Craft Beer has it's own language and while you don't have to speak it to enjoy our beers, this list is intended to help you understand a few common terms. Now go forth, discuss and enjoy.
Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) The most common way of measuring the strength of a beer. ABV=ABW * 1.25.
Alcohol by Weight (ABW)
A measurement of the alcohol content of a solution in terms of the percentage weight of alcohol per volume of beer. For example: 3.2 percent alcohol by weight equals 3.2 grams of alcohol per 100 centiliters of beer. This measure is always lower than Alcohol by Volume.
Ale (top fermentation yeasts)
By far the oldest of the two types of beer, ale production can be traced back more than 5000 years. Ales are sweet, tasty beers. They come in different color shades ranging from pale gold to shady, rich brown color based on the grains applied in the brewing procedure.
Amber Ale – Belongs under the Belgian Ale. They are sweeter due to their excess malt. Additionally, they are dark in color thus their first name ‘amber’. Popular types of amber ales include Fat Tire Amber Ale and Budweiser American Ale.
Pale Ale – It is a light-colored alcoholic drink that is full of malt and hops. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a popular example of pale Ale.
Bitter - Falls under Pale Ales. It contains hops that give it a pleasant aroma. A good example is Forster’s Special Bitter.
India Pale Ale (IPA) – Falls under the branch of Pale Ale. This hoppy flavor comes across as golden or darker in color and has a bitter scent and taste.
Irish Ale – It is deeply red in color and has a sweet, malty taste. A popular example of Irish Ale is Killian’s Irish Red.
Barley Wine – It ranges amber to darker shades of black. It is a very fruity and flavorful beer but with a high alcoholic content.
Stouts - these beers fall under the branch of Dark Ale. They are set apart from the rest with the use of malt-free, dark-roasted barley, minimal hops, and sweet, chocolate scents. Stouts come in various types including chocolate, coffee, dry, oatmeal, milk, oyster and Imperial stouts. The most renowned dry stout is Guinness with a minimal sweet taste.
Porter - this is a type of extremely Dark Ale, brewed from heavy-roasted malt. It is medium-bodied and has a crisp taste. Jack Porter is a famous example of Porter.
Wheat Beer – also known by names like weissbier or hefeweizen, is a refreshing beer, pale-colored and very carbonated. In-heat wheat is a well-known wheat beer.
A jug- or pail-like container once used to carry draft beer bought by the measure at the local tavern. Growlers are usually ½ gal (64 oz) or 2L (68 oz) in volume and made of glass. Brewpubs often serve growlers to sell beer to-go. Often a customer will pay a deposit on the growler but can bring it back again and again for a re-fill. Growlers to-go are not legal in all U.S. states.
According to the Brewers Association, an American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional.
Small: Annual production of beer less than 6 million barrels.
Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.
Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.
Lagers (bottom fermentation yeasts)
Larger is well-known for its crisp, filtered taste due to its fermentation process where yeast settles at the bottom without necessarily floating to the surface. Lagers under a low-temperature fermenting process that result in the beer having a smoother flavor.
Bock – It is a tasty, dark lager with origins in Germany. Bocks do vary from malty-flavored lagers to darker, hoppy-flavored bocks, popularly referred to as Helles bocks. Two common examples of bocks are Shiner Bock and Michelob Amber Bock.
Dunkel – lager is the premier variety of German lager beer. It is dark in color with a modest alcoholic strength and tastes often suggestive of chocolate, coffee and licorice.
Marzen – also known as Oktoberfest beer, traces its roots in Munich. It is full-bodied and dark brown in color. A popular type of Marzen beer is Samuel Adams Octoberfest.
Pale Lager – They are popular types of alcoholic drinks worldwide. They are straw-colored; contain a malty taste besides being filtered and crisp. They are very carbonated though lacking high alcohol content. Pilsner lagers are prime examples of pale lager.
Munich Dark Pale – traces its origins in Munich. It is a dark lager with fiery blend of malt and coffee taste.
DoppleBock – a stronger version compared to Bock. It is full-bodied and malty. It is typically dark with increased caramel as well as chocolate malts.