The humble beer is one of the most popular drinks in Australia, being revered from sporting events to celebrations. Understanding the different types can be key to serving your customers the best product.
Defining beer types can be a complex task. There are over 100 different types around the world, with even more variations in flavour combinations and brewing processes as each brewery brings its unique flavours to the table. Customers have become accustomed to these endless options available in pubs, restaurants and bars. One Australian pub, The Camfield, which is the largest pub in the country, has a whopping 175 beers on tap.
To keep it simple, beer generally falls into one of two main categories – either ale or lager.
In the brewing process, an ale will gather yeast at the top during fermentation, which will then convert sugars into alcohol. This is done through higher temperatures and the ale aging for weeks in barrels. A subcategory, the Indian pale ale (IPA), has lots of hops added into the brewing process and has a higher alcohol content. Whilst the IPA boasts strong hops, its strong flavours are often associated with notes of herbs, citrus and fruits. Pale ales usually have a lower alcohol content than an IPA and are more medium bodied with a more balanced flavour profile. During the brewing process lighter malts are used which creates that ‘hoppier’ taste the beer is known for, as well as its strong notes of bitterness.
Darker, roasted ales, like stout and porter, are becoming more popular within the craft beer scene. A porter is made from dark malt and is rich with flavours of chocolate, coffee and caramel. The stout, however, is a dark ale made with hops, roasted barley, yeast and water and has a more roasted flavour with a creamier mouthfeel. Popular stouts to include on your menu include the Irish and Imperial.
Lagers vary from the ales in many aspects such as colour and flavour profile. During fermentation the yeast will gather at the bottom of the tank rather than the top. It is also brewed at a lower temperature. There are multiple types of lagers, however the pilsner is one of the most popular. A pilsner is an easy drinking beer that is highly carbonated making it the perfect beer to promote during the summer months.