Welcome back for another Beer 101 post…no, I’m not going to do this every Sunday 🙂 To be honest, I started to write this post a few weeks ago, but I realized that someone just starting to learn about beer needed a bit more background information, hence my post last Sunday, “Beer Is…”. There are so many different styles of beer out there; a great resource to learn more about beer styles is the BJCP guidebook (probably more information than you ever wanted to know). While I highly encourage you to taste any and all types of beers, below are a few styles I would recommend to the non-beer drinker to get started:
- Kolsch: is a lighter beer both in taste and color. I find Kolsch style beers to be light and crisp, sometimes with of hint of bitterness, fruitness, or herby notes. A Kolsch is usually a very easy to drink beer that will not feel heavy on the palate and has a lower alcohol content. A Kolsch is a perfect summer beer.
- Pilsner: is another beer considered to be light and easy drinking, and is very light in color. It often has a lower to mid alcohol content and is a bit hoppier than a Kolsch (but not bitter). A Pilsner is also another beer that I think of as a good beer to enjoy in summer.
- Saison: is considered a European style beer and derives most of it flavoring through the yeast used, as opposed to the hops or grains. Saisons are often more dry than sweet with a slight spiciness or herby flavor. Saisons are usually more carbonated as well.
- Porter: is a dark in color beer and it’s flavor/body profile can range widely. Some porters are heavy, full bodied where others are lighter with a clean finish. I personally do not like porters that are too roasty. I typically avoid porters with a coffee descriptor as well. If you are into coffee, a coffee porter might be right up your alley.
- Pale Ale: is a broad style. Some pale ales are light and crisp with a little hop flavor, but I’ve also experienced some I could have sworn was an IPA. If I’m looking for something lighter, stay away from descriptors like hoppy or bitter, unless you like those of course 🙂 Then you might want to take a step up to an IPA.
Again, I think beer is an acquired taste and it just takes lots of trial and error to find what style fits your taste. You will also learn, the more you drink, the more your taste changes. I use to not like very many dark beers, thinking all of them were like Guinness–heavy. This just is not true – the color does not necessarily translate to the taste or body of a beer. Some beers labeled Pale Ale can taste like an IPA, some dark colored beers can taste lighter than an English Ale. If you are new to beers, I encourage you to look in your area for local breweries. Breweries are a great place to sample a range of beers, and learn a little more about them. Most brewery people LOVE to
geek out about educate others on beer. When you visit a brewery, ask them if they do “flights”. Flights or tasters are a great way to sample a wide range of beers; most breweries do 2 to 3 oz samples of 4 to 5 beers. Don’t give up; beer flavors range dramatically so you can’t really say you don’t like a certain style unless you have tried a few different ones, from different breweries. There IS such a thing as a bad brewery or bad batch of beer, don’t let a single try ruin a whole style for you. Now, go forth and sample!!
If you want to see what I’ve been sampling lately, you can follow me on Untappd at mariah13g.
Are you a beer drinker? If so, what is your go to style? Any other beer related questions for me?
That concludes my lesson for today.