It’s safe to say that craft brewing has gained a significant foothold in Canada today, and for that we say THANK GOODNESS! After all, with new breweries popping up all the time, we have the opportunity to try new beers whenever the mood strikes us.
With a newly-found appreciation for beer comes the need to acquire a whole new vocabulary. To help you get started, here is a primer on different types of beer and how they’re made.
The Differences Between Ale and Lager Beers
Any beer education must start with understanding different types of beer. This list will help you get started on building your beer vocabulary by explaining the difference between Ales and Lagers.
- Ale: Ales are a type of beer made with a top-fermenting yeast in warm temperatures. The results are generally on the sweet side, though there are certainly exceptions to the rule. There are many different types of beers, enjoyed all over the world, that are part of the ale family.
- Porters & Stouts: Stout is a dark beer in the ale family that gets its hallmark colour from roasting the barley or malt first before adding hops, water, and yeast. Though you’d think these dark beers are bitter at first glance, they’re usually described as smooth and creamy. Porters are also an ale variant, and they’re often as dark as a stout. The key difference is the kind of malt that is used in brewing.
- Lager: The beer you’re most familiar with is probably a lager. The main difference between ale and lager is that lagers (pilsner, bock, Octoberfest) are brewed in cold temperatures and with different yeast. They’re often described as lighter-tasting than ales and are generally served at colder
- Lagered–Ale: Just when you think you have it all figured out, hybrid terms like lagared ale come along to make a mess of things. It’s actually pretty simple, lagered ale means the beer has been fermented in a warmer environment like an ale, but dry-hopped at a cold temperature like a lager.
If you have any questions about how to tweak your homebrew recipe to help it turn out more like your favourite craft beer, give us a call. As you might have guessed, we love to talk about beer, and we’re happy to help you with your brewing experiment – as long as you’re willing to share the results!