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Friday
Aug172012

ABBEY ALES

 Much like the top-fermented Trappist Ales and brewed either by non-Trappist monasteries or your standard commercial brewery. Being Belgian, they’ll often use both Flemish (Abjij) and French (Abbaye) translations of “Abbey”.

They include Blonde (also called Belgian Golden Ale by some, including Duvel), Dubbel (stronger) and Tripel (stronger again) varieties.

See all abbey ales

Wednesday
Aug222012

ALE

Anything slated as an Ale is going to come from top-fermenting yeasts, discovered about 150 years ago.

Essentially the same yeasts as bakers use for bread making, these top-fermenting yeasts don't top-ferment at all. Actually, they ferment all through the beer and only rise to the top after they've munched through all the sugar there is to munch.

Brewers often then scoop the yeasts off the top (they're not dead, just full) and use them again.

See all ales 

Friday
Aug172012

ALTBIER

Commonly associated with Dusseldorf, but this top-fermented ale is usually brown and found all over the central west of Germany, in the region known as North Rhine-Westphalia.

Altbier means “old beer” and the Dusseldorfers have defied more recent German trends towards Pilsner-style brewing. Even though it’s an Ale, it’s still actually Lagered, so it has a bit of the old and a bit of the new.

Expect more fruit and less hops in the taste. Turn up in Dusseldorf in early winter and you may even find the seasonal Sticke (secret) version.

See all altbiers

Friday
Aug172012

AMBER ALE

A bit of a catch all for the middle-of-the-road top-fermented beers with middle-of-the-road flavours. Very popular with American brewers.

See all amber ales

Friday
Aug172012

BERLINER WEISSE

You have to go to Berlin to get the real deal, but that’s never a hardship. It is a sour wheat beer and is very, very fizzy and served in a chalice, to give all that gas a chance to escape. Usually quite tart and with a low alcohol percentage, it’s often sweetened by locals with shots of syrup.

See all Berliner weisse

Friday
Aug172012

BITTER

Yet another catch-all name used largely by the British for what are, in fact, Pale Ales. 

See all Bitters

Friday
Aug172012

BLONDE ALES

See Abbey Ales.

See all blonde ales

Friday
Aug172012

BOCK

Strap in. This is about to get complicated. Most places insist Bocks were born in Einbeck, in Germany’s north-east, in the 1300s but there is a flaw in the argument. As most Bocks are lagered beers (and lagering was born in Bavaria) some think Bocks began life in Bavaria.

Whatever, most Bocks are dark brown, though there is the odd pale one and a few amber ones. They usually use barleymalt, though there are brewers making Weizenbock with a mix of wheat. They are also lightly hopped, but it’s not a golden rule of Bocking.

The one absolutely defining characteristic of Bock beers is that they are stronger than the garden-variety products from the same brewer.

There are sub-Bocks, too, including Maibock (made by Bavarian brewers and released in May). It also goes by Hellerbock or Helles (pale) Bock.

Then there is Doppelbock, which is darker and higher in calories to keep Bavarian monks fat during fasting times.

There is also Eisbock, where brewers take fermented Doppelbock batches and freeze them just enough to form ice, which is then removed. The result is a meatier beer with more alcohol and richer flavours. But it’s more of a savouring beer than a session beer.

See all bocks

Friday
Aug172012

CHICHA

An acquired taste, and one Beeriosity has yet to acquire. It’s a corn beer found almost exclusively (thankfully) in the Andes in South America. Did we mention the brewers start the ball rolling by getting their workers to chew the corn into a paste, then spit it out? Somebody can let us know how this tastes, Chilean beers being hard to find and all...

See all chicha beers

Friday
Aug172012

DUNKEL

Probably the original Pilsner style and from that noted brewing hotspot of Bavaria. They are dark lager beers and though their popularity has waned, they’re still popular in their homeland and all the major breweries (even Beck’s) have a go at a Dunkel.

They are very dark without being black and brewers normally wait until the barleymalt (or wheat, in the case of Dunkelweizen) is slightly caramalised.

They are typically very smooth, very rich in their flavours and a little stronger than their lighter cousins, though not as bitter.

See all dunkels

Friday
Aug172012

FLANDERS RED

Speaking of acquired tastes, this is a spontaneously fermented beer from the north of Belgium that uses wild yeast and is usually barrel-aged. Flanders Reds can be very fruity, very vinegary and even very sour. It’s definitely not a beer you’d take to a barbecue full of people you didn’t know. Or even those you did. Take it to your ex-wife’s family.

See all Flanders reds

Monday
Dec312012

GLUTEN FREE BEERS

There are deeply unfortunate people out there (about 1% of the population) who suffer from a disease that makes them seriously unwell if they drink normal beers.

They suffer from Coeliac Disease, which means their intestines can't tolerate dietary gluten. Beer is, by its very nature, made from cereals like barley and wheat, which means it's not compatable with sufferers.

While sorghum beers have been popular in Africa for over a thousand years, they're not well known in the developed world. But they are drinkable for Coeliac sufferers.

See all gluten free beers

Friday
Aug172012

GOSE

If you’ve had one of these, you’ve almost certainly been to Leipzig in Germany. It’s a top-fermented ale made from wheat and it tastes unique. Probably because they put salt in it. And coriander. 

See all Gose

Friday
Aug172012

GRUIT ALES

Technically, it's what you get when you try to use any herb other than hops to brew your Ale.

See all gruit ales

Friday
Aug172012

GUEUZE

Looks like champagne and tastes like champagne (a bit). An acquired taste from Belgium.

See all gueuze

Friday
Aug172012

HEFEWEIZEN

Bavaria’s favourite wheat beer style. It’s cloudy, because it’s unfiltered and the cloudiness is all the dead yeast cells milling around in it.

Gives a fluffy head and keeps it for ages.

Still, like all wheat beers, it's not quite what it seems. Hardly any of them use wheat as even 50% of their mix (most use less than 30%), so barleymalt is still the biggest contributor.

See all hefeweizen

Friday
Aug172012

HELLES

"Helles" translates to "light" from German and refers to the colour of the beer, rather than the taste or alcohol content. And it's called "light" to distinguish it from the original brew of Bavaria, which were darker dunkels and schwarzbiers.

Very similar to pilsners, so see Pilsner.

See all helles

Friday
Aug172012

IPA

Indian Pale Ale. Not, as the name suggests, from India. It is, however, for India. It’s actually English and was invented in London’s east end and the seriously strong hoppiness of it is actually intentional, because the hops kept the beer alive and clean and drinkable after a long journey by sea and hot, hot, hot Indian summers.

These days, it’s hard to be considered a serious brewer without an IPA on the books. Unless you’re German.

See all IPAs

Friday
Aug172012

KELLERBIER

Northern Bavaria’s dark lager beer style, characterized by being stored in wooden barrels. Open wooden barrels, too, so the CO2 can escape. Lots of people don’t like them, because they come out flat and cloudy. In its home region, it’s served in ceramic beer mugs, presumably so you can’t see how shite it looks. Any carbonation is added after the fermentation has finished. 

See all kellerbier

Friday
Aug172012

KOLSCH

A strictly Cologne style of German beer (by law, actually), though that hasn't stopped American and Australian brewers doing their own versions. Top fermented like a lager beer but it’s not a lager beer. It’s its own style. 

See all Kolsch beers