If you’re well and truly confused by all the different terminology surrounding craft beer, well … you’re not alone.
It’s often quite hard to even decide on your preferred choice at a craft beer venue, with all the differing terminology, let alone trying to describe the myriad (and amazing) tastes that different styles can create.
Who of you hasn’t been in the city and gone to order a basic round of beers, and one minute you’re standing in line wondering why you’ve doubled-up on a shout, and the next you’re smacked in the face by the judging eyes of a hipster bartender who is anticipating a prompt transaction?
You’re paralysed. Your order immediately changes from four lagers and a pack of plain crisps to the panic purchase of four vodka Red-Bulls, a pack of Tally-Hos and a brochure for the best tattoo artist in the inner-west.
We reckon there are a few buzz words to help you navigate the murky underworld of skinny jeans, pencil thin moustaches, manicured beards and craft beer that will make your experience that little more enjoyable and potentially save you from an expensive tattoo removal.
Buzz word #1 – Malty: the term to describe the level of malt in the beer – malt driven flavours being sweetness, roasty, nuts, toffee, caramel, toast and fruit. The beers with higher malt flavours would be in the colour range of copper to dark brown; think Amber or Brown Ales.
Buzz word #2 Hoppy: similar to malty, this describes the level of hops in a beer. Hop flavours and the way in which they are used in the brew produce flavour, aroma and bitterness. Galaxy Hop can produce a bitterness or a passionfruit aroma, while Citra is used primarily to produce floral and citrus aromas.
Buzz word #3 Bitterness: the sensation on the back of the tongue which may linger, or be described as “resiny”.
Learn more through a casual,”What is the IBU of that beer”, which stands for International Bitterness Units – a scale of indicating the hop bitterness in finished beer.
Buzz word #4 Carbonation: big bubbles, little bubbles, fizziness. Beer can be gassed with carbon dioxide or bottle/keg conditioned: where beer obtains its carbonation naturally through fermentation, as opposed to forced carbonation, where the beer is gassed with pressurised carbon dioxide.
Buzz word(s) #5 Balanced/Unbalanced: the descriptor of the level of well-roundedness of the above elements. For unbalanced, think of your Uncle Barry’s home brew.
Buzz word(s) #6 Mouth Feel: the sensation the beer creates while drinking. For example, mouth coating, astringent, powdery, carbonation level, warming, velvety.
Buzz word(s) #8 Craft vs Mainstream vs Home brew i.e. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.
We had a whole extra chapter of riveting buzz words stored in our pickled brains, but the phone hasn’t stopped ringing from Jimmy @ FOCUS Mag. He’s throwing us heat after yet another vastly overdue article. Jimmy. Relax, J.
Before we get ourselves into trouble … until next time.
Drink less; taste more!