So remember when we did our first part of our series on Beau’s? Today we’re going to start another series, this time a quick guide to some of the many beer styles available. Today we’ll look at bocks, brown ales, dark lagers, and India pale ales. Next week I’ll walk you through four more types.
Bocks are a traditionally German beer brewed by monks to provide sustenance during the fasting days of Lent. The origin of the name bock is either a reference to the town of Einbeck or comes from the German word for male deer or goat. There’s even a version called double bock that is thicker and more filling specifically to substitute food. Bocks are bottom fermenting, which is something I wrote about when discussing the difference between lager and ale. This means that the yeast ferments on the bottom of the tank. Bocks are also lagered in cold storage before bottling or serving. These are stronger than your typical lager, which more malty flavours and an amber to brown colour.
The biggest characteristic of brown ale is the colour, which used to come from the use of brown malt in the brewing process. The term brown ale was used by London brewers in the late 17th century to describe the darker coloured ale that was created when the darker malt was used instead. Brown ale fell out of favour after paler malt became cheaper and easier to obtain. This beer is a little nuttier in taste than a normal ale. Like with other beer styles there are subgroups of brown ale including English style brown ale, Brown porter, German style brown ale, and American style brown ale.
Dark lagers are typically amber or dark brown in colour, with a low to medium bitterness and a hint of sweetness. These lagers are sometimes a result of the use of roasted malt in the brewing process or from the addition of a caramel colouring. They also have to be darker than pale lagers without being too bitter or roasted in flavour.
India Pale Ale
This is one of the most famous of all beer styles, and the real toast of the craft beer movement for a long time. It was also interesting that much of the research for other sections comes from beer specific publications I was able to use sites like Maclean’s, The Guardian, and The Economist.
IPAs were created after hops were added to beer bound for the British colonies in India. This beer was put into casks for the trip. IPAs of the time were meant to be aged so they tasted better after the long voyage. The added hops helped to keep the beer from spoiling and added a nice taste. IPAs were extremely popular with the beginner of the craft brewing movement, and some speculate that this type was so popular because it was so different in taste from the mass produced beers. American IPAs tend to be hoppier and more bitter than more traditional English IPAs.
Let us know what your favourite beers are of each style, and join us next week when I’ll be talking about pale ales, pilsners, porters, and Scottish style ales.