I found this useful article on the Sophisticated Woman’s Blog. It is from February 2010.
Women’s Guide to Beer
Beer, it is the oldest known beverage (other than water) in inexistence, as well as the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. But there are a lot of things people don’t know about beer.
To start, there are seven main varieties of beer:
Ale- a type of beer brewed from malted barley and hops, using a type of yeast that is top-fermented. This type of beer is fermented quickly to give it a full-bodied, mildly sweet, and fruity taste.
Pale ale or Bitter- is a type of beer where the malt is dried with a fuel called coke. Is crisply carbonated and varies in strength and appearance.
Stout or Port- is a dark beer made of roasted malt or barley, hops, water, and yeast. Stouts tend to be stronger beers and come in many varieties.
Irish or Dry Stout- a black ale that is very dark in color and has the flavor of coffee. Guinness stout is an example.
Imperial stout- a brew invented for Catherine II of Russia in the 1700’s, it has a high alcohol content.
Baltic port- a port with a higher alcohol content, made for the Baltic region.
Milk Stout- is a brew with a small amount of lactose added to add sweetness and body to the beer. An example is Mackeson Stout.
Oatmeal stout- is a very bitter beer in which oats are added during the brewing process. This is a rare and hard to find drink.
Chocolate stout- is named for its dark color and chocolate flavor; some of these beers are brewed with small amounts of chocolate.
Coffee stout- is a dark malt brew with the flavor of coffee; some of these beers are brewed with coffee grounds.
Oyster stout- a stout made for drinking with oysters; some of these drinks are even made with a handful of oysters in the brew.
Lager-is a beer that is brewed and stored cold. Lager is also produced with a different yeast and fermenting method than ale. Lagers tend to be light in color, mild in taste, and highly alcoholic.
Wheat beer- is made from mostly wheat and some barely. Flavor is based on brewing method and style of beer.
Hybrid beers- are beers that don’t fit into other categories, like bottom fermented and steam beers.
Lambic- is a Belgian beer that is fermented with wild yeasts; this is an aromatic, cloudy, acidic beer. It comes in pure, gueuze, marz, faro, kriek, and fruit (raspberry, blackcurrant, peach, apple, pineapple, plum, banana, apricot, strawberry, grape, lemon, blueberry, and cloudberry) varieties.
An important part of beer flavor is how it is packaged. It can be kept in the following ways:
Draught- draught beer is kept in a keg pressured with nitrogen or carbon dioxide. Nitrogen pressure allows for a frothier creamier tasting beer with a “bigger head”.
Cask- cask beers are unfiltered and not pasteurized and are fed by gravity into the glass.
Bottle- bottled beers keep some yeast, which allow for some sediment.
Cans- cans are the most inexpensive form of packaging, and are typically only for cheaper beers. Although used for cheep beers, the can is best for preventing light from ruining the beer.
Temperature also affects the flavor of beer, cold beer is considered refreshing while warm beer is considered to allow a person to better taste the flavors of a full bodied beer.
Some beer brewing nations include Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium. the United States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Australia, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, China, and many others.