Beer: It will cure what “ales” you!

 In Beer

Ale, pale ale, IPA, lager…what’s the diff? Here’s a simple guide to understanding some of the most popular types of beer. Most of our beers fall into one of two categories, ales or lagers.

Ales originated in England more than 5,000 years ago and are made with lots of hops and malt, which give them more of a bitter taste and darker color. They’re usually aged just a few weeks.

Examples of ales:

  • India Pale Ale (IPA): a very hoppy, bitter brew
  • Double or Imperial IPAs: even hoppier than a traditional IPA, sometimes with double or triple the hops and more malt
  • Hefeweizen (unfiltered wheat beer): a mix of barley and wheat grains with very little hoppiness, often a strong yeast flavor
  • Pale ale: one of the most popular types of beer, it has a strong malty and woody flavor
  • Brown ale: dark amber in color with a higher level of malt that makes it earthier and less bitter
  • Irish red ale: roasted barley gives this beer its signature red color
  • Porter: very dark brew made with roasted malts or barley, often with hints of chocolate or toffee
  • Stout: the darkest and heaviest of beers, often with toasted flavors including chocolate, coffee, oatmeal, molasses or cream

Lagers, on the other hand, originated in Central Europe just a few hundred years ago and are aged for much longer, typically months at a time. They tend to be lighter in color with milder taste and fruit flavors.

Examples of lagers:

  • Pilsner: a clean, simple, light yellow lager that’s one of the most popular in the world.
  • Pale lagers: light-colored and watery with mild flavor and aroma, thirst-quenching
  • Bock: a strong lager that’s brewed longer and has a robust malt flavor

There are lots of great resources to learn more about all of the different types of beer. Here’s one with a lot of helpful information: http://www.craftbeer.com/beer-styles. Hover over each image for a brief description and a link for more details.

Our favorite way to learn about beer is by drinking it. We’ll be offering tastings at New Castle Liquors soon. Check the website and follow us on Facebook to find out more.

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