The Difference Between Ales and Lagers

The first step in learning about beer is to understand the difference between ales and lagers. Ales and lagers are the two main classifications of the beer family. Ales are considered traditional brews, that are generally more robust as they are rarely filtered while Lagers are usually heavily filtered with much cleaner presentations due to the cold lagering period. The difference has nothing to do with the alcohol content or the color. It all begins with the brewing process.

Yeast

Ales are made with top-fermented yeast. The yeast doesn’t ferment at the top of the tank. It typically rises to the top near the end of fermentation. Ale yeast often produces esters that can impact the flavor of the beer.

Lagering is the process of cold storage, which is widely believed to be how lager yeast came to be and become so prevalent. Lagers slowly came around in the 15th century and became famous in the German and Northern continental regions, before spreading across the world. Lagers are made with bottom-fermented yeast, which is due to the yeast collecting at the bottom of the tank to ferment, they can be reused.

There are some exceptions to the rules as some brewers do use bottom-fermented yeast to make Ales.

Fermentation Temperature

Ales are fermented warm while lagers are fermented cold. Most ales ferment at the 60-75° range with some strains of yeast requiring temperatures as high as 95-100°.  Due to these temperatures, ale yeast tends to ferment faster than lagers. Lagers ferment at temperatures between 46-59°.

Due to the variety of yeast used in beers, these temperatures may vary slightly. Even more so if hybrid strains of yeast are used.

Flavor

Ales are generally more robust, fruity, aromatic, complex in taste and aroma. This is due to ales having a higher amount of hops and malt. Lagers are light-tasting, generally higher in carbonation, smooth, mellow and balanced.

Ultimately, there are great ales and lagers. One style is not better than the other. It’s a matter of personal preference. If you’re interested in trying a pale ale and lager, we recommend Grey Sail Captain’s Daughter, Revival Night Swim’ah and Wormtown’s Be Hoppy!

Common Myths About Beer

There are several common misconceptions about beer, but you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. There’s no doubt you’ve heard about these myths, so let us shine some light on the truth.

Myth: Beer is Best Served Ice Cold

We’ve all seen the commercials advertising drinking beer ice cold or serving the beverage in a frosted mug, but this causes beer to lose its aromatics. Beer served at near frozen temperatures blinds the taste experience because your tastebuds will be more shocked by the frigid temperature of the liquid. Beer is typically dispensed between 38°- 42°. Some more flavorful beers may be served at warmer temperatures to ensure maximum flavor.  

Myth: Drinking Too Much Beer Results in a Beer Belly

We aren’t sure where this saying came from, but it is false. You’re more likely to get a large belly due to consuming unhealthy food and a lack of exercise. Yes, beer has calories, but not as much as a triple cheeseburger, fries, and a milkshake. Enjoying a beer now and again won’t give you a beer belly. Moderation is key.

Myth: Beer Kills Brain Cells

When a person consumes too many beers, they experience slurred speech, lack of physical balance, forgetfulness, and other symptoms. So, what’s going on? High levels of alcohol can interrupt the signals being sent to your brain, but it doesn’t kill your brain cells. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, participants did not experience a decrease in brain cells or cognitive behavior. Nonetheless, it is not proposed that these findings be used to encourage increased alcohol consumption.

Myth: Canned Beer Tastes Cheap

Don’t judge a beer by its can. Canned beer doesn’t indicate the quality of a beer. This idea may stem from a personal preference similar to people assuming a wine bottle with a screwed top is automatically a lower quality than one with a cork.

The best way to preserve beer is to prevent oxygen and light from penetrating the beer. The most effective way to do that is to store it in a can. Oxygen can seep into the tops of beer bottles and dark glass bottles may not always block light. If you don’t want to drink beer from a can, pour it into a glass.

Myth: Dark Beers Have More Alcohol Than Light Beers

Many people think the darker the beer, the more bitter or stronger it will be. Guinness is automatically assumed to have a higher alcohol content due to its color, but it only has 4.2 percent compared to Bud Light Platinum’s six percent.

Regardless of your preference for bottled, canned, light, or dark, enjoy your beverage at the correct temperature and drink in moderation this holiday season.

5 Fun Facts About Beer

With the holidays coming up, we’re quite sure you’ll have a drink or two. If you need something to talk about, drink up these fun facts about beer and sound smarter while you’re waiting for dinner to be served!

7.5 million liters of beer were served at Oktoberfest 2017

Oktoberfest is one of the most popular celebrations for beer consumers. This years event was another success with approximately 6.2 million visitors and 7.5 million liters of beer consumed. That number is up from 7.3 million liters at Oktoberfest 2015.

Doctors prescribed “medical beer”

During prohibition, brewers, physicians, and imbibers attempted to persuade U.S. Congress that beer was vital medicine. In March 1921, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer declared “doctors to prescribe beer at any time, under any circumstances and in any amount they saw fit.” Doctors prescribed “medical beer” from March 1921 to November 1921 until Congress banned it.

New Hampshire consumes the most beer

You would think Nevada would have been number one, but New Hampshire takes the top spot in beer consumption with 41.7 gallons annually per capita. Montana was second with 39.1 gallons of beer and South Dakota rounded out the top three with 38.6 gallons of beer.

Fried beer won Most Creative Food at the 2010 Texas State Fair

State fairs have become synonymous with unique fried treats. At the 2010 Texas State Fair, deep-fried beer-filled pretzel pockets were entered into the Big Tex Choice Awards and won for Most Creative Food.

Mars has a crater named Beer

Beer is a crater located in the Margaritifer Sinus region of the planet Mars named after the German astronomer Wilhelm Beer. The next time you’re drinking beer under the stars, raise your glass and say, “Cheers to Beer.”

What Are Hops?

There are four simple ingredients that are vital to beer: malted barley, yeast, water, and hops. The first three ingredients listed are vital to creating alcohol. Hops are required for beer but not for malt alcohol/liquors. Throughout brewing history, brewers have looked for ways to bitter/flavor their sweet beers. Usually, using plants, roots, herbs, or a combination known as later known as Gruit.

Hop plants are rising vines (more accurately, bines: vines without tendrils). The plant part used in brewing beer is the hop flower; a gentle, pale green, papery cone, full of unpreserved resins. They give a beer tartness when used early in the brewing process, and its aroma when added at the end. As a bonus, hops preserve and prolong the life of beer.

In the hands of American microbrewers, hops have shifted from their position as the supportive actor in the beer ensemble, to the featuring role.

West Coast microbrewers paved the way for creating beers where the character of hops (tart, piney, grassy, floral, or fruity) took center stage. Beer admirers took satisfaction in looking for the brews with higher and higher international bittering units (IBUs); the measure of the concentration of hop compounds in beer.

High-hopped beers are not for everyone. For the hop seekers out there, there is a spectacular array of hop varieties with new ones being developed all the time!

Today, American brewers have increased the hopping levels of their IPAs to such an extent that a new beer style has emerged: so-called double or “imperial” IPA. These popular beers present even more hop power with alcohol volume to match.

There is a new style of beer that fits the descriptors even more than Imperial or Double IPA. That would be the New England/North East Style IPA. It is the definition of a hop showcase, with malts there to help balance the extreme juicy, citrus, tropical fruit notes.

 

What is a Pilsner?

When you go to a bar you’re always going to find plenty of different drafts to try. One beer that isn’t immediately gravitated to, but has inspired some of the world’s most well-known beers is the Pilsner. The Pilsner is the inspiration for all Pale Lagers made around the world, which includes Budweiser and Bud Light.

Pilsner is a type of pale lager that takes its name from Pilsen which is now located in the Czech Republic. The first pilsner came from a brewery called Citizen’s Brewery which is now known as Pilsner Urquell, which is still in production today.

Pilsner beers are medium to medium-full bodied and are characterized by high carbonation. Alcohol strength in these beers typically ranges from 4-5.5% ABV. Pilsners come in different styles based on what part of the world they are made in. Czech-style Pilsners use only Saazer hops vs “Noble” hops, which are the predominate flavor in other styles of Pilsner. These hops bring around an earthy and grassy flavor. All Pilsners, though, have a thick white head at the top of the glass, right above the golden liquid of a Pilsner.

Pilsner is a lager style of beer but has added hops. Josef Groll, who was from Bavaria brought Bavarian techniques to his brewing style, but the original beer was created in Pilsen. The first pale lager really focused on the creation of Pale Malts, having hop flavor become an afterthought while trying to balance the beer’s sweetness with the tastes of consumers.

For a Pilsner you should use a Pilsner glass (also known as a Pokal) this is a tall, slender and tapered 12-ounce glass. It allows for the beer to show off its light color but promotes the foam retention of the beer.

So if you’re looking for a light lager without a strong or bitter finish, try a Pilsner.

How to Pour the Perfect Pint

How to Pour the Perfect Pint

When pouring a draught beer there are several steps to follow to ensure a proper pint. Luckily, we’ve come up with this handy guide to help with your pouring needs.

First and foremost, make sure you have the correct glass for your pour. You can check out our handy guide if you need help.

Second, hold the glass at a 45-degree angle about one inch below the tap faucet. Now you’re going to want to open the tap fully and let the beer flow. Opening the tap partially will lead to excessive foam.

Third, let the beer flow down the side of the glass (still in the 45-degree angle) but don’t let the faucet touch the glass. Now’s the tricky part – tip the glass upright and pour down the center of the glass to create the perfect collar.

Once full, shut the tap off completely. If for some reason there is too much foam for your taste, allow the head to dissipate then pour again.

You’re only moments away from enjoying that cold beer, so take your time, follow our guide, and you’ll be sipping on a perfect pint.

How to Use Our Beer Finder

Looking to find a particular beer that you tried while out one night? Want to know what bars stock your favorite brew on draft? Looking to find out who is an M&M bar? Well never fear, Mclaughlin & Moran’s Beer Finder is here!

Our web site beer finder is your guide to where to get your favorite brews. Let’s say that you’re out one night and you try a beer that you absolutely love and want to find it again. Search the brewery and the beer’s name and voila – you’re sipping in no time.

What if you’re looking for your favorite beer and want to know what bars in the area carry it? No problem. Choose the brewery and beer again and type in your zip code. Within seconds there will be a list of all the local places that you can drink your favorite.

What if you’re a huge fan of McLaughlin & Moran and want to see what bars we distribute to? You can do that, too! All you have to do is search a zip code and what type of establishment you want to drink it at. Then there’s your list.

The options for our Beer Finder are endless. We’ve provided a searchable and unique database so that no matter what you’re looking for, you can always find it.

 

Beer and Food Pairings For Your Next Summer Party

As the days get longer and the sun shines brighter, you might be thinking about having a party. If beer and fantastic food are a priority for your party, we can tell you how you can throw a shindig you won’t forget! When drinking beer, food pairings are key. With many multifaceted flavors and extreme differences in flavors of beer (such as bready, caramel, molasses, hoppy, and citrusy) some pair much better with food than wine.

The two secrets to pairing a beer with what you’re eating are either accenting the food flavor or balancing it. Keep in mind that every taster has a unique palate. The strength of an IPA might pair perfectly with a spicy dish for those looking for some added intensity, but others might prefer an ale with a balancing malt character to keep the inferno at bay. It’s all about finding the harmonies that complement each other and staying away from any overpowering flavors. It can be difficult to find the perfect match, but perfection should not be the goal. Creativity and enabling others to open their minds by tantalizing their taste buds is your benchmark. If you take that approach, then your friends will undoubtedly enjoy themselves and discover something new.

If uncertain about pairings, go with a Belgian beer. These gregarious delicacies come in a variety of styles, but most share a yeasty, sweet, and spicy character that pairs with just about anything. They are far from overbearing, which makes them an excellent choice for even the most delicate of foods.

Remember, it’s the perfect time of year to be outdoors. This is your excuse to have a BBQ that your friends and neighbors won’t forget! Crank up the tunes, let the summer days go on, and have no fear of eating enormous amounts chased with a few frosty brews.

Summer Beer Pairings

Is there a better match than scorching days and cold beers? Here, we’ve grouped up our favorite summer foods along with what beer best suits the moment. The spring and summer of 2017 will be one of the countless turning points in the growth of beer gaining its rightful place at the table. Whether you are dining out, joining a pairing event or just cooking dinner in your household, watch for these new things to inhale new life into your pairing appreciation. Even the worst things about summer are better with a good beer (like mowing the lawn).

The two keys to pairing a beer with food are either accentuating a food flavor or balancing it. Keep in mind that every taster has a unique palate. The severity of an IPA might pair flawlessly with a spicy dish for those looking for some added intensity, but others might prefer an ale with a balancing malt character to keep the inferno at bay. It’s all about finding harmonies to complement each other and staying away from any overpowering flavors.

Eating a fish taco at the beach? Your best match is a Mexican lager in a tallboy, doctored up with a squeeze of lime and a drop of hot sauce. YUM!

Relaxing on the front porch with a hot dog on a warm day? You need a light, crisp German Kolsch in your hand. It’s super-refreshing, easy-to-drink and low-alcohol.

Hamburgers from the grill at your neighbor’s cookout? You will want a full-bodied lager if it’s a warm day; if it’s a cool night a brown ale.  

Cherry pie from a roadside restaurant? You will want a Stout. The darker the better. Trust us on this one.

Cheese and crackers at a picnic? You will want something indulgent and Belgian, like a fruity Saison or a lush Blonde Ale.  

Grilled sausage mid-afternoon at a soccer game? You will need something malty and Germanic, served in a mug large enough to make your wrist ache. 
Beer and great food is the perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures. Beer is a fantastic way to unwind after a long, blazing day. Stop and grab your favorite beer to make your summer days perfect. What is going to be your summer go-to beer?

Proper Glassware for Beer

If you’re the type who grabs a pint glass no matter what style of beer you’re pouring into it, allow us to enlighten you. In Belgium, especially, there is often a different style of glass for each beer, and it’s not just about getting beer fans to purchase more merch. You’ve probably heard the phrase “head is good,” and there’s a deeper meaning to that snicker-worthy saying. As soon as beer hits the glass, its color, aroma and taste changes. The head acts as a sort of net for the volatiles in the beer that lead to aromas such as hop oils yeast fermentation by-products like esters, spices or other notes you may notice. Different styles have different head retention, so accordingly, different glasses will lead to the most optimal experience of your beer.

Here are ten proper vessels for your favorite beers:

#1 If you are drinking a Belgian IPA, Dubbel, Triple, or Belgian Strong Dark Ale you will want a Goblet.

This wide-mouthed glass is intended to help a beer maintain head, and lets the drinker take deep sips. Goblets are more gentle, with an extended stem, while chalices are heavier and have thicker walls. Some are scored inside to maintain a certain level of head at the top.

#2 If you are drinking an American Lager, Bock, Pilsner, or Blonde Ale you will want a Pilsner glass.

This tall glass showcases carbonation and color, but helps the beer hold its head and enhances its volatiles. It’s the accurate choice for paler Lagers with a lot of carbonation, and unlike a Weizen, a correct Pilsner glass has no curvature.

#3 If you are drinking a Belgian Dark Ale, Double/Imperial Stout, Double/Imperial IPA, India Pale Ale, or Saison you will want a snifter.

More generally associated with brandy, a Snifter glass is a respectable choice for capturing and enhancing aromas and volatiles, making it a solid choice for stronger varieties. Snifter glasses keep all the aroma in, and for big sweet beers it certainly works. You can also swirl these glasses around to release aromas.

#4 If you are drinking a Saison, Scotch Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Strong Ale, or Double/Imperial Stout you will want a tulip glass.

With this curved shape, you get to have a great foamy head while volatiles are captured and heightened. Tulip glasses make aromas so much brighter. If the head is key for a beer, this is a respectable glass to go with. Tulips are preferred for strong brews or high-gravity beers like triples and quads.

#5 If you are drinking a Weizenbock, Wheat Ale, Kristalweizen, or Dunkelweizen you will want a Weizen Glass.

This glass shape, extended and flared at the top, is intended for head and volume. It also helps maintain the beer’s aroma. This variety demonstrates the color and head of wheat beers well, while trapping the sediment often found in them at the narrow bottom of the glass.

#6 If you are drinking an American Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Scottish Ale, Irish Dry Stout, or English Bitter you will want a mug.

This acquainted handled glass makes for laidback drinking and allows for plenty of volume, and helps to keep your beer stay chilled longer because your hand isn’t directly on the glass. A tankard mug has a thick bottom and straight sides, and the stouter krug mug is curved with a dimpled surface.

#7 If you are drinking Biere Brut, Biere de Champagne, Vienna Lager, Lambic, or Flanders Red Ale you will want a flute.

Just as with champagne, a flute glass improves and showcases carbonation in a beer. It also allows for the faster release of volatiles, resulting in a more intense aroma.

#8 If you are drinking a Rye Beer, Lambic, Gueuze, Bock, or Gose you will want a stange.

This tall, slender, up-and-down glass is a traditional German style that allows for a tighter concentration of volatiles. This is a respectable style for more delicate varieties. Do not have one of these nearby? Sub in a Tom Collins glass.

#9 If you are drinking a Double/Imperial IPA, Double/Imperial Stout, India Pale Ale, Brown Ale, or Porter you will want a pint glass.

This glass is known as the standard pub shaker. It makes for easy storage and drinking. A shaker, or American pint glass, is tapered with traditional sides, and a nonic or British Pint has a curved notch about two inches from the rim that makes for easier gripping. An imperial or Irish pint is tapered and curved from the middle up, and usually used for porters and Irish stouts.

#10 If you are drinking a Belgian Dark Ale, Belgian IPA, Saison, Belgian Pale Ale, or American Black Ale you will want an oversized wine glass.

Yes, a wine glass – a big one. A 22-ounce wine glass is great for serving Belgian Ales, the Beer Advocate writes. It can also make do where you might use a tulip or goblet, if you don’t have one on hand.