2. The Three Types of Beer
Firstly, beers are ordered into three categories depending on fermentation:
- Lager is produced with bottom-fermenting yeast at lower temperatures which normally have a crispy, malty flavour profile. Lagern means “to store” in German since these beers were traditionally stored in underground caves and cellars to mature. Lagers should usually be drunken at a temperature between 4-7 degrees Celsius.
- Ale, on the other hand, requires top-fermenting yeast at warmer temperatures which normally have a fruity, estery flavour profile. Ales should ideally be drunken at warmer temperatures (7-13 degrees Celsius), a practice that continues in the UK. The word Ale (cognate to Lithuanian alùs and Swedish öl) used to refer to a beer brewed without hops.
- Lambic, also known as Sours, is somewhat unusual and lesser known; it is a result of spontaneous fermentation triggered by environmental bacteria and wild yeast strains. These beers are intensely sour, funky and not for the weak.
3. The Ultimate Guide to Beer Styles