What’s the word: Get to know your beer

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For Digital First Media

So you want to know more about craft beer? The craft beer scene in the United States has exploded over the past decade, with new breweries popping up frequently, including breweries and brewhouses in Philadelphia such as 2nd Story and Fermentaria. Philadelphia has been ranked among the best beer cities in America by publications including Thrillist, GQ and Travel + Leisure, among others. Here’s a list of terms to get started.
Terms to know:
ABV: Alcohol by Volume. This is the standard measure for the strength of a beer. The higher the ABV, the stronger the beer.
Craft Beer: While some might think of craft beer as any non-corporate brewery, there is more to it than that. The Brewers’ Association defines craft beer as “small, independent, traditional.” A craft brewery produces 6 million barrels of beer or less per year and less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer, according to the Brewers’ Association.
IBU: International Bitterness Units. This is the unit used for measuring the bitterness of beer.
Ingredients: There are four main ingredients used in brewing: water, barley, hops, yeast. John Stemler, the brewmaster at Free Will Brewing in Perkasie, said those are the four primary ingredients, though barley could also apply to most malts. While those are the main ingredients, that doesn’t mean those are the only four. “I’ve put mangoes and habaneros in an IPA, for God’s sake,” Stempler said.
NItro or On Nitro: A kind of tap for pouring beer, aside from the standard tap. According to Rate Beer, the tap utilizes nitrogen to create a smoother, creamier pour. This is often used for darker beers such as stouts and porters.
Types of beer:
IPA: India Pale Ale. These beers contain more hops, and are therefore more bitter and flavorful. If you want a starter beer, this would be it, according to Stemler. “They are the dominant force in craft beer,” he added. There are several different kinds of IPAs, such as double IPAs and black IPAs, depending on the ingredients.
Lager: Pennsylvanians are aware of the term, using it interchangeably with Yuengling, but Yuengling’s traditional lager is obviously not the only kind. The Brewers’ Association defines lager as “any beer that is fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at colder temperatures. Lagers are most often associated with crisp, clean flavors and are traditionally fermented and served at colder temperatures than ale.”
Lambic: A lambic is a sour ale. As noted by Rate Beer, lambics are “typically dry and sour created through spontaneous fermentation.”
Porter: A dark ale. Beer Advocate defines the porter as “typically brewed using a pale malt base with the addition of black malt, crystal, chocolate or smoked brown malt.” Porters can range from bitter to sweet and a lighter brown to black in color.
Stout: A traditional dark beer. These are brewed with a higher amount of malts, says Stemier, which leads to the heavier flavor and the darker color. Stouts can vary in styles, from oatmeal stouts to milk stouts.
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