit, onions, and squashes. Best served at (50-55 degrees F).
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The term Bitter usually refers to draft English ale while the term Pale Ale best describes bottled versions of Bitter. Confused? This style is typically lghtly carbonated with a bronze to deep copper color. Beers in this style are not as bitter as the name may suggest, but instead possess a floral-spicy palate derived from the fragrent English hops used. Bitters go great with rich meats including roast, lamb, pork, steak, duck, goose, and salmon. Best served in a plain pint glass at (54-55 degrees F).
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Bocks are rich, malty, brown German lagers that are typically brewed in the fall or winter for consumption in the spring. Originally they were consumed by fasting monks because they provided a good source of nutrition when no solid food was allowed. Common myth has it that bock beer is made from the dreggs at the bottom of the barrel, this is not the case at all. American bocks tend to be lighter in body and color than their German counterparts. In all varieties, the hop flavor and aroma should be low. The brew is usually served in a stoneware mug at not less than (48 degrees F).
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The popularity of this beer style has waned over the past few centuries, but is currently enjoying a comeback. Southern English Brown ales are generally dark, sweet, and low in alcohol. The northern English versions are often drier and more potent. Both are made with softer water than pale ales. The Belgian style (made around the city of Oudenaarde) has a sweet-sour taste. American brown ale typically has more pronounced hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Pair with nutty stuffings, cheesy salads, beef vegetable soup, jambalaya, and lightly dressed green salads. Serve in a pint glass at (55 degrees F).
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Fermented apple cider has been making quite a comeback in America and England during the past few years. Many varieties can be found on tap and are well made. Hard cider can range from light colored and sweet to dark and very dry. Before hops were cultivated as a preservative for beer, fruits and spices were used extensively to keep beer from turning into vinegar too soon.
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A very mild, sweetish style of ale made in the United States. Serve between (45-50o F).
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In German, döppel means double, but that does not mean a döppelbock is double the strength of a normal bock. They were orignally brewed by monks who wanted a full-bodied, strong, "liquid" bread to drink during their lenten fast. Complimentary foods include pasteries and desserts, smoked duck and cured ham. Serve at (50 degrees F).
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Any beer brewed in Dortmund, Germany. The city, however, is especially associated with the Export style.
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Very hoppy style of Pale Ale typically with insance amounts of malt and hops running a 7% or higher ABV.
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The strongest of the bock beers. Produced by lagering beer in very cold cellars at the freezing point of water, and removing some of the iced water, thereby increasing the alcoholic strength of the beer.
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ESB - Extra Strong Bitter
Extra Strong Bitter pocesses medium to strong hop qualities in aroma, flavor and bitterness. The residual malt sweetness of this richly falvor, full-bodied bitter is more pronounced than in other bitters.
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A Scottish beer brewed with savory herbs to give the ale an exotic accent.
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Just as Hallmark has a card for every occasion, there is a beer for every holiday. Holiday ales usually refer to beers brewed to celebrate the winter holidays. This style is wide open for brewers. Many are dark, spiced, high in alcohol and work well as a winter warmer. Sometimes they are so dark and spicy they resemble Robitussan more than beer, but nothing beats a winter warmer in Iowa when the snow is up to the roof.
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India Pale Ale
IPA gained its name due to its popularity among British troops in colonial India. The high gravity of the beer allowed it to mature during its long voyage from England to India and the high hop bitterness worked as a preservative. What resulted was a golden to deep copper-colored ale with a full flavor and high hop bitterness. Complimentary foods include lamb, many spicy ethnic foods, and well-done steak or roast. Serve in a pint glass at (55 degrees F).
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Irish Red Ale
An Irish ale, noted for its reddish color, full body, and sweetish, sometimes buttery palate.
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Kölsch is an appellation for a beer style originally brewed in the Köln area before the lagering revolution. Again, like an Altbier or Steam beer, it is warm fermented and then aged at cold temperatures. Kölsch is characterized by a golden color and slightly dry, winey and subtly sweet palate. This style should have a light body, with a low hop flavor and aroma with medium bitterness. Goes well with lightly smoked sausages. The appropriate glass for this beer is very similar to that used for a Tom Collins and the brew is best served cold at (48 degrees F).
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In some countries the term 'lager' is applied only to the most basic beers. In general, however, the term applies to any bottom fermenting beer.
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One of the most complex beer styles in the world. This style of beer is spontaneously fermented with wild yeast native to the Zenne Valley of Belgium. It is darn near impossible to duplicate this style outside of that particular valley. Typically, different vintages are blended together to mellow the younger version out. Most lambic undergoes a secondary fermentation when fruit is added to the oak casks. The end product is reminiscent of a chardonnay, a manzanilla or even a dry vermouth. In fact, one of Lindeman's lambics won a gold medial for "Best Wine" at a California wine and food festival in 1992. Serve in a champaign flute at (54-55 degrees F).See also Kriek, Framboise, Peche, Gueuze, or Faro.
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In England, an alternative name for bottled bitter. In Scotland, a dark ale of low gravity. 'Light' does NOT mean a low-calorie beer.
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"Mai" in German simply means May. Traditionally made at the end of April or beginning of May to celebrate Spring. Maibocks are essentially light colored bocks with a malty character that is evident in both the aroma and flavor. This style typically has a medium to full body with a low hop bitterness as most varieties of bock do.
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Before refrigeration was invented the lager brewing season would end in late March when it began to get too warm to brew. The beer would be brewed in late March or early April aged until late September. These beers can range from golden to reddish-brown. A sweet maltiness should dominate slightly over the clean, hop bitterness. The malt character should be toasted rather than strongly caramel. The hop aroma should be low but noticeable. Perfect for sweet spiced recipes, sweet tasting meats, pizza, pork, chicken salad, and Italian sausages. Best served in a stoneware mug at (48 degrees F).
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An English term for a lightly-hopped ale, usually of lower alcohol content and sometimes darker in color. Normally served on draught at a pub at (50-55 degrees F).
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The Munich brews are traditionally dark lagers with a spicy-malty-coffeeish palate, but today includes pale lagers with a distinctively malty accent. Serve in a plain pint glass at (48 degrees F).
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Mastery of this style is credited to Spaten Brewery's Gabriel Sedlmayr II in the mid-nineteenth century. A classic Münchener Dunkel should have a chocolate, roasted malt, bread-like aroma, and is well balanced by German hops. Match with bread, fried mushrooms, vegetarian chili, roast chicken, lobster, crab or salmon.
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No, this does not mean the beer is past its expiration date. An old ale is a medium-strong British dark ale. Old Ale's name originated centuries ago because it was a mild ale that was aged a year or more before drinking. It was the mixture of expensive old ale with inexpensive mild that became the basis for the porter style. These beers are typically dark, rich, and sweet with notes of fruit and molasses. Best served at (50 degrees F).
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A fruity, copper-colored style of ale originating in England. Serve at (55 degrees F).
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Pilsener - Bohemian
Originally brewed in the Bohemian city of Pilzen in 1842, Pilsner is the style others raced to imitate during the nineteenth century lagering revolution. These beers should be straw to deep gold in color with a distinctive flowering spicy hoppiness and a dry finish. Czech pilsners are more full-bodied and maltier than their German counterparts. Czech Pilsners compliment foods such as light fish (perch, carp, or lobster); spicy foods, and lightly seasoned pork.
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Pilsener - German
A classic German Pils is a very light straw color and well hopped with a good deal of hop bitterness and a moderate hop flavor and aroma. Typically lighter, drier, hoppier, more effervescent, and less smooth than a Czech-style Pilsner. Great with eggs benedict, spicy chicken, various white fish, and creamy dressed salads.
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This beer style was born as a mixture of inexpensive "green" beer such as mild or brown ale with an expensive aged beer. In 1730, a man named Harwood brewed a substitute for the mixture and advertised it as being richer and more nourishing than ordinary ale, and was intended for porters and other heavy laborers. Porter is a very dark, top-fermented beer with a spicy, chocolatey character. Dark malt flavors dominate, yet porter is lighter in body and malt character than stout. Complimentary foods include venison, and various BBQ'd meats. Serve in a plain pint glass at (55 degrees F).
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These German "smoke beer" lagers were made famous in the city of Bamberg in northern Bavaria. The smoke character was originally a by-product of the ancient practice of drying malt over oak or beechwood fires. A new style popularized by the Alaskan Brewing and Bottling Company is smoked porter. Smoke rides very well in porter. Complimentary foods include BBQ foods, and smoked and sweet meats. Serve in a pint glass at (50 degrees F).
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One of the newest beer styles appearing in the United States and Europe. Rye malt is even more difficult to filter than wheat so only a small portion is used (10-30%). These beers typically have a pumpernickel flavor.
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A medium strong, faintly sour summer ale from Belgium which is sometimes seasoned with spices or herbs. Serve at (50 degrees F).
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"Schwarz" in German means "black." Schwarzbier is a dark German lager that has bittersweet, dark chocolate notes in addition to the typical roasted malt flavors you would find in a dark lager. These beers are typically darker, more robust, and less delicate than their Müncher dunkel cousins.
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The four different sub-categories of Scottish ales are light, heavy, export, and strong. These sub-categories also go by their archaic designations of 60, 70, 80, and 90 shilling respectively. The first three are roughly the counterparts to English bitter, but with more of a malt accent. Serve in a pint glass or thistle at (55 degrees F).
Browse the Scotch Ales we stock.
There are many "theories" why Steam beer has the name it does, ranging from the nineteenth century use of steam power in breweries, to the high temperature of the primary fermentation, and even the popular theory of the sound the beer made when casks of the lively beer were broached. Nonetheless, it is technically the only classic beer style to originate in the United States. Like Altbiers, Steam beer goes through a high temperature primary fermentation as an ale does and then are lagered in cold temperatures. The difference is that lager yeast is used instead of ale yeast. This produces a very fruity and mellow lager. Also called California Common. Serve at not less than (45 degrees F).
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Stout - Dry
The darkest and most intimidating of brews. This dark, heavy, opaque ale has a high percentage of roasted grains. Stout styles include dry, sweet, Imperial, and oatmeal. Irish-style stout is typically of the dry type with a distinctive dry-roasted bitterness in the finish. English stouts (Sweet or Milk stout) have less roasted bitter flavor and more full-bodied mouthfeel than Dry stouts. Imperial typically exceed 8% alcohol by volume and were originally brewed for export to the Baltic countries. Oatmeal stout has a full flavor and smooth profile that is rich without being grainy. Pair dry stouts with seafood (especially oysters); sweet stouts with fruit desserts; oatmeal stouts with chocolate cake or pudding; and Imperial stouts with Russian rye bread, caviar, wild game, and Christmas pudding. Best served in a plain pint glass at room temperature - (61 degrees F). (Also see Oatmeal Stout, Russian Stout, Sweet Stout)
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Stout - Imperial
In Britain, a very strong stout originally brewed from 1760 to World War I. Present day Russian stout is non-pasteurized and matured in casks for two months, then bottle-aged for a full year. Also called Imperial Russian stout or Imperial stout.
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Stout - Oatmeal
A style of stout brewed with oatmeal. Oatmeal was used for nutritive qualities as will as its ability to impart fullness of body and flavor.
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Stout - Sweet
The English version of stout as opposed to the dry stout of Ireland. It has a slightly lactic flavor, full-bodied mouthfeel and is less alcoholic than dry stout. Also called Milk Stout.
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Strong, fruity, sedimented ales made by Trappist monks in Belgium and the Netherlands. Some have an almost port like character. Serve in a goblet at room temperature - (61 degrees F). Do NOT store chilled as it will inhibit the maturation of the beer.
Browse the Trappist Ales we stock.
This style of lager was developed by brewing pioneer Anton Dreher in Vienna, Austria during the mid-nineteenth century. It is pale red to deep amber in color, light to moderately hopped, and malty. This style is probably one of the world's best food accompaniments along with wheat beers. It is perfect for sweet tasting meats, potatoes, sausages, chicken, pork, and is also one of the few beers that matches well with tomato-based dishes. It's best served in a stoneware mug at (48 degrees F).
Browse the Viennas we stock.
Weizenbier - Bock
This is the heaviest and darkest variety of Wheat Beer, ranging from a deep, reddish amber to black, but usually much lighter in body and intensity than the standard all-barley bock.
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Weizenbier - Dunkel
A dark wheat beer. A bit maltier than the lighter "hefe-weizen," but still retains the clove, apple, banana characteristics of Bavarian wheat beer.
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Weizenbier - Flavored
A wheat beer flavored with fruit typically.
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Weizenbier - Kristall
Kistall is German for the word "clear". A Kristall Weizen is a filtered wheat beer.
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Weizenbier - mit Hefe
A wheat beer with a yeast sediment in the bottle.
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A traditional wheat beer originally brewed in the Belgian towns of Hoegaarden and Louvain. Flavored with various spices such as Curaçao orange peel and coriander.
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