The Husband Files: Intro to Craft Beer
Happy Tuesday everyone. I am here today with a glimpse into The Husband Files. My husband is a craft beer aficionado. It's one of his hobbies and quite frankly, I am ok with it. Everyone needs hobbies and craft beer is one of his. Me, I am not a craft beer gal, in fact, I am not a beer gal at all. As in, I have never finished one in my life. I stick to the cocktails and wine. So, today I give you the Intro To Craft Beer (from my husband).
First things first. Craft beer is not your average national brand. You will not find true craft beer fans drinking Miller, Coors, or Budweiser. They stick to smaller, local breweries that often still distribute their own product. This post focuses on a few of the main types or styles of craft beer to give anyone not so familiar a little bit of an intro. So without further ado, I give you craft beer according to my hubs:
Pilsner and lager beers are light to medium bodied, lighter in color, and characterized by higher carbonation and a well rounded balance of malt and hops that impart a clean, crisp finish. The alcohol levels must be such to give a rounded mouthfeel, typically around 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV)
These beers are the standard international style, as personified by products from Miller-Coors to Heineken.
Pilsners and lagers are good styles for anyone who has an interest in craft beer and is looking to expand their horizons and branch out beyond the high volume mega-breweries like Miller-Coors and Budweiser.
National / Regional: St. Arnold's Lawnmower, Real Ale Fireman's 4, Cigar City Lager
Pale Ale/IPA/Imperial IPA/Double IPA
- For those looking to venture further into the world of craft beer, pale ales, india pale ales (IPA's) and double (or imperial) IPA's offer another avenue to explore. The avenue can actually be described more like a 6-lane divided highway, as these styles have become extremely popular and have played a large part in launching the craft beer movement. As such, there is a wide, almost overwhelming variety of these beers to choose from.
Pale ales typically use lighter malts, which highlight the hop flavor resulting in a more bitter tasting beer. The lighter malts also make the beer lighter in color, hence the term pale ale. They are also moderate in alcohol content and a little more sessionable than their IPA counterparts.
IPAs are one of, if not the most popular craft beer style in the American market today. They are more assertively hopped than a standard pale ale, which makes the beer more flavorful. While bitterness is the main tasting characteristic, there are a large variety of hops grown in the US that impart different flavors to the beer, from piney to citrusy and even fruity. The added hops drive the ABV of an IPA to somewhere between 5.5 and 7.5 percent. They go well with strongly flavored foods, including salty dishes, spicy curries, and grilled meats.
Eventually, the biggest of IPAs grew so strong and hoppy that there were questions about whether they were IPAs at all. And so a new beer style was born: the double or imperial IPA. This brash new style symbolizes the rambunctious, independent nature of American microbrewers. The big, bold flavor of double IPA's are the craft beer holy grail for true
"hopheads". Imperial IPAs usually clock in at over 8% ABV, so be careful!
National / Regional: Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale, Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale, Lagunitas IPA, Dog Fish Head 60 Minute IPA, Stone Ruination Imperial IPA
His favorite beer
Dallas - Fort Worth Local:
Community Yessir Pale Ale, Deep Ellum IPA, Rahr and Sons Dadgum IPA, Community Mosaic Imperial IPA, Peticolas Sit Down or I'll Sit You Down Imperial IPA
Many North American brewers are now producing ales that are identified by the term “amber ale.” This is a more modern, non-traditional style, and many of these beers borrow heavily from the characteristics associated with more classical styles such as pale ales or bitters. Amber ales are light- to medium-bodied and can be anywhere from light copper to light brown in color. Flavor wise they can vary from generic and quaffable to serious craft brewed styles with extravagant hoppy aromas and full malt character. Typically amber ales are quite malty but not heavily caramelized in flavor.
Traditional bock is a sweet, relatively strong (6–8% ABV), lightly hopped lager. The beer should be clear, and color can range from light copper to brown, with a bountiful and persistent off-white head. The aroma should be malty and toasty, possibly with hints of alcohol, but no detectable hops or fruitiness. The mouthfeel is smooth, with low to moderate carbonation and no astringency. The taste is rich and toasty, sometimes with a bit of caramel. Again, hop presence is low to undetectable, providing just enough bitterness so that the sweetness is not cloying and the aftertaste is muted.
National / Regional: Shiner Bock, Anchor Steam, New Belgium Fat Tire
Very dark beers made from moderate amounts of hops and larger amounts of brown malt, with a very robust and sometimes heavy mouthfeel, these beers are as far away from run-of-the-mill Bud Light as you will find. It usually takes beer enthusiasts a fair amount of time to adjust to these darker styles, but they become very enjoyable after getting accustomed to the taste.
With the exception of IPA's, stouts and porters may be the most popular style of craft beer available on the market. A wide range of additives can be included with porters and stouts during the brewing process to impart different flavors, from coffee, chocolate, vanilla, spices, and even peanut butter. This results in a large variety of tasting profiles, so almost anyone can find a brand or style suited for them. These darker beers tend to drink a little heavier and are not really sessionable...one or two in a sitting is usually enough. ABV is moderate to high, somewhere around 6 - 8%.
A rising trend over the last few years has been aging stout beers in whiskey or liquor bottles. As one might guess, this imparts a boozy flavor to the beer, and usually kicks the ABV to the 8 - 12% range, so just one will be plenty.
National - Regional:
FoundNer's Breakfast Stout, Southern Tier Porter, Left Hand Milk Stout
Wheat / Hefeweizen -
As the name would suggest, these are beers that use a proportion of wheat in the mash to add a light, hazy color, thicker head, and a dry finish. Being perfectly honest, this is my husband's least favorite style of beer by far, so this section will be short and sweet. Wheats and hefes all have a banana and clove flavor profile with a lingering, medicinal aftertaste. Once you've had one, almost all others will taste exactly the same with very few exceptions.
National - Regional:
Blue Moon Belgian White, Bell's Oberon
Sours / Specialty Beers
- Specialty beers are practically speaking, a catchall tasting for beers that don’t fit neatly in an existing category. However, if enthusiasm for a particular innovation grows, an emerging style may come to warrant its own, new category, as was the case for the Imperial IPA or Barrel-Aged Stout categories. Another specialty type beer that has gained a lot of recent popularity is sour beers. The rest of this section will focus on sours, since they have become one of my husband's favorite type of beers.
Sours are pretty self-explanatory in that the are--sour, tart, and acidic.
Sour brewers use native wild yeasts, such as brettanomyces and lactobacillus, in the open-air fermentation process to produce these specialties. This unusual fermentation imparts a unique vinous character with a refreshing sourness and astonishing complexity. While any beer can be soured, the most typical types are lambic,
gueuze and red ales. Another popular brew generally characterized as a sour beer is a gose, which has a very tart taste with a salt and coriander flavor profile.
National - Regional: Epic Brewing Tart and Juicy, Dogfish Head Sea Quench Ale, Destihl Syncopathic
I hope you all enjoyed this little insight into The Husband Files. Now, go forth and try new beer, or impress the man in your life with your newfound knowledge. I promise the husband will be back next week with something new from The Husband Files. Soliciting ideas. (He seriously loved writing this post, ya'll it was super cute).