Beer Guide Beer Guide He was a wise man who invented beer - Plato

printPrint Guide

1

The beginnings of beer predate recorded history. How do we know? We just do. It's beer.

Integrated with mythology and discovered independently by most ancient civilizations, the earliest records we do have tell us that beer has been heartily appreciated for as long as it's been talked about and brewing it has been deemed a most serious and important job. Very little, if anything, has changed.

Beer styles fall into two major categories based on the type of fermentation: top (Ales) and bottom (Lagers). There are a number of sub-categories that fall under these two main styles, with variations in maltiness, hoppiness, carbonation, color, etc. Some of the nuances are elegant and subtle, while others harsh your palate into submission. Discovering them is fun. And that’s why we’ve put together this brief overview of beer styles and suggested food pairings to whet your palate for the exploration of lifetimes: Beer.

On Enjoying Beer

  • Do not drink beer too cold, if you really want to taste it. Let your brew warm up to 45-50º F.
  • There are times when drinking out of the bottle is the only option - by all means. But in order to enjoy the full character of a beer - color, aroma, head formation and taste - pour it in a glass.
  • Foam mustaches are fun, but not necessarily fitting. So stick your fingers in it. Seriously. Fatty acids on your fingers will cut runaway foam.
  • In order to protect freshness and taste, do not store beer above 80º for an extended period of time.
dancing man image

Ale

Ale is a category of alcoholic beverage (now largely synonymous with beer) brewed from hops and barley malt using top-fermented yeast. It is generally processed at higher temperatures than lager beer and is typically stronger with more pronounced bitter flavor because of the hops.

Style Alc.
Levels
Balance Profile Food Pairing
Pale Ale
4-7%

Maltiness
3/5

Hoppiness
3/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Deep golden to copper in color, Pale Ales boast malty sweetness balanced by hoppy bitterness.

Shepherd's Pie; Burgers

Cheese: Cheddar; Camembert; Stilton

The guide continues...

 

2

Ale (Continued...)

Style Alc.
Levels
Balance Profile Food Pairing
India Pale Ale
(IPA)
5-7.5%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
4/5

Alc. Level
4/5

Light amber to copper in color, IPAs have a markedly hoppy aroma and flavor with ample maltiness.

Curries; Tikka Masala; Carrot Cake; Crème Brûlée

Cheese: Gorgonzola; Cambozola

Blonde Ale
4-7%

Maltiness
3/5

Hoppiness
3/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Pale straw to rich gold in color, Blonde/Golden Ales have a smooth, malty sweetness with balanced bitterness on the palate. They are crisp and dry.

Chicken; Salads; Bratwurst; Salmon

Cheese: Queso Fresco; Monterey Jack; Pepper Jack

Brown Ale
4-8%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
3/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Deep amber to dark brown in color, Brown Ales are malty, balanced with hints of caramel and chocolate with light to medium hop presence.

Pork Florentine; Sausages with Peppers; Grilled Salmon; Chicken Satay; Pecan Pie

Cheeses: Aged Gouda; Aged Cheddar; Colby

American Pale
Wheat Ale
5-7.5%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
3/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Pale straw to golden in color, American Pale Wheat Ales have hop character that ranges from low to high, but generally with moderate bitterness. They’re refreshing and slightly tart with citrus aromas.

Seafood (Seared Scallops, Sauteed Shrimp); Sushi; Grilled Vegetable or Chicken

Cheese: Buffalo Mozzarella

The guide continues...

 

3

Ale (Continued...)

Style Alc.
Levels
Balance Profile Food Pairing
Dark Wheat Ale
(Dunkel Weizen)
4-7%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
2/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Brown to garnet in color, Dark Wheat Ales are often cloudy with flavors of caramel and toasted malt. In some European versions, banana notes are prevalent.

Substantial Salads; Roasted Chicken; Roasted Pork; Sausages

Cheese: Chevre; Smoked Gouda Pepper Jack

Amber/Red Ale
4-7%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
3/5

Alc. Level
3/5

From amber to deep red in color, Amber Ales tend to focus on malts with toasted, sweet caramel notes and citrusy aromas. They generally have a smooth finish.

Chicken; Seafood; Burgers; BBQ Ribs; Spicy Dishes

Cheese: Feta; Port-Salut; Sharp Cheddar

Hefeweizen 4-7%

Maltiness
2/5

Hoppiness
2/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Gold to amber with a cloudy appearance, Hefeweizens are unfiltered, lightly hopped, lightly malted, and the yeast produces unique flavors and aromas of bananas and cloves.

Weisswurst (White Sausages); Cured Meats; Salads; Sushi; Seafood

Cheese: Goat's Milk Chevre or Feta; Edam

Belgian Style
Witbier
4-7%

Maltiness
2/5

Hoppiness
2/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Pale gold in color, Belgian Style Witbier is unfiltered ale with orange and other citrus flavors. It's always spiced, generally with coriander and orange peel, and has a crisp and tangy finish.

Seafood (Linguine with Clams, Steamed Mussels); Salads with Goat Cheese & Citrus Dressings

Cheese: Feta; Herb Spreads; Mascarpone

The guide continues...

 

4

Ale (Continued...)

Style Alc.
Levels
Balance Profile Food Pairing
Extra Special/
Strong Bitter
(ESB)
4-7%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
4/5

Alc. Level
3/5

From golden straw to dark amber, ESBs boast a malty sweetness with toasted and fruity accents balanced by hoppy bitterness.

Roast Chicken; Pork; BBQ Meats; Battered Fish

Cheese: Brie; Gouda; Havarti; Asiago

Oatmeal Stout 4-7%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
4/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Dark chocolate colored, Oatmeal Stouts are medium- to full-bodied with an unreal smoothness and sweetness from the addition of oats and mash. Malt and hop character varies, but chocolate and coffee flavors are prevalent.

Barbecued Beef; Corned Beef; Mussels; Clams

Cheese: Dubliner, Brie, Gouda, Swiss

Fruit Lambic 3-7%

Maltiness
2/5

Hoppiness
2/5

Alc. Level
2/5

Golden amber to dark cherry in color (depends on fruit used for secondary fermentation), Fruit Lambics have low malt and hop characters that allow the fruit to consume the palate.

Aperitif; Salads; Chocolate Desserts; Cherry Pies; Banana Fritters

Cheese: Camembert; Stilton with Apricots

The guide continues...

 

5

Lager

From the German word lagern, which means "to rest," these are aged beers. They are bottom fermented (i.e. left to rest until the sediment from fermentation has settled). Then they are carbonated and bottled. A sparkling, effervescent brew, Lagers are best served chilled.

Style Alc.
Levels
Balance Profile Food Pairing
Lager
4-6%

Maltiness
2/5

Hoppiness
2/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Light gold to straw in color, Lagers have low hops and malt characteristics that are well balanced with a crisp, dry finish.

Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Taquitos, Cod

Cheese: Pepper Jack

Light Lager 2.5-5%

Maltiness
1/5

Hoppiness
1/5

Alc. Level
2/5

Lightly golden in color, Light Lagers are the typical "thirstquenching refresher." They have low malt and hop flavors and a light, dry body

Tom Yam Soup; Spring Rolls; Salads

Cheese: Pepper Jack

Vienna Lager 3.5-6.5%

Maltiness
2/5

Hoppiness
2/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Reddish brown or copper in color, Vienna Lagers are medium-bodied with subtle hops and mild malt characteristics. The finish is crisp with slight residual maltiness.

Enchiladas, Tacos, Pizza, Sausages, Chicken

Cheese: Pepper Jack

The guide continues...

 

6

Lager (Continued...)

Style Alc.
Levels
Balance Profile Food Pairing
Amber/Dark
Lager
4-6%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
3/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Amber to dark brown in color, Amber Lagers boast a malty sweetness that is well balanced with low, dry hoppiness.

Margherita Pizza; Pasta with Marinara or Sundried Tomatoes; Lasagna; Grilled Chicken

Cheese: White Cheddar; Jack

Pilsner
4.5-5%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
3/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Very light straw to golden in color, Pilsners have pronounced spicy herbal or floral aromas (can feel harsh on the palate). Their finish has a citrus-y, zest-hop bitterness.

Chicken; Salads; Salmon; Tuna

Cheese: Pepper Jack; Mild White Cheddar

California
Common/
Steam Beer
4-6%

Maltiness
3/5

Hoppiness
3/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Light amber to tawny in color, Common/Steam beers are mediumbodied with mild malty character, subtle fruitiness and assertive hop bitterness.

BBQ; Roast Pork; Chicken; Shellfish

Cheese: Sharp Cheddar; Edam; Blues

The guide continues...

 

7

Lager (Continued...)

Style Alc.
Levels
Balance Profile Food Pairing
Oktoberfest/
Märzen
4-7%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
2/5

Alc. Level
3/5

Dark copper in color, Märzen are full-bodied, mildly hopped and boast complex malty character with rich and toasty notes.

Roasted Chicken, Sausages, Pork, Enchiladas

Cheese: Pepper Jack

Bock
5.5-7.5%

Maltiness
4/5

Hoppiness
3/5

Alc. Level
4/5

Dark amber to brown in color, Bocks are stronger than your typical lager. They express robust malt character with assertive hop bitterness that balances, but does not get in the way. They have rich, sweet caramel and warm, toasty flavors.

Slow Roasted Pork; Sausages; Cold Cuts

Cheese: Camambert; Fontina

TJ's Handy Product Guides

    The finest quality ingredients. This means:

  • NO synthetic colors
  • NO artificial flavors or preservatives
  • NO genetically modified ingredients
  • NO MSG
  • NO added Trans Fats