The Joy of Brewing

Beer is deceptively simple, despite its often complex flavors. At its most basic, beer is made from only four ingredients: water, fermentable sugars (traditionally malted barley), hops and yeast. Other adjunct ingredients, such as honey, fruits, herbs and spices, and even coffee and chocolate, can be added as well.

To help you decide which styles you might enjoy, what follows is a very basic list of some of the most popular styles of beer that are readily available in Montana.

Beers can be divided, roughly, into bottom-fermenting lagers that are brewed at cold temperatures and often stored for extended periods of time and top-fermenting ales that are brewed at warmer temperatures.

Lagers: “Storage” in German. Light body with a light yellow to amber color

Wheat Beer: Large portion of wheat in addition to malted barley

Hefeweizen: Unfiltered wheat beer

Witbier: Unique style associated with Belgium

Pale Lager: Very pale to golden in color with a light body. By volume, the most widely consumed beer in the world (Ex: Budweiser), but its flavor often leaves much to be desired

Ales: Brewed at warmer temperatures. Often a sweet, full-bodied taste with fruity undertones

Pale Ale: Uses predominantly pale malt

Amber Ale: Uses crystal malt to produce a medium-bodied ale. Deep golden to light brown in color

Scotch Ale: Strong pale ale with a sweeter flavor, medium to full body, and caramel or toffee undertones

Brown Ale: Dark brown color and fuller body, with sweet, malty undertones. Hopping rate and bitterness are usually low

Stout: Brewed with roasted barley. Full body and overtones like coffee and chocolate

Porter: Brewed with dark malts, lending a very full body and burnt, coffee or chocolate flavors