Other Ales & Hybrids

November 19, 2009

These beers include a variety of traditional styles. Most are lagers, although several traditional German styles are top-fermented (i.e. ales). Many remain popular today. As with many traditional styles, American craft brewers have created unique versions of these classics and are worth seeking out.

Wheat Ales

Malted wheat, constitutes 40-60% of the grain used to make wheat beers. Malted wheat adds a smooth, slight citrusy tang, and a dryness and creamy texture. Hefeweizens are a classic type of wheat beer. Traditionally produced in Southern Germany, these hazy, golden beers are brewed with a unique yeast strain to add fruity bubblegum, banana, or clove aromas and flavors to this creamy-textured beer. Weizenbocks are a stronger and sweeter version of the hefeweizen style and boast inviting banana bread and toasted caramel flavors and aromas as well as above-average alcoholic strength. Berliner weisse is Northern Germany’s version of the Bavarian hefeweizen. This beer is extremely light in color and alcohol and is well-suited as a session beer for drinking over extended periods. It’s crisp and tart, with some creaminess from the wheat and often some sourness. American style wheat beer is fermented with standard ale yeast and is crisp and refreshing with a soft creamy texture.

  Beer COLOR

The range is shown by graduated color in glasses.

  HOPS

The size of the green dot indicates the intensity of hop bitterness and/or aroma.

  BODY

The size of the gray dot indicates fullness and/or sweetness.

 

 

FLAVOR

ABOUT

QUALITIES

WINNING EXAMPLES

Bavarian Hefeweisse

Bavarian Hefeweisse

This classic from Southern Germany features a unique yeast that adds fruity bubblegum and banana notes along with characteristic clove aromas. No hop character. Dark versions available.

Pale or amber, weissbier is almost always packaged with yeast (Hefe) in the bottle, although yeast-free (Kristal) versions exist.

h1
b3

ABV: 4.9-5.5

GLASS: Weissbier ‘Vase’

  • Stoudt Brewing Co., Stoudts Heifer In Wheat,
    2010 Gold GABF South German-Style Hefeweizen
  • Dry Dock Brewing Co., U-Boat Hefeweizen,
    2009 Silver GABF South German-Style Hefeweizen
  • Piece Brewery, Top Heavy Hefeweizen,
    2009 Gold GABF South German-Style Hefeweizen
Weizenbock

Weizenbock

Smooth and rich, with a spicy banana bread aroma and toasted caramel finish. No hop character.

Strong deep-amber version of hefeweisse.

h1 b5

ABV: 6.9-9.3

GLASS: Stemmed ‘Pokal’

  • Deschutes Brewery, Wowzenbock,
    2010 Silver GABF German-Style Wheat Ale
  • Gordon Biersch Brewery, Gordon Biersch Weizenbock, 2008 Gold GABF German-Style Wheat Ale

Berliner Weisse

Berliner Weisse

Very crisp and tart, with some creaminess from the wheat. Usually served with flavored syrup added.

A light session beer once was once very popular in Berlin and still brewed there today.

h1 b1

ABV: 2.8-3.4

GLASS: Classic Pilsner Flute

  • Snake River Brewing Co., Berliner Weisse,
    2010 Gold GABF German-Style Sour Ale
  • Bethlehem Brew Works, Berliner Weisse,
    2008 Bronze GABF German-Style Wheat Ale

American Wheat Ale

American Wheat Ale

Crisp and refreshing, with light to moderate hopping. Wheat adds a soft, creamy texture.  Fruit versions are also popular.

Originating in the Pacific Northwest, these hazy, wheat ales are fermented with normal ale yeast.

h3
b3

ABV: 3.5-5.5

GLASS: American Shaker Pint

  • Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Shredders Wheat,
    2010 Silver GABF American-Style Wheat Beer
  • Blue Mountain Brewery, Sandy Bottom,
    2010 Gold GABF American-Style Wheat Beer
  • Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant, County Seat Wheat, 2009 Gold GABF American-Style Wheat Beer

Rhine Valley Styles

This pair of crisp, everyday session beers attest to the diversity and ancient brewing traditions of Northern Germany. They are fermented warm, then cold-conditioned, instilling qualities of both ales and lagers. Kölsch is the traditional golden ale from Cologne, Germany (Köln). It’s a well-balanced beer with delicate, fruity aromas, clean, soft maltiness and subtle hoppinness. Düsseldorfer Altbier translates to, “the old beer from Düsseldorf,” and is the oldest beer style still brewed in Germany. Alt is a copper–colored beer with an assertive hop nose and just enough malt to provide balance. It’s fermented with ale yeast which contributes a subtle fruitiness.

 

FLAVOR

ABOUT

QUALITIES

WINNING EXAMPLES

Kolsch

Kölsch

Kölsch is a well-balanced beer with a delicate, fruity aroma, clean, soft maltiness and subtle hopping.

A highly drinkable golden-colored ale from the German city of Cologne (Köln)—traditionally served in a cylindrical ‘stange’ glass, but a pilsner flute is a common alternative

h1 b3

ABV: 4.8-5.3

GLASS: Classic Pilsner Flute or Kölsch Stange

  • Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Beer, 2010 Gold GABF German Style Kolsch
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Kolsch,
    2009 Gold GABF German Style Kolsch
  • Stoudt Brewing Co., Stoudts Kolsch,
    2009 Bronze GABF German Style Kolsch

DusseldorferNEW

Düsseldorfer Altbier

A refreshing copper colored beer. May be more or less malty, but Alt is always assertively hopped. The stronger seasonal version is called Sticke.

A dark session ale from Düsseldorf. “Alt” means “old,” a reference to the antiquity of top-fermenting beers in Germany.  Traditionally served in a cylindrical ‘stange’, but the pilsner flute is a common alternative.

h6
b2

ABV: 4.3-5.5

GLASS: Classic Pilsner Flute or Alt Stange

  • Haverhill Brewery, GestAlt,
    2010 Gold GABF German Style Altbier
  • Dry Dock Brewing Co., Bismarck Altbier,
    2009 Gold GABF German Style Altbier
  • Gordon Biersch Brewery, Gordon Biersch Alt Bier, 2009 Bronze GABF German Style Altbier

North American Hybrid

Hybrid ales share lager and ale characteristics and include several beer style that were popular a century ago as well as some new creations. Cream ales were originally a blend of pale ale and lager and are popular in the eastern US. This light-colored, light-bodied golden ale has a touch of sweetness and a kiss of hops. California Common was known as “steam beer” until the term was trademarked by Anchor Brewing Company, the last surviving maker of this once popular Old West style. It’s fermented with lager yeast at warm temperatures and has a rich, light caramel maltiness balanced by hop bitterness with a hint of fruity aromas.

 

FLAVOR

ABOUT

QUALITIES

WINNING EXAMPLES

Cream Ale

Cream Ale

A very light bodied ale, usually with a touch of sweetness and a kiss of hops. Craft versions offer a slightly more robust flavor than mainstream versions.

Originally a blend of stock (pale) ale and lager popular in the Eastern US, cream ale usually offers more flavor than mass-market lagers.

h4
b3

ABV: 4.2-5.6

GLASS: Classic Pilsner Flute

  • Pelican Pub & Brewery, Kiwanda Cream Ale,
    2010 Gold GABF Golden or Blonde Ale
  • Lagunitas Brewing, Sirius Ale,
    2006 Gold GABF American-Style Cream Ale or Lager
California Common Beer

California Common Beer

A hybrid fermented with lager yeast, but at warmer ale temperatures. It has a rich, lightly caramelly maltiness balanced by firm hopping. topped off with soft, fruity aromas.

“Steam” is now the trademark of the Anchor Brewing Company, the last surviving maker of the style that was once widespread in the West.

h6 b5

ABV: 4.0-5.4

GLASS: Classic Pilsner Flute

  • Steamworks Brewing, Steam Engine Lager,
    2007 Gold American-Style Amber Ale
  • Anchor Steam Beer,
    1992 Gold GABF American-Style Cream Ale or Lager

  BEER COLOR

The range is shown by graduated color in glasses.

  HOPS

The size of the green dot indicates the intensity of hop bitterness and/or aroma.

  BODY

The size of the gray dot indicates fullness and/or sweetness.