In its simplest form, beer is made from only four ingredients: water, grains, hops, and yeast. That’s it, yet how can there be so many styles and so many tastes from such a simple recipe? Amazingly with a variation on the type and amount of malted grain and hops, as well as what strain (or strains) of yeast used can alter the taste in many ways. As beer enthusiasts both young and old look for craft beer in Santa Rosa, we want to help explain every beer style. You should know about.
- Sour Gose
This beer is a lightly soured style that has the distinction of being brewed with salt and can sometimes accented with fruit. It is considered an easy drinking beer enjoyed in warm weather.
This brew is spontaneously-fermented with wild yeast that gives it a very unique sour taste. This can challenge the palate of lesser experienced drinkers, so brewers will often mask the flavour by adding fruit, such as cherries.
- Wild Ale
The “wild” in this beer refers to the wild yeast used, which gives it a sour flavour that some simply describe as dirty. Wild ales have a broad flavour palette ranging from a tart summer drink to a cheese-scented brew that can be challenging for the most enthusiastic of beer drinkers.
Beer drinkers these days seem to be in love with hops because IPAs are the hottest beers around. This brew features hops more than most by emphasizing their various tastes and aromas (citrus, fruity, pine, herbal, floral). The malt takes the edge off putting the hops front and center.
- Cream Ale
Cream ales mix lagering techniques with ale yeast resulting in an easy drinking beer. Along with a pale colour this beer is meant to finish smooth thanks to its subtle flavours.
This beer is a slightly more nuanced version of your standard American-style beer. It’s an easy drinking lager with a slightly pronounced hop flavour with a hint of biscuit thanks to its malt.
- Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Like their wild counterparts, saison ales refer to any brew made with saison yeast. These yeasts have a wide range of of complex characteristics from fruity and spicy to earthy that sometimes show a similarity to wine.
This is is a distinctive cloudy German wheat beer. Despite its full body it has an airy taste, thanks to yeast strain that brings out a wide range of flavors. Some find the hints of banana or cloves are too strong which is why hefeweizens have traditionally been served with a lemon.
- Blonde Ale
Blonde ales are the easiest drinking ales. This beer is so light in colourist can be mistaken for a lager. It’s still brewed as an ale, so it comes with a sweet touch of fruit and won’t leave any bitter aftertaste.
- Amber/Red Ale
The amber or red in the name of this beer describes its flavor profile and not just its color. These ales have accents of caramel and fruit. American Amber/Reds are more aggressively hopped than their Irish cousins giving them a slightly more bitter character but both styles have the same sweetness.
- English Strong Ale
A noticeably hoppy beer, although the hops aren’t front and center like in a pale ale or an IPA. English strong ales are usually copper in colour and allow their malts to join the flavour profile alongside as opposed to in the shadows of the hops.
Witbier (also known as Belgian White) differs from your typical American wheat beer. While the American wheat’s sole goal is drinkability, the witbier is going for a full body and big flavors which are highlighted by spices. Don’t let the complexity scare you as it is still a very drinkable brew.
- IPA Triple
For those who feel their IPA is still lacking in hop flavours. Brewers will add more malt to bring out the hoppiness. As a result, this beer is much boozier since all that malt converted into alcohol during fermentation. So, this brew packs a punch both with the hop flavors and the alcohol content, ranging from about 7% to well over 10%.
Made from the darkest malts, stouts are in a near pitch-black in colour. They also contain big, rich dessert-like flavors, such as coffee, chocolate and caramel.
The Best Craft Beer Selection in Santa Rosa
Steele & Hops features selections of all these beers from around the world to around the corner making us the place to go for craft beer in Santa Rosa. For more information on our food, drinks and special events, get in touch with us today!