With so many different styles of craft beers, classifying them can be a little intimidating even for beer enthusiasts. Brewers and drinkers love to experiment and innovate with their drinks. Craft beer is growing more significant and more prominent in demand every year. A few decades ago, there were only a few choices of beers available with no strong characters or flavours. Brewing crafts beer dates back to over 7,000 years of history and is an artistic version of science. After this article, we recommend you go on a crafts beer expedition to better understand and improve your ability to identify different flavours, tastes, textures as well as the aroma of the beers. It is up to the brewer how they would like to create beer, whether they would like to follow the set guidelines or break the tradition. In America alone, there are over 7,000 breweries, and you’ll find a local brewery within every 10 miles. The better you know about the different craft beer styles, it’ll help you choose the right glass of pint for your next drink.
Here’s an interesting fact, did you know that all beers are either lagers or ales? That is identified by the type of yeast used in the process of fermentation. When the yeast ferments at the very bottom of the beer mixture, they make lagers. And, when the yeast ferments at the top, they make ales. If we are to list all the different beer styles, it’s almost impossible to do so with a wide variety of spectrum available. Let’s get exploring the most popular craft beer styles to give you a better understanding of the classifications.
What is a craft beer and why is it so popular?
Craft beer is a beer that is brewed by microbreweries that produces small amounts of beer. They differ based on quality, flavour and brewing technique. This versatile beverage is not just a fermented beverage, but one of the most enjoyed drinks worldwide.
1. Altbier ale
This craft beer style was first brewed in Cologne and Düsseldorf Germany. Due to the unique mineral spine used in the water of the area, it is challenging to reproduce the flavour elsewhere. It tastes slightly on the bitter side due to the softness of the malts.
2. American Pale Ale
This is a copied version of the classic English beer style. It has the right set of characteristics of both malt and hop, which means that the flavours fluctuate between sweetness and bitterness. If you analyze American Pale Ale carefully, you’ll notice floral, citrus, and pine flavour notes too.
3. Amber Ale
Amber Ale was created centuries back from Belgium in the style of English bitters. They are made with caramel malt combined with American hops that give a citrusy flavour. Amber Ale gets its colour and its flavour using crystal malt.
4. Red Ale
This is also known as American Amber and is lighter than dark ale. This style varies from mild to bold using accent malts which have hop character. It used crystal malt for flavour and colour and is further toned down with caramel flavour.
5. Red Lager
Also known as American Amber is a variant of Vienna-style lagers. This popular craft beer style has a colour variation of copper to bronze. The flavours highlight the two critical ingredients of hops and malt.
6. American Blonde Ale
This Golden Ale has a delicate biscuity, malty sweetness along with a pleasant citrusy flavour. This is an easy-drinking beer with dominating malt and hop characteristics.
7. American Barley Wine
Although it is named a wine, this drink is very much a beer. American Barley Wine is a strong drink that has a caramel aroma and is more hop-forward and bitter. The colour of this drink is a variation between amber to a dark brown colour. Dark fruits and resiny hops dominate the flavour palette. This drink can be stored for years and will age similar to wine.
8. American Black Ale
This style is also called the Cascadian dark ale and has an intense hop aroma along with bready maltiness. American Black Ale is led by hop flavour followed by fruity, citrus, piney, floral and herbal characters.
9. American Brett
This is a unique craft beer style which varies in different colours. It has Horsey, goaty, leathery, phenolic and some fruity, acidic character.
10. American Cream Ale
This mild, pale, light-bodied ale is prepared using warm fermentation and cold lagering. American Cream Ale is usually light in colour. Hop and malt flavour is low-spirited in the drink.
11. American Imperial Porter
This unique beer style has a medium caramel and cocoa-like sweetness in taste along with the characters of hop and malt. American imperial porter does not carry a roasted barley flavour for the drink.
12. American Brown Ale
This roasted malt has low to medium hop flavour and similar nature of bitterness. The colour spectrum is in the range of brown to darker almost black mud colour. American brown ale has a dark malt character with a medium to high malty flavours with chocolate, toast, and caramel common.
13. Baltic-Style Porter
This cold-fermented and cold-lager beer are made with lager yeast. Baltic-Style Porter is strong when it comes to alcoholic strength. They are known to be deep, dense and thoughtful beers. You can also find hints of chocolate and coffee flavour.
14. Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic
Also known as cassis takes on the flavour of the fruit it is brewed along with. You’ll also find notes of Brettanomyces yeast in this drink. Sourness is a crucial factor of the taste and is either found very dry or mildly sweet.
15. California Common
This drink is brewed with lager yeast and is fermented at ale fermentation temperatures. Californian common is also called steam beer and has a woody and mint flavour. This hybrid style drink has a light amber to tawny red in colour.