Mini guide to craft beers

Bar Beer
Written by EFW Staff

The three big beers families

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand which beer meets our tastes and how it can be paired with our dish. Thus we found useful to write a mini guide to the styles of craft beer, to understand the characteristics beer per beer.

Let’s go in order, the magic world of craft beer encloses three macro categories of beers: Ale, Lager and Lambic.

  • Ale means “alere” which stands for “feed” and it identify one of the most ancient ways of producing beer in the world for the production of beer, above all in the flemish and anglo-saxon world. Ale beers are commonly considered high fermented beers (18° and 24°), produced with yeasts that belong to the type Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ale are characterized for their sweetness and intensity. The hop gives the classic herbaceous taste useful to balance the sweetness of the malt.
  • Lager beers, on the contrary, are low fermented beers that can be activated thanks to the yeasts called Saccharomyces carlsbergensis at a temperature between 8° and 12°. As the fermentation occurs at low temperature, this beer is almost inactive and it doesn’t have highlighted organoleptic characteristics as in the previous type.
  • Lambic, instead, is a type of beer produced exclusively in the lower part of Belgium, where there are the indigenous wild yeasts like Brettanomyces bruxellensis. The fermentation of Lambic, in fact, doesn’t take place through the addition of yeast as in the former cases, but it happens thanks to the contact between air and yeasts.

Types of Ale beers

Ale beer can be Belgian and English Ales, among them we find:

  • Belgian Ale: clear or amber, fruity but certainly bitter. 5-6% alc. Vol.
  • Belgian Ale: both clear and dark, strong and full taste
  • Blanche: they hold a percentage of wheat; they are cloudy, sour, with floral and citrus notes. 5% alc. Vol.
  • Trappist: type of beer produced by the Trappist Monk, today there are 11 official Trappist beers, one of which it is Italian.
  • Dubbel: dark and malted beers, with an alcoholic volume above 7% alc. Vol.

English Ales, instead, encloses:

  • Pale Ale: amber and well hopped, strong amber and dry end. No more than 5% alc. Vol.
  • India Pale Ale: extraordinary bitter and hopped
  • Bitter: as its name shows, they are bitter beers, amber color around 5% alc. Vol.
  • Mild Ale: dark color, tending to sweet. 4% alc. Vol.
  • Stout: like coffee and dark, almost black thanks to the toasting of the malts. 5% alc. Vol.
  • Imperial Stout: an alcoholic Stout, with notes of toasted coffee.
  • Barley wine: hopped beers, slightly bitter, but well balanced, thanks to the sweetness of the malt. They reach more than 10% alc. Vol.

Types of Lager beers

  • Pils: strong notes of hop. 5% alc. Vol.
  • Helles: the malt gives the characteristic sweetness and it balances the bitter of the hop
  • Bock: dark, amber and clear, with a strong note of caramel. 6% – 7% alc. Vol.
  • Dunkel: notes of caramel or toasted malts, with a color that goes to the amber to the dark brown. Between 4,5% e 6% alc. Vol.
  • Strong Lager: style of beer with a high alcoholic content from 7 to 9% alc. Vol.

Type of Lambic beer

  • Gueuze: called Champagne di Bruxelles, this beer is produced mixing “young“ Lambic (one year) with old Lambic.
  • With the addition of fruit: kriek, produced with cherries leaved in infusion for some months, colors and cherry taste; framboise produced with raspberries; sometimes it is possible to use also peaches, grapes, or strawberries.

About the author

EFW Staff