Know Your Beer Styles: Schwarzbier

History Black beers have been a major player in not only the revival of the American craft brew scene, but on a wider world stage too. Porters and Stouts are a cornerstone of beer culture, but there’s another black beer, an older, yet far less known inhabitor of this corner of the color spectrum. … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Fruit Beer

History of Fruit Beer Unlike most other styles, fruit beer really has no continuous lineage in the brewing histories. But, new evidence may link the earliest evidence of brewing with fruit beer. A study published in 2004 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences presents 9,000 year … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Russian Imperial Stout

History Perhaps, it all started with a request. On a 1698 trip to England, Peter the Great is said to have tasted of a black nectar called stout, and immediately fallen in love. He wanted much to imbibe in this new found love even when he returned home to Czarist Russia, so he requested that … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Irish Red Ale

History This is a beer style with limited history. Whether that limit is because some of it has been lost or because it is a relatively new style, not especially sought after in its own country, with a history half buried in that of English bitters, is hard to firmly nail down. There … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Belgian Tripel

History With long held traditions rooted deep in the Middle Ages European monastic brewers have greatly influenced modern brewing culture and continue to craft some of the most defining and memorable ales. The Belgian Tripel is the youngest of the ale trilogy (dubbel, tripel, and quadruple) … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Munich Dunkel

History The dark lagers of Bavaria, including the dunkel, were all brewed in much the same way and likely had a very murky, very dark common ancestor. But the dunkel, along with the schwarzbier and rauchbier are, in their own right, prestigious ancestors to the line of modern lagers. At one … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: California Common / Steam

History California Common was historically known as Steam Beer, a name that is now trademarked by Anchor Brewing Company. It is one of maybe only three styles that have their origins firmly entrenched on American soil. Gold had been discovered in California and a mad rush was on to lay … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Kölsch

Beginnings of the Style The city of Cologne is situated along the Rhine in Western Germany. It is an old city. Founded in the first century A.D., it has seen and played its part in much of history. Not the least of which is Colognes contributions to Germany’s beer history. Cologne’s … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Saison

Beginnings This beer’s history is reflected in its name. The word “saison” means season in French and speaks to its intimate connection to the seasons. Bière de Saison (beer of season) was originally brewed in the 1700’s in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium. Traditionally … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Traditional Bock

Beginnings The traditional bock’s story begins in Eisbeck, Germany around the 14th century. A couple things set Eisbeck up for its place in the brewing histories. First, it was part of a federated trading group known as the Hanseatic League. For Eisbeck, this meant a much wider region of … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer

Beginnings The history of the “Midwinter” Beer finds its beginnings in the Winter solstice celebrations of many ancient cultures and probably has roots that go as deep as brewing’s own past. Many ancient cultures worshiped a sun god. The Mesopotamian’s had Utu, the Egyptians had Ra, the Hittites … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Old Ale

Beginnings Before the Industrial Revolution, a lack of ways to keep beer cool for a long period of time, may have been the starting point of the creation of “old ale.” Low alcohol, highly attenuated beers did not store well without cooling, but sweet high alcohol beer did. These stored ales … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: American Amber Ale

Beginnings It is difficult to make a case for any of the beer styles labeled “American” being something new or wholly unique. The truth is that most of the styles we brew have roots in the great traditions of Europe; England, Germany, and Belgium. In most cases the thing that Americanizes a … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Irish Dry Stout

Beginnings Stouts are an off-shoot of the Porter family tree. The word “stout” was first used in 1677 to refer to a stronger version of the Porter style. The use of “stout” in the context of strength continued on through the 1800’s. Both stout ales and stout porters were known until the … [Read more...]