The fun and friendly guide to all things beer
Beer has always been one of the world's most popular beverages;but recently, people have embraced the rich complexities of beer'smany varieties. Now, with Beer For Dummies you can quicklyand enjoyably educate your palate—from recognizing thecharacteristics of ales, lagers, and other beer styles tounderstanding how to taste and evaluate beer.
The author, a beer connoisseur, shares his own expertise on thissubject, revealing his picks for the best beer festivals, tastings,and events around the world as well as his simple tips for pouring,storing, and drinking beer like an expert brewmeister.
- New coverage on the various styles of beer found around theworld including: real ale, barrel aged/wood aged beer, organicbrews, and extreme beer
- Updated profiles on the flavor and body of each beer,explaining why beers taste the way they do, as well as theirstrengths and ideal serving temperatures
- How to spot the best beers by looking at the bottle, label, anda properly poured beer in its ideal glass
- The essentials on beer-and-food pairings and the best ways tointroduce beer into your cooking repertoire
From information on ingredients like hops, malt, and barley tothe differences between lagers and ales, this friendly guide givesyou all the information you need to select and appreciate your nextbrew.
About the Author
Marty Nachel is a beer educator, an award-winninghomebrewer, a BJCP Certified Beer Judge, on the panel ofprofessional beer judges at the Great American Beer Festival, and aformer beer evaluator at the Beverage Testing Institute. He is alsothe founder and administrator of the Ale-Conner Beer CertificationProgram.
Steve Ettlinger is the author of seven books, most ofwhich are about food and food-related subjects. His most recent isTwinkie, Deconstructed.
Table of Contents
Part I: Getting a Taste of Beer 7
Chapter 1: Drink Up! Beginning with Beer Basics 9
Chapter 2: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous: Beer Ingredients17
Chapter 3: A Little Brew Magic: Understanding How Beer Is Made25
Part II: Taking a Look at Beer Styles — Old, New, andRevived, Too 35
Chapter 4: Getting to Know the Mother Beer Categories: Ales,Lagers, and More 37
Chapter 5: Investigating "Real" Ale 59
Chapter 6: Exploring Barrel-Aged and Wood-Aged Beer 71
Chapter 7: Diving In to Extreme Beer 81
Chapter 8: Checking Out Organic, Gluten-Free, and Kosher Beer93
Part III: Buying and Enjoying Beer 105
Chapter 9: The Better Way to Buy Beer 107
Chapter 10: Looking at Label Lunacy and Marketing Mayhem 119
Chapter 11: Serving Beer 133
Chapter 12: Making Your Buds Wiser: Tasting and Evaluating Beer147
Chapter 13: Dining with Beer 161
Chapter 14: Cooking with Beer 171
Part IV: Exploring Beer around the World and at Home187
Chapter 15: Sampling Beer in North America 189
Chapter 16: Trying Beer in Europe, Asia, and Elsewhere 209
Chapter 17: Embarking on Beer Travel and Tours 231
Chapter 18: Brewing Beer at Home 247
Part V: The Part of Tens 277
Chapter 19: Ten Ways to Grow Your Appreciation of Beer 279
Chapter 20: The Ten Best Beer Cities in the World (And a FewExtras) 287
Chapter 21: The Ten Best Beer Festivals in the World 295
Part VI: Appendixes 301
Appendix A: A Quick Guide to Beer Styles and Stats 303
Appendix B: A Short History of Beer (For the True Beer Nut)315
An Informative Q&A with the Co-author of Beer For Dummies
Marty Nachel is a beer educator, an award-winning home brewer, a BJCP Certified Beer Judge, on the panel of professional beer judges at the Great American Beer Festival, and a former beer evaluator at the Beverage Testing Institute. He is also the founder and administrator of the Ale-Conner Beer Certification Program
What's the difference between ales and lagers?
It mostly has to do with how the beer is fermented. Ales are fermented with top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures for shorter periods of time. A brewer can produce an ale in about 3 to 4 weeks. Lagers are fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures for longer periods of time. Because the colder temperatures stunt the yeast activity, it may take brewers up to two months to produce a lager beer.
There are common misconceptions about ales being darker, stronger and more bitter than lagers, but there are pale, weak and sweet ales just as sure as there are dark, strong and bitter lagers. It all comes down to the individual beer style.
Keep in mind there are also hybrid beers that crossover both the ale and lager styles. Kolsch, Altbier and Cream ale, for instance are fermented with ale yeast, but at cold temperatures. And California Common Beer (known colloquially as Steam Beer) is fermented with lager yeast, but at warmer temperatures.
How many different beer styles are there?
Due to the creativity and innovation of the craft brewers around the world, the exact number of beer styles is currently growing. It is generally accepted that there are about 25 major beer style classifications with about another 75 sub-style classifications. Below are two examples of major styles and their sub-styles.
For example: Ale style includes Stout sub-styles. This sub-style includes: Dry, Sweet. Foreign Style, Oatmeal, American, and Russian Imperial stouts.
Another example is Lagers with its Bock sub-style. This sub-style includes: Helles bock, Maibock, Doppel bock, and Eisbock.
Why is it important to pour beer into a glass before drinking?
Decanting beer is important for a variety of reasons, not all of which are important to everyone. First, by pouring out your beer, you can appreciate its appearance (color, clarity, head retention). Second, you will be able to better experience the beer's aroma; as the CO2 is released from the liquid, it brings the aromatics of the beer with it. Finally, having de-gassed the beer of its carbonation in a glass, you'll be less concerned about having to de-gas yourself later on.
Who invented beer?
Because there is no written account of how beer was discovered and/or invented, it's assumed this took place before recorded history. The best hypothesis was put forward by archaeologists and anthropologists, who theorize that it probably took place during the Neolithic Period, about 10,000 years ago. Our human ancestors at the time were hunter/gatherers; whether they were stalking prey or foraging for nuts and berries, they were always on the move in search of their daily sustenance.
At some point, so the theory goes, they must have come across a hidden cache of grain (probably stored there by a mammal). The grain had undergone various periods of being wet and dry, thanks to alternate rain and sunshine. This process, which roughly emulates the malting process, converted to the starchy interior of the grain into soluble sugars. Those sugars were eventually leached out of the grain into the puddle of rainwater, and ambient airborne yeast began spontaneously fermenting the sweet liquid. As prehistoric man ate the grain and drank the beer, they not only filled their belly with nourishment, they experienced the magic of intoxication for the first time!
This occurrence had such a profound effect on them they made concerted efforts to duplicate the process again and again. What was quickly learned, however, is that it takes a lot of grain to brew the beer (and make the bread) and only so much could be found by foraging. The only way for them to be successful at this was to begin growing their own grain.
And so began the transformation from nomadic hunter-gatherer to sedentary agrarian. And thus, beer may be credited with the civilization of man.
How does someone become a beer judge?
Practice, practice, practice!
Seriously, it does take a great deal of repetitious evaluation of beer to get good at it. Even more than that, however, evaluating beer is of little consequence if you don't have an in-depth knowledge of beer styles and a good grasp of beer evaluation terminology. If you don't know how a Witbier is made, for instance, and you can't identify and describe what you're smelling and tasting, you won't make a very competent beer judge.
I suggest you read up on beer styles and beer evaluation terminology, then go out and evaluate all the different styles you can find at your favorite local purveyors of good beer. You might even want to consider brewing your own beer at home to become more intimately familiar with beer styles and brewing techniques.
What is the strongest beer in the world?
Just a scant 25 years ago, the strongest beers in the world -few as they werecontained about 14 percent alcohol (by volume), about the same as a high quality wine. These days, however, brewers have done a lot of manipulation of yeast and experimentation with fermentation techniques. A "natural" fermentation can now yield a beer with an alcohol content of about 20 to 25% by volume. To get the volume even higher, however, brewers must resort to a form of distilling, called ice distillation. Using this process, they partially freeze the fermented beer and sieve out the ice crystals that form in the beer. By doing this repeatedly, they are removing much of the water content, which leaves behind a thicker, more concentrated and more highly alcoholic brew. Currently, the strongest beer in the world was produced in 2011 by the Dutch Brewerij T' Koelschip, which clocked in at 60% alcohol by volume!
Which beers pair the best with food?
As with any food-and-beverage pairing, the "three C's" to remember are Cut, Contrast, and Complement. You want your beer to either cut through certain food flavors such as the oiliness of game meats, contrast certain food flavors such as the spicy heat of Thai food, or to complement certain food flavors, such as rich and sweet desserts.
As a general rule, it's much easier to work with malty beer styles, such as Oktoberfest/Marzen beers, Brown ales or Bock beers than it is to work with bitter beers like German Pilsners and India Pale Ales. But don't be afraid to explore the possibilities of tangy or sour beers like Lambic or Flanders Red and Brown ales which can both contrast and complement certain foods well. And dark beers, such as porter and stout pair wondrously with beef and barbecued meats, as well as rich chocolate confections.
What the heck is an "extreme" beer?
In today's beer parlance, the word "extreme" is used to denote any beer that is bigger, badder and bolder than the average beer. Any beer style can be brewed to the extreme; this simply means that the brewer is pushing the boundaries of a given beer style and making it bigger bodied, more complex flavored and stronger in terms of alcohol content. Extreme beers are currently the hottest commodity in the craft beer market.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Firsty first first!