What are the main styles of beer?
Dozens of different beers burst onto the market every few months. It is one of the most visible consequences of craft beer as a developing phenomenon. In this maelstrom of brands, labels and names, there are beers of all kinds. The styles allow us to classify the different varieties.
We group beers into styles according to their characteristics. In this way, the brewer and the consumer share a frame of reference in which both are able to distinguish the particularities of the product. Among the possible classifications, the most widespread is that ofBeer Judge Certification Program hereinafter BJCP.
HeBJCP It is an American organization that was born in 1985, and publishes a guide to beer styles that updates over time. The latest version of this document covers around one hundred styles of beer. Despite the fact that the BJCP guide was born to regulate homebrewer competitions, today it has become a universal benchmark.
Within the beer styles, we find two great families. On the one hand, Lager beers are low fermentation beers. In other words, the yeast ferments at a temperature around 5-10ºC for at least two months. It's a slower process than making an Ale, the other great brewing family. The Ale ferment in a few weeks at 18-23ºC.
Furthermore, the yeast responsible for Lager beers is calledSaccharomyces carlsbergensis; while the ale yeast is calledSaccharomyces cerevisiae. Generally speaking, Ale beers are tastier and more fruity than Lagers, although it depends on the specific style.
Apart from these two great families, there are spontaneously fermented beers. Wild yeasts, bacteria and fungi are involved in the production of these special beers. Thus, peculiar flavors and aromas are achieved. These beers are also known by the name lambicas.
The beers we drink on a regular basis also belong to one style. For example, the typical Spanish cane is a Lager; Most of the German wheat beers that arrive in our country are Weissbier; as well as the black beers of the British Isles are called Stout or Porter.
Thanks to the classification by styles, consumers and brewers have a common frame of reference in which to understand each type of beer. The next time you don't know what a beer is like, you have it easy. You just have to look at the label and locate the style to find it on the Internet.