Introduction: Welcome to a new subset of the blog – a regular column, which teaches you about different beer styles. This concept was created by a newly hired team of well-oiled creative monkeys working ‘round the clock with one goal in mind – craft the greatest topic in Pampers N’ Pints history. Since the regular writer’s brain makeup has been compared to that of a monkey, very few will realize new writers have actually been added to the staff.
The craft beer scene has exploded, and with it, so too has innovation. Breweries around the country are on hot pursuit to take alcoholic capitalism by storm by doing something unique. As a result new and reemerging beer styles, sometimes dating back centuries, have hit the shelves. But the questions are now firing like Donald Trump on The Apprentice – what the heck is a Gose? A Rye beer? How does one discern between a Belgian Tripel and a Belgian Dubbel? How about a German Helles Lager and Dunkel Lager? A California Common and a Steam Beer? Ok, so those are the same thing…
C’mon, it’s confusing enough! What is this the Punk’d of beer blogs? Is Ashton Kutcher going to jump out from behind my growler?
Amazingly, no. Finally, you might actually learn something from this worthless blog.
This first publishing will compare the difference of a lager and a blonde ale
To a novice, both styles tastes relatively similar. And when you ask an uneducated bartender how to describe a blonde, they’ll usually say ditzy, lots of makeup, and firm thighs, but eventually explain “they’re like a lager.”
He’s halfway correct. Blondes may look like a lager, but the reality is, they are completely opposite in how they’re brewed and how they’ll impress one’s parents.
Let’s start with the basics. There are two types of beers. All the rest you see are subtypes of these two categories – lagers, and ales.
An ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley fermented at higher temperatures than lagers. The yeast used, which is a strain of brewer’s yeast, ferments quicker than lagers and generally produces sweeter, and more robust tastes. Many ales contain hops which balance the sweetness of the malt.
In contrast, the crisper lager, boasting drinkability and propensity to dominate the beer scene on a hot beach day, is fermented at cooler temperatures. Instead of the varied grains of ales, a lager is produced often on a massive scale using cheaper options such as rice and corn (known as American adjunct lagers). Lagers generally fall flat in the taste department but are more drinkable due to less bittering hops, and their light bodies – at least for the ones doing jazzercise twice a week. Lastly, and most important in differentiation is the yeast. Lager yeast produces less fruity esters than yeast used in ales. Examples of lagers are of course Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Heineken, Yuengling, Pabst, Stella Artois, Hinano, etc. etc. Every country has one you’ve heard of. It’s science.
So why do blonde ales get to have so much more fun than lagers? Well, contrary to what most match.com users think, blondes have a more complex profile. Underneath that layer of foam, a fizzy complexion, and hour-glass, glass lies a silhouette bursting with full-bodied flavors. But don’t be fooled by a blonde ale that isn’t truly one – there are lagers out there doing their best to trick you into thinking they’re something they’re not. Just ask Hank Baskett. Trust me, you’ll thank me the next morning.
Here are some examples of Blonde Ales you may have tried:
Big Wave Golden Ale by Kona Brewing Co.
Hoptober Golden Ale by New Belgium Brewing
Twilight Summer Ale by Deschutes Brewery
Summer Love by Victory Brewing Company
Third Cast Beer by Bell’s Brewery
Redhook Blonde by Redhook Ale Brewery
Barrio Tucson Blonde by Barrio Brewing Company