Oktoberfest is approaching with its joyful clinks of glasses, jubilant chants, and an ocean of beer aficionados. This iconic German festival is a celebration of culture, unity, and, of course, beer. But as you prepare to raise your mug, it's worth pondering: Do you know your ales? Whether you're a seasoned beer lover or a curious newbie, this guide is your passport to the vibrant world of ales.
Lightly hopped and mildly flavoured, often accompanied by a nutty undertone. Originating from England, its colour and sweetness varies depending on the region. Notable examples include Manns Brown Ale and Newcastle Brown Ale.
Born from malt dried with coke, pale ale was initially termed for its lighter hue. Over the years, it became synonymous with bitter due to its hopped nature. Interestingly, bottled beers retain the pale ale label while cask varieties are often termed bitter.
India Pale Ale (IPA)
This ale was originally exported to India from England's Bow Brewery. Its increased hops content not only acted as a natural preservative but also set the foundation for the IPA style.
A light-colored pale ale, often termed as a summer bitter. Its alcohol strength typically lies between 3.5% and 5.3%.
Native to Scotland, Scotch ales are malty, strong, and showcase hues from amber to dark red. They're often sweeter and less hoppy than their English counterparts.
A powerful range of ales with an alcohol content between 6% to 12%. Expect tastes of sweet malt, ripe fruit, and occasionally, darker undertones of chocolate and coffee.
Originating as the opposite of old ale, mild ales can be of any strength or colour. Most tend to be dark brown and have a low alcoholic strength.
A dark, sweet ale, it was traditionally used as stock ale. Bass No. 1 stands out as an iconic Burton ale.
Traditional old ales from England were strong beers aged for about a year. Today, the term is broadly used for medium-strong dark beers.
Belgium boasts of diverse speciality ales, high in alcohol but light in body. The use of sucrose instead of the entire grist makes these ales distinct.
An unfiltered, unpasteurised beer, it's conditioned in a cask without any added gas pressure. In the UK, it's often dubbed as real ale.