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“If you’ve been drinking nothing but Budweiser, Molson Canadian, Labatts Blue, Kokanee or any of the other more common beers since you were knee high to a grasshopper, then there is a whole new world of beers out there to explore!
Even if you don’t think those “fancy beers” are your forte, it doesn’t hurt to learn a little about the differences”
The new American classic. Ever had a Budweiser? Ever go to a party in college? Congratulations sir or madam, you’ve had a lager. This pale brew is incredibly common, from the Bud mentioned earlier to PBR to Coors and everything in between. Surprisingly, this lightly flavored beer is difficult to brew. Like most liquors, the hardest thing to do is remove the flavors and make it as smooth as possible, and it’s no different for lagers.
Pale lagers are a relatively recent innovation, stemming from the increased demand for craft brews. The hops come through more than in a traditional lager, as does the carbonation. Perfect for the summer, this fizzy and light lager should have a permanent home in the drink holder on your lawn mower, dad.
This is like a compromise between an ale and a lager. A little more flavor but not nearly as heavy as their ale cousins, a dark lager has a mild taste with a little more carbonation. They’re similar to bocks, and if you want a little more flavor or a lager that’s a little more interesting but without taking the ale train to flavor-town, dark lagers are definitely one of the beer styles worth checking out.
Bocks are the light dark beer. Light in flavor, with an emphasis on the maltiness, but with a caramel dark color. This is a great end of the day beer, and it goes down easy with just a hint of sweetness. Like all lagers, this is best when it’s ice cold.
Wheat beers make for a great entry point for novices when exploring beer styles. They make a good entry point because the prevalence of the wheat in the flavors make them sweet and crisp. Remember how lagers are best when they’re ice cold? Similar story with wheats. They often have a fruity taste to them, and a slightly lower alcohol content, which makes them the perfect beverage on a sunny summer afternoon.
Once you’ve graduated from lagers, or if you just want something a little different, you’ll want to find yourself a good ale. The problem is that there are seemingly infinite possibilities ensconced under that boozy umbrella.
It’s helpful to divide them by flavors. You have your hoppy ales and your malty ales. If you like strong flavors, that could be bitter or floral, you’ll go with hoppy. On to pale ales for you friend. If you like something a little heavier and smoother, go with the darker, maltier ales. Stouts, porters, ambers, and browns are for you. If you like something a little sweeter, but still with a hop profile, check out the wheats and Belgians. If you’re really bold, and want something totally different, go with a sour.
The term “pale ale” is a bit of a misnomer. Pale connotes bland or flavorless, and these hoppy beasts are anything but. The term actually comes from the 1700s, when beers were dark and heavy. Pale ales were relatively pale at the time. Their flavor ranges from a mild bitter to a wildly complex floral hop flavor.
Ambers reside in a no man’s land between lagers and ales. They have the mild flavor of a lager, but are a little bit thicker, with a malt flavor, similar to a darker ale. The term amber comes from the color, achieved with an amber malt. It’s a nice balance of malt and hops, perfect for someone venturing into ales for the first time.
Similar to amber ales, brown ales have a deeper brown color and a mild flavor. They feature a mild flavor with a similarly mild bitterness. It’s popular in Great Britain, where it originated, but has taken on a new life with U.S. craft brewers. It’s easy to drink, and the lower alcohol content than similar beers means you can enjoy the flavorful brew without getting too silly.
This is a deeper brown ale with a complex flavor. It’s another British innovation, originating, it’s thought, in the 1700s, branching off of the original stout. It gained popularity in World War 2 when rationing caused brewers to change their recipes. The resulting porter was immediately popular and was brought across the pond. It’s a fantastic winter beer, thick and flavorful. Be careful though; this heavy beer will weigh you down with a little extra around the middle.
Trust Us, You Have To Taste These Beers…
Since 1873, Coors Banquet has been brewed in Golden, Colorado with 100% Rocky Mountain water and high country barley. Coors Banquet made its much-anticipated debut here in Canada in 2014. Beer drinkers across the nation welcomed this legendary beer with arms wide open.
Fernie Brewing Co.
Brewed with love in the Kootenays, Fernie Brewing Companies award-winning brewery takes no shortcuts. They use premium 2-row barley malt and European Hops. And let their Ales age to perfection. They use no fillers, adjuncts or preservatives. The result is delicious & refreshing brews.
Limb From Limb
Victoria BC's Driftwood Brewery has released another IPA, this one of the Rye IPA variety. Born of Canadian malted rye and Lumberjack hops, Limb from Limb RyePA blends warming malt notes with the melon, clove and allspice profile of this distinct BC grown hop variety.