Every Style of Beer Explained: An Expert Breaks Down 100 Types of Beer, from Malty Lagers, to London Brown Ales, to Bock Beer

There was a time when one could hard­ly hope to enter polite soci­ety with­out know­ing one’s Caber­nets from one’s Pinots and one’s Chardon­nays from one’s Ries­lings. That time has not quite gone, exact­ly, and indeed, a greater vari­ety of plea­sures await the oenophile today than ever before. But in the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry, and espe­cial­ly in twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry urban Amer­i­ca, one must com­mand a cer­tain knowl­edge of beer. Even those who par­take only of the occa­sion­al glass will, after a decade or two, devel­op a sense that they pre­fer a lager, say, or a stout, or the peren­ni­al­ly trendy IPA. Yet many will also be at a loss to explain what they like about their pre­ferred beer’s fla­vor, let alone its ori­gins.

Enter Mas­ter Cicerone Pat Fahey, whose title bespeaks his vast knowl­edge of beer: of its nature, of its mak­ing, of its his­to­ry. He puts his mas­tery of the sub­ject on full dis­play in the hour­long Wired video above, in which he breaks down every style of beer. Not most styles: every style, begin­ning with lagers malty and hop­py, mov­ing through an even wider vari­ety of ales, and end­ing with an extend­ed con­sid­er­a­tion of less­er-known beers and their vari­a­tions. Most all of us have sam­pled Amer­i­can lager, Eng­lish porter, and even Ger­man pil­sner. But can you remem­ber when last you threw back a Flan­ders red ale, a dop­pel­bock, or a wee heavy?

Fahey knows his beers, but he also knows how to talk about them to the gen­er­al pub­lic. His explana­to­ry tech­nique involves pro­vid­ing gen­er­ous amounts of con­text, not just about the parts of the world in which these beers orig­i­nate (a geog­ra­phy and lan­guage les­son in itself) but about the ways they’ve been con­sumed and pro­duced through­out his­to­ry. Of that last he has a fair amount to work with, since the old­est recipe for beer, pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture, dates to 1800 B.C. The near­ly four mil­len­nia of beer evo­lu­tion since then have pro­duced the for­mi­da­ble tap rows with which the bars of Port­land, Austin, and San Diego con­front us today — and which, with Fahey’s guid­ance, we can more cred­i­bly nav­i­gate.

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Sci­ence of Beer: A New Free Online Course Promis­es to Enhance Your Appre­ci­a­tion of the Time­less Bev­er­age

Beer Archae­ol­o­gy: Yes, It’s a Thing

Dis­cov­er the Old­est Beer Recipe in His­to­ry From Ancient Sume­ria, 1800 B.C.

The Art and Sci­ence of Beer

Watch Beer Fer­ment in Time-Lapse Motion, and Then Learn How to Make Beer with an Ani­mat­ed Video

An Archae­ol­o­gist Cre­ates the Defin­i­tive Guide to Beer Cans

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.