British and North American Style Ales

mber Ales - This is a more modern, non-traditional style. Amber ales are light- to medium-bodied and can be anywhere from light copper to light brown in hue. Flavorwise they can vary from generic to serious craft-brewed styles with extravagant hoppy aromas and full malt character.

American Ale - These brews are golden to light copper in color with a more subtle overall character and lighter body than typical pale ales. They are brewed domestically and will have less body and hop and malt character than a pale ale from the same brewery.

Barley Wine - Barley wine is the name coined by British brewers to describe an extremely potent ale that can range from golden copper to dark brown in color. They are characterized by extravagant caramel malt flavors and bittering hops that prevent the malt sweetness from being too cloying. Rich and thick, they can have wine-like flavor profiles with a hint of sweetness. These powerful brews are classically sold in small "nip" bottles and can be consumed after dinner or with dessert.

Black and Tan - This brew was originally conceived as a concoction of stout and pilsner ale mixed. In the U.S. the term is used by a small number of brands to loosely refer to a dark amber to brown-colored beer with a malt accent, relatively light in alcohol and low in hop character.

Bitter - Bitter is an English specialty characterized by a fruitiness, light to medium body and an accent on hop aromas. Colors range from golden to copper. Despite the name they are not particularly bitter.

Cream Ale - This style of beer is fermented at warm temperatures, but then stored at cold temperatures for a period of time, much as a lager. The resultant brew has the crisp characteristics of a light pale lager, but is endowed with a hint of the aromatic complexities of an ale.

English Style Brown Ale - These medium-bodied reddish-brown beers are malt accented with a nutty character, a gentle fruitiness and low bitterness. The much less prevalent Southern English style, not seen abroad, is much darker in color, sweeter, and made in a lighter style.

India Pale Ale (IPA) - IPAs are deep gold to amber in color and characterized by floral hop aromas and a distinctive hop bitterness on the finish. IPAs were originally brewed by the British in the 19th Century when British troops and colonizers depended upon supplies of beer shipped from England. Standard ales didn't survive the journey, so brewers developed high gravity, highly-hopped ales that survived shipment in casks to their largest market, India.

Irish Style Ale - Irish ales are characterized by their reddish color, malt accents, slightly sweet palate, and low hopping. They are not generally bitter.

Mild Ale - This is a traditional style of English ale characterized by darker colors, sweetish malt flavors, and subtle hopping levels, all with a lower alcohol content and intended for service at pubs to allow the drinker to imbibe a greater quantity (and thus spend more money).

Pale Ale - Pale ales tend to be fuller-bodied with a more assertive character than a standard bitter. Pale ales are not pale but, in fact, more of an amber. The original designation was in reference to this style of beer being paler than the brown and black beers which were more popular at the time of the style's inception.

Scottish Ale - Scottish ales are typically full-bodied, malty and dark brown in color. They often have a sweet caramel malt character due to incomplete fermentation.

Strong Ale - Strong Ales are sometimes referred to as old ales, stock ales or winter warmers. These beers are higher alcohol versions of pale ales, though not as robust as barley wines. Usually a deep amber color, these brews generally have a sweet malty taste and a degree of fruitiness.

Winter Ales - Spiced winter ales are popular hybrids among U.S. brewers. They are strong ales that have had some spice added during the brewing process. True to their name, they make ideal sipping beers with which to get a dose of seasonal spices.