The Ever-Growing World of BeerOctober 31, 2012
During the last several years there has been an explosion of new micro brews invading the shelves and demanding tap space at bars and pubs. With such rapid growth in an industry that has been inundated by the major leaguers for so long, it can be rather confusing and intimidating for the average beer drinker to know where to start. One of the best explanations I have come across for the beer family is this diagram.
It shows the two main families of beers, ales and lagers, and how the sub categories within these families are related along with some of the more popular examples of each highlighted in blue. Once the styles of the beers are mastered, just like with wine, cheese, chocolate, etc., the fun part begins - discovering which style is your favorite!
Due to the vast array of beers available there is bound to be a profile that any drinker could enjoy. With a connoisseur of any food there also comes a new vocabulary to compare and contrast the flavor profiles; beer is no different. Here is a great lexicon to describe beer notes. It also goes over some wine descriptors as well as some common undesirable flavor notes and why they occur.
Last but not least, the numerous styles of beers also come with numerous styles of glassware to be served in. These glasses are specially designed to release the desired qualities of the different styles of beers. This site offers great explanation of the different glasses to use with your choice of beer.
Just like with making a flavor, beer brewing is both a science and an art, and deserves to be savored. So get out there and experiment! Responsibly of course! Cheers!