Beer is a wonderfully varied beverage; from imperial stouts to Danish table beers, you can get almost any flavor from it. Beer has a very long and illustrious history, changing with the technology and ingredients available to the brewers living in any specific time period.
Beer has changed a lot over the last few thousand years, but certain styles have developed that have stood the test of time. Most have developed within the last couple hundred years–after all, the invention of microbial control was probably the biggest impact ever on the flavor profile of beer. Some beer styles go back much further, but the beers that you drink today were likely to not taste much like they do now until fairly recently.
Styles developed and have stuck around until now for the simple reason that they represent a combination of ingredients that people enjoyed enough to keep purchasing over the years. Stylistic drift is an ongoing process, and styles surely taste different today then when they were first brewed, but the intention often remains the same. The modern craft beer scene in the United States is filled with experimental beers that defy style. These beers can be very good, but it is often the tried and true classic beer styles that we turn to when we want a good beer that we can count on.
As an amateur brewer working toward the professional brewing world, I am constantly taking note of the styles that are falling out of favor or becoming more popular with craft beer fans. Light lager is obviously the most popular beer style in the country, but lets forget about that for now. What are your favorite beer styles and why do you like them? Do you often stick to one style, or do you drink many different beers on a regular basis? I’m planning on starting a series of style articles based in the most popular groups of styles. I’ll cover history and flavor range, as well as my favorite examples of the styles and which ones you are most likely to be able to go out and purchase for yourself. I’m interested to see what types of beer you are interested in learning more about, so let me know what you want to hear. Lets say you are an IPA fan; let me know which ones you like and why. Then when I write about IPAs I can take that into account and write about which ones you should be checking out. Any beer style is game–I’ll do my homework on anything that I’m not already very familiar with.