My last article was an introduction to beer and the beers classified as Lagers. This time let’s look at Ales. There is room for much more variation of styles of Ales than that of Lagers. There are many, many styles, but we will focus on the basic recognized Ales.
Bitter, This covers many basic Ales that usually refers to an English Ale. Light bodied, not to potent (lower in alcohol) and usually with a distinct hops bite, hence the name “bitter” These were once referred to as “Session” beers because you could drink them through a long “session” of discussing important matters without straying off the topic because the lower alcohol content.
Extra Special Bitter (ESB) As the name implies a richer, fuller style of bitters, usually higher in alcohol and darker in color.
Pale Ale, Higher in alcohol, more hops character, and usually more golden than the reddish hue of bitters.
Amber, A variation of standard English bitters with the addition of “Amber Malt” which is malt that has been Kiln roasted to impart a richer flavor and color.
India Pale Ale (IPA), A variation on the Basic English Ale that has significantly more hops character and higher alcohol that was believed to have been developed to ship to English troops serving in India who missed their bitters. The increased alcohol and hops was to help it survive the long shipment to India. Usually has a hops bite that’s like a slap in the face.
Brown, Lighter in hops, more malted (roasted grains), sweeter, nutty and fuller in body.
Porter, Dark, lower alcohol, rich sweet from roasted malts.
Stout, Black Ale from roasted Barley, varying styles from sweet with low hops to dry wirth brighter hops.
More on ales next article