Fuller-bodied with nuances of fruit or spice and a pleasantly hoppy finish, Ales are generally robust and complex with a variety of fruit and malt aromas.
Belgian beers feature complex taste characteristics, often supplementing the balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness you find in every beer with fruity, spicy, floral, and herbal aromas. And when it’s done properly, these flavors are harmoniously balanced—all part of the freewheeling tradition of Belgian brewers.
Hard cider is an unfermented drink made by crushing fruit—typically apples, but sometimes other fruits are used. This fruit-based beverage is light, refreshing, and not usually as alcoholic as its craft beer compatriots. Hard cider is also gluten-free, which makes it a more enticing option for current food trends.
Hard seltzer contains no grain or (in most cases) hops, though brewing methods can vary. Essentially, the process involves dissolving sugar into boiling water, fermenting the sugar into alcohol, and infusing flavoring and carbonation after the fact. Seltzers are also gluten-free and relatively low in calories.
India Pale Ales (IPAs) are a type of light-colored beer similar to bitters, typically with a higher than average alcohol and hop content, and the styles run a wide gamut of experience—from lower-ABV Session IPAs to higher-ABV Double and Imperial IPAs, from less-intense New England IPAs to the strong aromas of Dry-Hopped IPAs, and everything you can imagine in between.
Kölsches are fermented with ale yeast, but then finished in cold temperatures like a lager, resulting in a light and drinkable beer that exhibits some of the best characteristics of both categories—often with a touch of muted fruitiness to them, but typically exhibiting the much crisper, cleaner finish you would expect from a pale lager.
Lagers are the world’s most popular beer—crisp and refreshing, with a smooth finish from longer aging. A lager, which can range from sweet to bitter and pale to black, is usually used to describe bottom-fermented brews of Dutch, German, and Czech styles. Most, however, are a pale to medium color, have high carbonation, and a medium to high hop flavour.
Pilsners are lagers that have been “corrected” using Saaz hops, making it “spicier” than your typical lager. Saaz are called “noble” hops for a good reason—they’re kind of all encompassing, busting with flavor, bringing some earthiness along with that spice, plus some florals and green flavors.
Porters are a dark, almost black, fruity-dry, top fermenting style ale that is brewed with a combination of roasted malts to impart flavour, colour and aroma. For sheer versatility, porters are hard to beat, offering sturdiness on the one hand, drinkablility on the other. They can be the epitome of balance, or a dark, bitter beer for hop lovers.
Saisons are pale ales that are highly carbonated, fruity, and spicy, falling under the Farmhouse Ale category, which have a bit of a funky flavor—kind of like wet hay or earth. They have a distinctive fruity character with a slight tang—similar to lambics, but nowhere near as pervasive. Many breweries also add herbs and spices to complement the flavors.
Sours are made with wild bacteria and yeast, and come in a wide range of styles and can run the gamut from tart-tasting and mouth-puckeringly sour to barnyard funky to fruity and light.
Stouts are not as sweet to the taste, flavored and colored by barley and featuring a rich, creamy head. Stouts often use a portion of unmalted roasted barley to develop a dark, slightly astringent, coffee-like character. Many great stouts are complex and low in alcohol, with beautiful roundness and a touch of roastiness. The dry versions are appetizing and quenching, while the sweeter styles are silky and well-rounded—perfect for an evening of food and drink.
Wheat provides a soft character to beers, sometimes hazy or cloudy with a touch of spice notes, making them light and easy to drink with very little aftertaste.