The Cheat Sheet to Beer: Part 1
Ah, beer. The golden nectar of the gods. The sweet elixir of life. The social lubricant of choice.
Beer is what makes or breaks a good party. Without the smooth taste of beer, you might as well be throwing a punch at your guests instead of a party. That’s exactly how important beer is. But what do you really know about beer besides the fact that it comes in cans and bottles and can be served in mugs? Here’s a cheat sheet that you can use to impress your friends and potential mates. Wow them with your knowledge of the most beloved of alcoholic beverages and revel in their pure, unadulterated awe.
A beer with American and French origins, the Amber Ale (otherwise known as Amber or Red Ale) is essentially a Pale Ale made with some more highly-roasted malts. Amber Ales are known to be sweeter than Pilsners or Pale Ales, and tastes glorious with seafood. So the next time your date asks for a seared salmon steak, confidently tell him or her that nothing washes down that beautiful taste of fish like an Amber Ale.
Besides sounding like it belongs in a Harry Potter book, Barleywine is a very strong ale with its origins in jolly old England. Although not a wine at all, Barleywine is named as such because it should be sipped and savoured slowly like a good wine. It is usually flavoured with lots of hops and carries with it the sweet taste of caramel maltiness. The Barleywines are very strong, and should be paired with spicy, heavy, or gamey food. But don’t play games with your food. That’s not cool.
Belgian Dark Ale
The name of this beer tells you what it is. It’s a Dark Ale from Belgium. However, the Belgian Dark Ales actually ranges from dry and spicy to sweet and malty, so they are actually quite hard to pin down in terms of taste.
The Belgian Dubbels are Trappist ales made using double the malts of a “Simple” Abbey ale. They are rich and malty with dark fruits on the palate. They also tend to have a lot of carbonation. What’s a Trappist ale, you ask? It’s ale brewed by Trappist monks from a Trappist monastery. Eight monasteries in the world, six in Belgium, one in the Netherlands and one in Austria, currently brew beer. Nothing says a truly divine beer like one made by monks.
Belgian Pale Ale
These feature delicate flavours, a lovely golden yellow colour similar to Pilsners and are less filled with hops.
Belgian Strong Dark Ale
This is a very complex style that tends to be fruity and malty in taste. Like its name, we have very little to say about it except that it is a strong, dark and handsome ale. Not to be mistaken with a strong, dark and handsome Al.
Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Golden in colour, rich, full bodied and spicy in flavour, these beers pour with huge fluffy white head which has to be seen, and tasted, to be believed.
Another Trappist-styled beer, the Belgian Trippel gets its name from using triple the malt of a “Simple” Abbey Ale. Slightly darker than a Pilsner but still golden yellow in colour, they have a huge fluffy head. The taste of a Belgian Trippel is complex, with a hint of spice and sweetness following into the aroma. Interestingly, candy sugar is used for a lighter body. Ranging from 8%-12% ABV, or Alcohol by Volume, the Belgian Trippels are quite strong.
Stay tuned for the Part 2 next week!