Several years ago, a customer had five or six brands of beer to choose from, and you had a choice of a six pack or a twelve pack! Times have changed, and so has packaging. You may choose from a long list of beers, and many bottle and pack sizes to boot. To get you off on the right foot, and perhaps even to confuse the issue a little, beer terminology starts off our beer section.
- ALE – An aromatic brew that is usually more full-bodied and bitter than “regular” beer produced from top-fermintation.
- ALT – Old-style Dark German beer, very similar to Ale.
- BARLEY – A cereal grain converted to malt that is one of the basic ingredients of beer.
- BITTER – A bitter tasting ale.
- BOCK – A strong, dark, heavy beer originally brewed in the fall as a winter warmer.
- CIDER – Made from fermented fruit (apples, pears, etc.) and not barley and hops. Cider is much sweeter than beer and is not bitter. A plus for most romantic drinkers is the fact that it does not leave a nasty aftertaste, but a mild taste of fruit.
- CREAM ALE – Usually a blend of layered beer and Ale.
- DARK BEER – Lager beer made by using roasted barley.
- DRAFT BEER – Traditionally meant Keg beer, but now also packaged beer.
- EXTRA SPECIAL BITTER (ESB)- Full body, strong, hoppy, and amber in color.
- GLUTEN FREE – Gluten is found in many common indredients of today’s diet. Most commonly associated with Barley and Wheat, gluten is found in beer and other alcoholic beverages as well as anything made from Wheat. Gluten Free Beer is generally made from Buckwheat, sorghum, or rice (Buckwheat is a completely safe ingredient, as it is a member of the Rhubarb family and unrelated in any way to Wheat). Despite the fact these are not the traditional forms of beer making, you will be pleasently surprised to find the taste of beers made from these indredients is excellent.
- HOPS – Natural, aromatic herbs that provide the level of bitterness in beer and acts as a natural preservative.
- ICE BEER – The process of icing beer is done by bringing the temperature of a batch of beer down to at or below the freezing point of water (32°F or 0°C), the greatest constituent of beer. Because water freezes at a higher temperature than does alcohol, the water becomes frozen and the alcohol stays a liquid. Because of this, a layer of ice can be skimmed from the surface of beer (hence the name “ice” beer). This creates a concoction with a higher volume ratio of alcohol to water and therefore creating a beer with a higher alcohol content by volume.
- KEG – See our Keg Beer Tab.
- LAGER – Bottom-fermented beer that has been “lagered” (stored and aged) at near freezing for a few days to several weeks, depending upon the brewer. Most American and imported beers are lagers. Lagering improves both the taste and stability of beer.
- LIGHT BEER – Lager beer brewed to have lower levels of calories. They also generally have lower levels of alchohol.
- MALT – Spouted barley that is then kiln-dried. The type of malt determines the level of sweetness in the beer.
- MALT LIQUOR – A lager beer brewed to have high alcohol content.
- MALTERNATIVES – Malt beverages, essesitially beer, brewed and flavored. Examples are wine coolers, Smirnoff Ice, some margarita beverages among others.
- MICRO-BREW – Hand crafted, made with only traditional ingredients without chemicals. These beers are brewed and aged slowly to allow flavors to come through.
- NON-ALCHOLIC BEER – Required by law to be called “malted beverage”. They generally contain less than .5% alchohol. The alchohol is removed by interupting the fermentation cycle or through vacuum evaporation.
- PALE – Medium maltiness, high hop bitterness, and gold in color.
- PILSNER – A type of Lager beer, generally meaning light in color and relatively light in taste.
- PORTER – A style of dark beer that was popular in England two to three centuries ago. It resmebles a blend of Dark Ale and Stout.
- STOUT – A very dark type of Alt that is extremely malty in taste and slightly sweet.
- WHEAT BEER – Medium-body, cloudy or clear, fruity and spicy – low in alcohol.