Category: Style

The whipping boy of beer styles

American brewers who dabble in wheat must feel some days like William Murray.


William Murray – a mostly forgettable character from 17th-century England who had the somewhat bad luck of being the boyhood pal of Charles I. It was Charles’ father, King James I, who devised the philosophy of the “divine right of kings.”

“The state of monarchy,” James … Read the rest

A brief session on session beers

“I will make it felony to drink small beer.” – Henry IV, Part 2.


If he had his way, Shakespeare – or at least his memorable character, Jack Cade, who declared his contempt for weak beer (and lawyers) – would be filing criminal charges on the first-ever Session Beer Day this Saturday.

The day is intended as a nationwide … Read the rest

A wheat beer that’s perfectly clear

Kristall weiss: A filtered version of hefeweizen.

IF THAT DEFINITION doesn’t just make your skin crawl, well, you are a cold, heartless turtle. Why would anyone intentionally take one of the world’s most-treasured beer styles – a variety whose unique beauty is in its murky, unfiltered body – and intentionally “cleanse” it?

It’s as if a brewery imagined that it … Read the rest

Love that imperial stout? We owe it all to Sophia

WHERE WOULD lovers of the world’s strongest, darkest beers be without a thin, pale German teenager named Sophia Augusta Frederica?

One of the great chapters of brewing history might not exist. There’d be no stouts named Old Rasputin or The Czar or Ivan the Terrible.

On the upside, the tiresome debate over whether to call it “double” or “imperial” IPA … Read the rest

IPAs in black and white

BLACK IPAs are so 2011.

Last year’s hot new style, which exploded in popularity before beer gurus could even settle on a proper name (Cascadian Dark Ale? American Black Ale?), is already getting shoved to the side by a new crop of India pale ales.

Would you believe white IPA?

OK, you saw that one coming – so, how about … Read the rest

Crassly adored malt liquor

“MINIMAL TASTE profile, minimal hopping, lacking in hop bouquet and threshold hop levels . . . ” – Fred Eckhardt, The Essentials of Beer Style, 1989, describing style characteristics of malt liquor

“Get your girl in the mood quicker, get your jimmy thicker, with St. Ides malt liquor.” – Ice Cube, Mix Tape, 1994, describing style characteristics of malt liquor… Read the rest

Faro foul?

YOU KNOW those Belgian lambics that are all the rage these days? Beer fans rhapsodize about their complex character, their funky aroma, their tart flavor produced through the vagaries of spontaneous fermentation. The brewers who make them are worshipped as artisans, and bottles valued at $30 or more are collected and traded.

It’s worth noting, though, that lambic wasn’t always … Read the rest

A beer for Sukkot

THE HARVEST season typically brings beer lovers classic German-style Oktoberfestbier, newfangled American pumpkin brews and ale made with freshly picked hops. In one small corner of the world, though, harvest time means etrog beer.

Or, as David Cohen, owner of Tel Aviv’s Dancing Camel Brewing Co. and inventor of this unusual style, says, “When you’re done shaking ’em, we start … Read the rest

The other smoked beer

YO, POT HEADS, this bud’s for you!

That’s right, I’m talking about marijuana beer. Stoner suds. Ganja brew. Miller Really High Life.

It’s commercially unavailable, obviously, due to federal drug and alcohol laws. But now that several states have OK’d the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes, it’s cropping up in private circles.

There have been reports of … Read the rest

Pumpkin Beer… Seriously

GOURD HELP US, it’s pumpkin beer season again.

That means brewers aren’t just raiding the spice cabinet, they’re reaching for their Rogets Thesaurus, too. No other beer style inspires more puns than the Great Pumpkin.

Pumking, River Horse Hipp-O-Lantern, JackAle Lantern, Gourd of the Rings, Mashing Pumpkin, Pumpkin Up the Volume – well, you get the idea.

“Coming up with … Read the rest