As Americans realize that craft beer is more than Budweiser, Coors, or Pabst, they are more diverse in taste and style. Craft beer isn't for the faint of heart. There is a lot to be learned and a lot of craftsmanship. However, there is also a close-knit community between small craft brewers as well as the communities they serve.
Many people confuse ale and beer. Are they the same thing or different? Do you know the difference between a porter and a stout? Or if a Doppelbock is a brown ale, how do you tell? Is there a difference between beer and lager? You can find the amazing bars downtown in Des Moines at https://kinshipbeer.com/.
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Let's begin with 'beer.
Beer is an umbrella term that covers any alcoholic beverage made with starch grains and water. That's all you need to make beer. There are many variations around the globe, but the West tends to think of beer as being brewed with barley, though wheat beers can also be found. Beer is the oldest beverage on the planet. Ancient Egyptians were the first to brew beer, and their ancestors did the same.
Beer has been a staple in the diet since ancient times. It is also known as liquid bread because it contains carbohydrates, which provide energy. Monks made beer to drink while fasting when they couldn't eat solid food. However, weaker beers were readily available for everyone to enjoy.
There are two major sub-categories of beer: ales and Lagers.
Ales are beer made with hops. Hops add bitterness to the beer's taste and aroma. Ale is an Old English word that refers to beer made with hops.
Hops were used in conjunction with malt. The malt gives the beer body and sweetness. Real ales have a delicate balance between them. Beer and ale became synonymous as brewing techniques improved, that is, until the Germans, who were prohibited from brewing within their cities, discovered a significant brewing advancement.