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...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Bohemian Pilsner

Beginnings The entire world owes a depth of gratitude to the brewers of Plzen (Pilsen), who, in 1842 created a beer that would take the world by storm. Founded by King Wenceslas II in 1295, Plzen became a center of Bohemian brewing after its founder granted its citizenry the right to brew. … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Flanders Red Ale

Beginnings Belgium has one of the most varied histories when it comes to the art of brewing. This is not to say that Belgium’s brewing craft does not stem from the same traditions as those found in the rest of Europe. But, this country, more than any other, seems to have carried those old … [Read more...]

Know Your Beer Styles: Brown Porters

The Beginnings History is a funny thing. Many times it is based just as much on assumptions and stories than on fact. Sometimes there are multiple possible histories and no easy way to separate the less accurate from the more accurate. The history of the Porter beer style is ambiguous at … [Read more...]

Winter Warmers: A Beer Style Designed to Keep You Warm

Winter warmers are another wildly popular seasonal amongst beer geeks. As the name implies, this seasonal is only brewed in the winter and all have a slightly higher ABV to help “keep you warm” during the holiday season. What is a Winter Warmer? For centuries now, beer with higher-than-usual … [Read more...]

An Introduction to the Confusing World of Beer Styles

A “beer style” or “style of beer” is typically a term used to categorize beers by considering a variety of factors. Common factors include the appearance, flavor, ingredients, origin, history, and production method. One of the first official styling structures was created by Michael Jackson, the … [Read more...]