I feel there’s something we need to talk about and it’s definitely not Pokémon Go. That’s right, there’s another player in town and their coming in all shapes and colours, inspired from the Californian coast. As much as I wish I was talking about Shake Shack taking over the west coast, some dreams don’t come true. I am however talking about the craft beer revolution. You can thank those Sacramento bearded men for deciding commercial fizz needed some TLC. This is the rebirth of ales; in words you can understand. None of this mash, fermentation, hop utilization jargon. This is my craft beer 101, from light to dark:
Lager: traditionally dry, heavily carbonated, light bitterness and low malt character.
Pale Ale: generally 100% or close to pale malt, more body, the lightest of the ale range, medium bitterness with floral, tropical fruit aromatics. A great place to start.
Amber/Red Ale: A beer similar to its pale brother, but with stronger amounts of crystal/caramel malt, giving it a sweeter and deeper flavour.
IPA (India Pale Ale): This is the definition of craft beer. An unbalanced beer designed to showcase hop flavor and aroma. Expect medium to high body with high bitterness and high tropical fruit, pine aromatics.
Brown Ale: A old fashioned style becoming more popular. Beginning with toasty and biscuit flavours, well rounded with a medium to low bitterness.
Porter: The lighter of the dark beers. Generally medium to heavy mouth feel and body. Oaky, roasty, coffee and chocolate flavours throughout and my personal favourite.
Stout: Similar to Mr. Porter, however can be much higher in alcohol and with corresponding depth and complexity, often deep/almost burnt flavours.
When trying craft beer, a lot of people will stick with the lighter ales, but not drinking dark beer is like not enjoying red wine because its red. Explore the full range and await the craft beer snobbery to kick in whilst donning a flannel shirt, iPhone 7 in your back pocket and growing out your facial hair.
So where to next? Head into your local Ben’s Independent Grocer to start the journey today.