Historians speculate that prehistoric nomads may have made beer from grain & water before learning to make bread. Beer became ingrained in the culture of civilizations with no significant viticulture. Below is a timeline including some of the things that have happened in the world of beer during the last "few" years.
10,000 BC Ancient Mesopotamians and Sumerians brew beer.
6000 BC beer recipe praising the Goddess of Beer, Ninkasi is written.
Egyptian hieroglyphics show beer as the Pyramid builders main beverage.
4000BC the king of Babylon wrote laws governing the price and conditions for the sale of beer. (One must be paid in corn and brewers who dilute their beer were thrown into their brewing vats.)
49 BC Ceasar toasted his troops with beer after crossing the Rubicon, which began the Roman Civil War. · 23 BC Chinese brewed beer called “kiu”
500-1000 AD brewing begins to be practiced in Europe with centralized production in monastaries.
11th and 13th centuries commercial breweries began to be established in Europe.
13th century to the 16th century brewing flourished and several guilds were set up in an effort to regulate the process.
In 1502 on his fourth voyage Columbus discovers the natives of Central America enjoying a beer like beverage made from corn that he likens to English beer.
1609 first American “Help Wanted” advertisement of any kind appears in a London newspaper, calling for brewers to come to Virginia.
1620 Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock because beer was running low.
1759 Arthur Guinness started brewing ales at St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin
1810 Munich establishes Oktoberfest as an official celebration.
1842 Czechs develop the Lager method of brewing.
1867 Leinenkugel’s Brewing founded in the Northwoods of Wisconsin by Jacob Leinenkugel
1876 Louis Pasteur proves that yeast is the agent responsible for the fermentation of beer.
1873 German immigrants Adolph Coors and Jacob Schueler, established a brewery in Golden, Colorado
1880 Coors bought out his partner in "The Golden Brewery".
1885 Frederick Miller brewed his first barrel of beer in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
1925 Corona is first brewed by Cerveceria Modelo in Mexico
1933 Repeal of Prohibition (April 7th)
Heineken becomes first imported beer to hit U.S. shores after Prohibition with its first shipment arriving into the port of Hoboken, NJ on April 11, 1933.
1965 Fritz Maytag buys Anchor Brewing Company
1979 Ken Grossman builds a small brewery in Chico California that is today Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
1980s Brew pubs and microbreweries become popular
1985 Boston Beer is founded by Jim Koch
1988 Jack Joyce founds Rogue Brewery in Portland Oregon
1989 John McDonald delivered the first keg of Boulevard Pale Ale to a restaurant down the street from the new Boulevard Brewing Company. The Midwest gained a new brewery and today, Boulevard is one of the largest craft brewers in the United States!
1990s Craft beer movement takes off with annual volume growth increasing from 35% in 1991 increasing each year to a high of 51% in 1995.
1997 Corona Extra becomes the top-selling imported beer in the United States
2008 Coors Brewing Company and Miller Brewing Company merge US operations
2008 InBev acquires Anheuser Busch
All beer styles fall under one of the two main beer types that of an ale or a lager. The list only touches the surface of the extensive varieties, starting with broader styles and descriptions and then dipping into details for some very specific brews. Hopefully it creates a thirst for you to sample new brews and learn more.
Learn all about Lagers and Ales using the tabs below:
- LEARN ABOUT LAGERS
- LEARN ABOUT ALES
are the most popular beer in the world. Golden colored, made from bottom fermenting yeast, cold slow fermentation and cold maturation, lagers turn out to be drier, cleaner and mellower in taste than Ales. Lagers are well carbonated and can be light to medium in body being aged from one to three months. Pilsners, Dortmunders, Bocks, and Double-Bocks are all made from bottom fermenting yeast and therefore are Lagers.
, clear, pale to golden-hued with a mild hop aroma and a crisp taste, were the first Lagers ever brewed. The name comes from the classic Lager Pilsner Urquell that originated in 1842 in the Czech Republic town of Pilsen. A classic Pilsner is medium in body and carbonation with a head almost like soft ice cream above the rim of the glass. Pilsners are also sometimes spelled Pilsener depending on the brewer and the country of origin.
, it’s a bit redundant but it’s both a style and type of beer. While people are familiar with the fact that Pilsners are Lagers, there are many Lagers that are not Pilsners, or Dortmunders or Double-Bocks.. All Pilsners are Lagers, and all Bocks are Lagers, but not all Lagers are Bocks or Pilsners.
full-bodied, moderately hopped brews which are less dry than a Pilsner.
is a German term for a strong beer. In Germany it may be golden, tawny or dark brown but outside Germany a bock is usually dark. Bock beers are best served in autumn, late winter or spring, depending upon the country.
South German-style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier
has the aroma and flavor that is decidedly fruity and phenolic. The phenolic characteristics are often described as clove or nutmeg like and can be smoky or even vanilla like. Banana like esters are often present. These beers are made with at least 50 percent malted wheat and low hop rates. Hop flavor and aroma are absent.
is well attenuated and very highly carbonated yet its relatively high starting gravity and alcohol content make it a medium to full-bodied beer. The color is very pale to pale amber. Because yeast is present, the beer will have yeast flavor and a characteristically fuller mouthfeel and may be appropriately very cloudy.
is warm fermented and aged at cold temperatures. Kolsch is characterized by a golden to straw color and slightly dry, subtly sweet softness on the palate, yet crisp. Good, dense head retention is desirable. A light fruitiness may be apparent, but is not necessary for this style. Caramel character should not be evident. The body is light to medium-light. This beer has low hop flavor and aroma with medium bitterness.
Traditional German-style Bocks
are made with all malt and are strong malty medium to full bodied; bottom-fermented beers with moderate hope bitterness that should increase proportionately with the starting gravity. Hop flavor should be low and hop aroma should be very low. Bocks can range in color from deep copper to dark brown.
are very light straw or golden in color and well hopped. Hop bitterness is high. Noble-style hope aroma and flavor are moderate and quite obvious. It is a well-attenuated, medium-bodied beer but a malty residual sweetness can be perceived in aroma and flavor. Its head should be dense and rich.
are a type of beer brewed from malted barley using a warm fermentation with a strain of brewers' yeast. The yeast will ferment the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste. Most ales contain hops, which impart a bitter herbal flavour that helps to balance the sweetness of the malt and preserve the beer.
is a full-bodied and flavorful beer with a hint of carbonation. It generally has a thick dark, rich color with a dense white creamy head and a flavor similar to coffee.
is similar to Stout being full-bodied with a hint of carbonation, yet it is lighter than Stouts with is chocolate color and carries a variety of tastes including sweet, bitter, milk and even oatmeal flavors. Long before Lagers were conceived or modern Ales were fashionable, Porter was the beer of the masses.
India Pale Ale
is a hoppy, pale, golden ale typically having citrusy and floral aromas. Hop flavor is inevitably quite high and bitterness quite assertive. In addition, many IPAs are high in alcohol sometimes as much as five times higher than average beers.
beer is highly carbonated with a fluffy, creamy fullness and a bubbly white head. It ranges in color from pale straw to dark reddish-gold having a cloudy appearance and yeasty sediment with contributes to its opaqueness. It often carries the aroma of wheat and roasted malt with hints of vanilla and banana. Wheat beer is considered to be the oldest known beer but the modern Wheat beer is only about 500 years old deriving from Bavaria. As a result of filtration practices, Wheat beer can be clear or cloudy (such as a Hefeweizen.)
are also referred to as cream stouts. They have a mild roasted bitter flavor and a full-bodied mouthfeel. Malt sweetness, chocolate and caramel flavor should dominate the flavor profile of this brew and contribute to its aroma. Hops should balance the sweetness without contributing apparent flavor or aroma.
English-style Brown Ales
range from deep copper to brown in color. They have a medium body and a dry to sweet maltiness with very little hop flavor or aroma.
American-style Amber/Red Ales
range from light copper to light brown in color. They are characterized by American-variety hops used to produce high hop bitterness, flavor and medium to high aroma. Amber Ales have medium-high to high maltiness with medium to low caramel character. They should have medium to medium-high body.
American-style India Pale Ales
have intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content. The style is further characterized by fruity, floral and citrus-like American-variety hop character. India Pale Ale possesses medium maltiness and body.
American-style Pale Ales
range from deep golden to copper in color with a medium body and low to medium maltiness.
are mid to dark brown (some may have a red tint) in color. The beer should have a low to medium sweetness along with medium hop bitterness. This is a light to medium bodied beer.
are often characterized by a complex, sometimes-mild spicy character, but no clove-like flavor. Yeast-generated fruity banana esters are also common but not necessary. These pale/light colored Ales may finish sweet, though any sweet finish should be light. The beer is characteristically medium bodied with an equalizing hop/malt balance. Alcohol strength and flavor should be perceived as evident. Head retention is dense and mousse like.
Belgium-style Fruit Lambics
are also known by the names Framboise, and Kriek and are characterized by fruit flavors and aromas. The color reflects the choice of fruit. Sourness is an important part of the flavor profile, though sweetness may compromise the intensity. Versions of this beer made outside of the Brussels area of Belgium cannot be true Lambics. These versions are said to be “Lambic-style” and may be made to resemble many of the beers of the true origin.
The taste and experience of enjoying fine beer is not only affected by the brewing process and ingredients but also by the way the beer is presented, poured and consumed. Like any dining experience, the proper setting and preparation can mean the difference between an ordinary experience and a fabulous one. Here are a few things to consider when serving beer.
Taste from less to more intense. If you are trying a variety of brews start from the lightest flavor and move to the richest. Alcohol, hops, roast malt and sweetness can tire your palate, so it’s wise to put the more delicate beers at the start of the tasting.
Glassware matters. Proper glassware shows off the color, supports the head, and focuses the aroma of beer for the best possible tasting experience. All classic European beer styles have a traditional glass, and American versions usually work well in those. Whatever the glass, make sure it is spotlessly clean. Stronger beers should be served in smaller portions. Consider getting a selection of pint, stein, tulip and pilsner flute glasses.
Observe proper serving temperatures. Each beer tastes best at a certain temperature. Serving a beer too cold masks a lot of flavor and aroma. Served too warm, beer loses its wonderful refreshing quality. he proper temperature is essential for beer enjoyment. Here are some general guidelines:
Serve fruit beers at 40-50° F.
Serve wheat beers and pale lagers at 45-50° F.
Serve pale ales and amber or dark lagers at 50-55° F.
Serve strong ales, such as barley wines and Belgian ales, at 50-55° F.
Serve dark ales, including porters and stouts, at 55-60° F.
Control the setting. There are many different types of tasting experiences, from formal judging to casual drinking. In all instances, providing a comfortable environment free from distractions will enhance the experience and show off the beers at their best. Light, noise, smoke, room temperature and many other things need to be considered.
Don’t overdo it. Whether in a beer tasting or a dinner, tasting too many beers can lead to palate overload. Try to limit the number of beers to six to eight tasting portions. Beer contains alcohol, so please enjoy responsibly.
Brewing is the production of beer through steeping a starch source (commonly cereal grains) in water and then fermenting with yeast. Brewing has taken place since around the 6th millennium BC, and archeological evidence suggests that this technique was used in ancient Egypt. Descriptions of various beer recipes can be found in Sumerian writings, some of the oldest known writing of any sort. Brewing takes place in a brewery by a brewer, and the brewing industry is part of most western economies.
The Brewing Process
After being harvested, barley is turned into malt by being given just the right amount of moisture and warmth for its kernels to geminate. The malted barley is then dried – and for some brews roasted.
Malt is mixed with other grains (such as corn or rice) and hot water in a “mash tun” until the natural enzymes change the starch into maltose sugar producing what is known as “mash”
Mash flows into the “lauter tun” which looks like a huge cylinder and contains strainers that remove the empty barley hulls. When the grains are removed what is left is called “wort”
The wort is then run into a giant copper kettle to b brewed with hops that are added at various times during the process to impact different levels of bitterness flavor and aroma.
Once the hops are strained off the wort, it is pumped to cooling tanks and poured over refrigerated coils.
The cooled wort is then sent to a “fermenter” where yeast is added
After the yeast has done its proper amount of work it is removed from the brew and the beer is pumped into aging tanks
Once aged the brew is given a final filtering and a bit of carbonation
Finally the beer is packaged and sent on its merry way to be drunk.
Made from grain, malt is to beer what grapes are to wine. It is often referred to as the “soul of the beer.” Barley is the most commonly used grain for malting – steeped in water until it partially germinates and is then dried in a kiln. The more intensely kilned malt, the darker the beer. Depending on the style of the beer being brewed the brewer may use just one type of malt or as many as seven.
The hop is a climbing plant l like a vine. Often referred to as the “spice of the beer” the hop cones are the only bit of the hop plant used in brewing. In fact, only the female hop flower is used as it produces tannins that help clarify and preserve the beer; in addition it has the resins and essential oils that are the principal sources of a brew’s aroma and dryness. A variety of hops can be used in beer with each hop having a distinct flavor, bitterness and aroma. Hops help to preserve beer, act as filtering medium in the brewing process and improve the foam-holding capacity of the beer.
Yeast is the microorganism that feeds on the sugars in the malt to produce the alcohol and carbon dioxide of the beer. It is often referred to as the “lifeline of the brewery” with each brewery’s unique yeast strain being secretively guarded from competitors. There are two main yeast types use din brewing – Ale yeast and Lager yeast.
Beer is compromised of 90 percent water with its harness and mineral content determining the character and style of the beer brewed. Softer water is typically used in Pilsners while harder water is most commonly used in brewing Ales.