ABV – 3.2 – 6%
IBUs – 5-25
SRM – 2-6
Tasting Notes: This very pale lager should have only the faintest hints of hops, if any at all. It should be crisp, clean-tasting, and can have a small amount of sweetness.
Food Pairing Suggestions: This really isn’t a beer to pair with food in order to taste/compliment the beer, as there’s very little TO taste. That being said, American lagers’ crispness can be an excellent compliment to fatty foods like barbecue or pizza because they cut through the thicker mouthfeel of the food.
Ideal Glass Choice: A nice pilsner glass will emphasize the light, fizzy nature of the beer.
The beer America is known for: yellow, highly carbonated, served as cold as possible, and almost flavorless. Amazingly, or sadly, American lagers are the best selling beers in the world. Easy drinking and inoffensive, these beers are not “bad,” as many a beer snob will opine. They’re simply bland and mediocre.
Despite being inspired by German Pilsner beers, American lagers are an ocean apart from their European counterparts. In fact, the only real similarity between the two lies in the color, with none rising above 6 SRM. German Pilsners like Pilsner Urquell are complex, faintly hoppy, and do well in the “warm beer” test … which is why Europeans don’t mind warm beers. Try drinking a warm Bud/Miller/Coors and learn just how critical it is that those Rocky Mountains are blue on the cold-activated can. Read more
ABV – 4-8%
IBUs – 20-75
SRM – 22-40
Tasting Notes: Dark brown to completely opaque black, stouts always look intimidating to the average beer drinker, but can actually be fairly light on the tongue. While often smacking of roasted flavors like chocolate or coffee, stouts can actually be quite sweet and occasionally vaguely hoppy (depending on the style).
Food Pairing Suggestions: Stouts’ deep flavors are excellent dance partners with spicy and rich foods like creamy pastas, barbecue, and roasted dishes like tandoori chicken.
Ideal Glass Choices: While we always love a good tulip glass and think they go great with stouts, the English tulip pint is also a solid choice.
*Please note: This geek info does not include imperial stouts, which are described below.
Black as midnight in the Irish countryside on a moonless, cloudy night while wearing sunglasses, stouts are to beer what a fine French roast coffee is to tea. Dark, powerful, pungent brews, stouts’ aroma and appearance often belie a smooth drinkability that typically puts at least one stout near the top of any beer connoisseur’s favorite brews list.
Almost everyone thinks of Guinness when they think of stout beer, but Guinness’s fine brew is nearly the Budweiser of stout beers … simple, popular, consistent, but ultimately a mild comparison to others in the field. What most don’t know is that Guinness is simply one example of one branch of stouts – Irish dry stout. Other common varieties of stouts include the sweet (or milk) stout, oatmeal stout, foreign/extra stout, American stout, and the Kraken of the genre: imperial stout. Read more
ABV – 5-10+%
IBUs – 40-100+
SRM – 6-15
Tasting Notes: Typically, light-colored, with a small but persistent head. One of the more aromatic beers, IPAs have scents that range from citrusy to piney, from earthy to resinous.
Food Pairing Suggestions: Unless you have a milder IPA like Harpoon’s brilliantly drinkable brew, IPAs can be difficult to pair with foods because of their overwhelming hop character. That being said, they usually go well with burgers and grilled meats. IPAs can also be excellent companions (when thoughtfully considered) to spicy foods like Indian or Thai.
Ideal Glass Choices: Tulips
are ideal. Imperials also do well in snifters
are good if your intent is to drink vast quantities of beer.
India Pale Ales, or IPAs, are like your your quick-witted buddy from school who always has a sarcastic zinger AND your back in any battle – they keep you on your toes, and keep you coming back for more.
Always hoppy, often bitter, usually sharp-tasting, and occasionally tongue-punching, IPAs are the current kings of American craft brewing. Just about every brewery has at least one in their lineup, and they made up 11.2% of craft beer sales in 2011 (up 2%) and may very well overtake pale ales as the top beer style when the 2012 numbers come out.
There are three basic types of IPAs: English IPAs, American IPAs, and Imperial IPAs (in order from mild to powerful). Read more