Monday, April 21, 2014

There’s a Beer for Every Palate

Another Inside Howell Magazine article written by yours truly! This article was for the April edition. We wrote about different beer styles and flavors and we couldn’t stop writing so they gave us two pages of the magazine to talk about beer and share some photos!

You can find the article on page 18 and 19 of the Inside Howell magazine online here
(or read it below):
 

 

Here is how the article read:

“Most people are overwhelmed when they see a long beer tap list or multiple aisles of beer choices at Meijer if they have never tried craft beer before. What is craft beer you ask?! The Brewers Association defines craft beer as beer that comes from a small company, is independent from large conglomerates, and uses traditional brewing standards.

The hard part about introducing someone to craft beer is if they have tasted one beer and decide they don’t like beer at all. I always say there is a beer for everyone; you just have to find the right style! You can’t be afraid to try something new though!

Beer does not come in just one flavor, color, and style. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, there are over 70 different styles of beer ranging from very light and low in flavor, to very dark and sweet, to fruity, to bitter, to sour. All small breweries in the US are dabbling with this entire range of styles, and most breweries try to have the largest variety on tap as possible. It’s no wonder choosing the right style for you can be baffling!

If you are looking to drink something on the lighter side then some good styles to try are Kölsch, blonde ale, pilsner, and lager. Lagers are generally the cleanest tasting of the bunch because they are fermented cold. Not all breweries make lagers because they take a long time to ferment are very difficult to perfect. You will find the Kölsch style in a lot of breweries as this tends to be close to the flavor of a traditional American lager, but a Kölsch has slightly more fruit and malt character. Pilsners and blonde ales will be slightly more bitter and have more hop character than Kölsch and traditional lagers.

If you find yourself liking Blue Moon, then try any other wheat beer. Many people find a wheat ale to be their “gateway into craft beer” because it is refreshing and flavorful. In fact, my “gateway” was a wheat ale, Bell’s Oberon. I even named my two cats after the beer (Bell and Oberon)!

What if you desire a slightly sweeter drink? If you are not afraid to try darker beers, then other great choices are English mild or brown. Yep, the beer is brown in color, but it is generally friendly to your palate with a few hints of toasted malt character, low on the hops, and a bit sweeter.

Let’s say you normally like to drink a sweet wine. Did you know there is a beer style called an English Barleywine? This style is sweet and smooth. It has a lot of roasted malt character, a thicker mouthfeel, and is high in alcohol content so it is meant to be a “sipper” beer. If it has been aged well you will get a “vinous” character in the aroma and flavor.

Other times when people think they only like wine, they tend to find that they like sour beers. Yes, in fact, the flavor profile of a sour beer includes sour notes like acetic or lactic. These beers will sometimes have a fruity flavor to them since the fruit flavors go well with the sour character. Imagine drinking a kiwi or some other bright citrus fruit!

Once my husband and I got into brewing we kept having my mom try each batch. We kept notes on which beers she seemed to enjoy and which ones she just “tolerated”. We were really excited when we were able to help her understand that the styles she likes are stouts and porters. This means she likes dark, sweeter ales with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and deep roasted notes in the aroma and flavor. Now she knows how to order her beer at any brewery or bar she goes into.

I purposefully saved the American pale ale and American IPA style for last. These styles are “hoppy” and bitter. They are crammed with fruity, citrusy, grassy, piney, spicy, and/or herbal aromas and flavors from the extra doses of hops. The American IPA style sells out the fastest at most breweries.

There are many styles of beer for many different palates. You just have to know your own palate. So give them a try! You may not like all of the styles, but you may just find one that you fall in love with!”