Beer is one of the oldest beverages in the history of mankind. It has been a part of civilization since the very beginning. In fact, Egyptian laborers were actually paid in beer for their labor constructing the pyramids. Beer was as good as money for them. In the Middle Ages people survived by drinking beer, because the brewing process killed the bacteria found in their polluted water supply. Beer has been an important part of the development of the human race, and it is still very important to us today.
These days the wide varieties of beer from around the world are outstanding. The explosion of craft brewers in the United States over the last 20 years has helped to fuel the fire, giving people the choice of drinking quality beer instead of the boring, watery lagers that were the only type of beer available in the US for many years.
Now there are so many types of specialty beers available that it can make a beer drinker’s head spin before they ever take a sip. There is no need to be intimidated by the multitude of styles of beer available. Simply refer to this handy guide to beer.
Ale or Lager?
Almost every kind of beer in the world falls into one of two basic categories, ale or lager. The biggest difference between the two categories is the type of yeast involved. Ale yeasts ferment the beer at a higher temperature, and they are generally less aggressive than lager yeasts. Lager yeasts ferment the beer at a lower temperature, and they tend to be more active. The more active lager yeasts are the main reason that ales tend to be sweeter and more flavorful than lagers.
Both lagers and ales are usually aged for a few weeks after the fermentation process, but there is again a difference in temperatures. The ales are aged somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-55 degrees Fahrenheit, while lagers are aged at a cooler 32-45 degrees Fahrenheit.
This temperature difference is maintained all the way to the drinker’s palate. Lagers are generally considered to be better served as cold as possible, while most ales are considered to be best when served in the range of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The most common ales are, pale ales, India pale ales, porters, stouts and wheat beers. The three most common lagers are pilsners, bocks and Oktoberfests. The pilsner beer is the style of beer that dominates the beer market with brands like Bud, Coors and Miller.
Taste Beer from Around the World
One of the most enjoyable ways to learn more about beer is to take a World Beer Tour at B.Merrell’s. B.Merrell’s is proud to serve one of the widest beer selections found anywhere. They have hundreds of beers available from around the world. Having the ability to sample different types of beer in the same place is a great way to learn the differences between styles.
As enjoyable as it is to drink the beer during the learning process, B.Merrell’s has managed to add even more enjoyment to the process. Their World Beer Tour offers voyagers prizes along the journey. Every beer on the menu is considered to be a stop on the tour. Those who make 35 stops receive a mug or a sipper cup. At seventy stops the beer drinker earns a golf towel or a six-pack cooler. At 100 beer stops travelers earn the choice of a gym bag or a baseball cap. The ultimate prize is entry into the Hall of Foam with 130 stops. Anyone that makes it into the Hall of Foam will get a T-shirt, his or her name engraved on the Hall of Foam plaque and a picture on the wall.