The craft beer boom a few years ago drove tremendous interest in learning about different kinds of beer, stylistic differences, ingredients and every aspect of the brewing process. Whether you’re a beer novice just starting your journey into the category, or an aficionado who wants a refresher course, here’s a sample of our Beer Terminology Guide.
Ale: A type of beer brewed with yeast strains that ferment at warmer temperatures. These strains are called top-fermenting yeasts, because their metabolic process takes place near the top of the fermentation vessel. These yeast types impart ales with fruity or spicy flavors, compared to lager’s emphasis on clean, crisp flavors, and are sometimes served warmer than lagers.
Belgian: A traditional ale, high in flavor and complexity, ranging in style from dark to light. Refers to recipes first written thousands of years ago by Old World brewers, many in Belgium, including Trappist monks who brewed this style in their abbeys.
Cascade Hops: The most widely used brewing hops in America. High in floral aroma and citric, fruity flavor. Developed in 1971 at Oregon State University, these are common in American Pale Ales.
Double IPA: These beers are brewed with significantly more hops. To balance the bitterness that creates, Double IPAs frequently include more malts and a greater alcohol content—often more than 6% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Hefeweizen: A German wheat beer, roughly translated as “with yeast and wheat.” These beers have a yeasty, banana taste, often with spicy and vanilla notes. They’re unfiltered and cloudy in appearance, with a pale to light-amber color.
Pilsner: The most common beer style worldwide. Pale lagers that are often crisp, clear, low ABV and light bodied. The name derives from Pilsen, a city in Czech Republic where the style originated in 1842.
Session Beer: A beer with lower ABV and lighter body that allows one to more easily consume greater volume in a single session of drinking.
Witbier: A white beer—or witbier—is a wheat-heavy ale descended from Medieval era Belgium and The Netherlands. Unfiltered with bits of yeast and wheat purposely left floating in the beer. Spiced with coriander, orange or other light flavors. Often served with an orange slice.