Beer. It’s ancient, endorsed by several early Christian thinkers, including Martin Luther; it even was one of the first products to have quality regulations to guide brewing. Most importantly, much like the brewers that make it, beer comes in many varieties. Yes, there is more to beer than just domestic beers like Budweiser and Coors. With Fake Patty’s Day on the horizon and not a single beer sommelier in sight, I can see why it might be hard to pick the right beer for the upcoming festivities. So here’s a crash course on popular beer varieties.
Named for the large amount of wheat used to brew this variety, wheat beers typically are less bitter than other brews and are often paired with citrus fruits. A German variety of wheat beer known as Weissbier is said to have a taste similar to a banana. Varieties found commonly in this region include: Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat, brewed in Kansas City, Mo., Blue Moon Belgian White, brewed in Denver, Colo., Tallgrass Halcyon Unfiltered Wheat, brewed in Manhattan and Wildcat Wheat Ale, also brewed in Manhattan by the Little Apple Brewing Company. Wheat beers are one of my favorite varieties. They are very versatile beers that seem to work well in both summer and winter months. Boulevard is my personal favorite. The sweet, bread-like flavor paired with the citric acid of a lemon wedge makes it a great beer to socialize with.
Stout and Porters
Generally a darker, in some cases almost black, beer; Stouts typically feature a very roasted flavor ranging from a coffee-like taste to a more chocolate flavor. In some instances this variety is referred to as a dessert beer. One of the most well known Stouts is Guinness, with a dark, almost creamy-like consistency that most either love or hate. Buffalo Sweat, brewed by Tallgrass, has a creamy consistency and sugary taste. Without a stout beer, O’Malley’s Belfast Bomber simply wouldn’t exist. Stouts, along with their distant relative the porter, are very popular among microbrewers in the U.S. The Little Apple Brewing Company makes a stout called Black Angus. These varieties are definitely worth trying during Fake Patty’s.
India Pale Ale
The India Pale Ale, or IPA as it is more commonly referred to, dates back to English colonial days when the demand for beer by British soldiers in India was high. It has become one of the most popular varieties of beer in the 21st century. American IPAs are brewed with a single variety of hops per beer and in many ways contrast their English cousins. Notable IPAs in this area include Boulevard’s Single Wide IPA, Tallgrass’ simply-named IPA and Breckenridge Colorado’s Lucky U IPA. I’m not a huge fan of this variety of beer, but I have tons of friends who are. It’s probably worth a try.
Besides the types I’ve listed, there are many other varieties, brands and cultural identities associated with beers across the world. If these don’t tickle your fancy then I suppose you’ll need to stick to Bud Light or switch to whiskey for Fake Patty’s Day.
Tim Schrag is a senior in journalism and digital media. Send comments to email@example.com.