The first recorded instance of beer brewing is dated to 5000 years ago, because even our ancestors knew the value of kicking back with a cold one after a hard days work. Even then, archaeologists suspect the practice has gone back even further, but whatever the case may be, there is no denying humans love beer. In this article we will be examining the 6 most popular craft beers people consume while out at the bars.
- American IPA. An IPA, which stands for India pale ale, is similar in composition to the American pale ale. The major difference is that an IPA leans more towards the malted side of the spectrum. The flavor of the hops takes center stage with this craft beer, and while the carmel base is still hinted at, a corresponding sweetness dulls the bitter edge delivered by the hops. This style of craft beer reigns supreme at bars as the most popular beer chosen by consumers.
- American Pale Ale. Described as being bold, yet balanced, this is another popular style of craft beer among consumers. It has a varied fruity aroma that is dependant upon the hops used in the batch, and this mixes with a caramel base to create a flavor blend found only in this style. It has a lightly bitter finish that is not overwhelming to the tongue. It is a perfect when paired with a nice hearty pub burger.
- Porters and Stouts. Both extremely similar, so much so many people have a difficulty distinguishing the two! The main difference is the ingredients used in their creation. Porters use primarily malted barley, whereas stouts use roasted unmalted barley; this is what gives stout a slight coffee flavor that porters do not have. Having said that, there is no hard and fast difference between the two. As brewer’s experiment with different mixing processes and brewing styles, the lines become more and more blurred. Maybe next time you’re at the bars you can give both a try, see if you can spot any differences!
- Brown Ale. Popular with home brewers, this style of craft beer is quite mild. Featuring a caramel base once again, this beer has a roasted malt flavor that falls just beneath a porter. This of course is dependent on the process used in its brewing; as some can feature a more roasted flavor than others. If you enjoy brown ale, don’t be afraid to branch out and try a different brand that what you’re used to, it might turn out to be a new favourite!
- Blonde Ale. Blonde ale is a good place to begin if you are new to the craft beer world. The hop ratio in this style is usually fairly low, so it isn’t overwhelming for newcomers. And, because it can be featured as either an ale or lager, you can try out both, while still staying in familiar territory.
- Red Ales. These craft beers are another good starting point for anyone who is interested in craft beers, but is uncertain which style is for them. Red ales begin as a pale malt, but is featured along with a heavier medium malt, which is how it gets its distinct color. This style also contains a sweetness that can be pleasant to those who are not crazy about bitter notes in their brews. The balance and flavor once again varies between brands and brewing styles, so as I said above, don’t be afraid to mix and match.
This is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to craft beers. The iceberg itself is large enough to put the one that sank the Titanic to shame. The styles of good craft beers are so varied and wide ranging that a thesis could be written about each one. Bars will typically feature a range of the above, and more that have gone unmentioned. Don’t be afraid to ask your bartender about the different types, and what they would recommend for you. There are so many different styles out there, so why go out and try them all?