Do you happen to live in the land of the free and love beer? Then visit your favourite pub or bar and enjoy some American beers because today is American Beer Day! Every October 27 beer drinkers across the United States celebrate National American Beer Day.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States, with over 2100 breweries that range from giants like Budweiser to smaller brewer pubs and microbreweries. Today, the United States ranks second in the world in terms of beer consumption and production, producing more than 6 billion gallons every year.
History of American Beer
Today is the day for beer-lovers to show their appreciation for that golden elixir. In that spirit, let’s take a moment to learn about the history of beer production in the United States. Historical evidence shows that the Native Americans were brewing beer using corn before the migration of Europeans took place. However, beer was not always beloved by many in the United States. There was a time when the laws in the country prohibited the Americans to walk into a bar and order beer.
During the “Prohibition” era in the United States, the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors were banned. The inclusion of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1919 allowed for private consumption, possession and production of intoxicating liquids. However, people started manufacturing liquors illegally within the confines of their private homes and in some cases, smuggled them across the state lines. Such incidences forced Congress to pass the 21st Amendment in 1933, ending the period of the Prohibition.
While there are many types of beers across the U.S., American style lager is the most common style. It is a type of a pale lager that was brought to the U.S. by the German immigrants. There are also other styles of beer that you can try, especially on this boozy day. Before you head over to your regular bar, let’s take a moment to learn some of the famous American beers.
1. American IPA
With a moderate to strong content (5.5 – 7.5%) of alcohol, American IPA tops this list for a reason. Its fruity, piney and citrusy hoppiness will heighten your sense to the bitter palate, giving it a dry finish. Today, it has become one of the most popular beers in the world, with examples such as AleSmith IPA, Maine Beer Lunch, Russian River Blind Pig and Alpine Beer Company Duet.
The variation styles also include black IPA, white IPA, red IPA, Belgian IPA, rye IPA. With its tropical kick, American IPA makes a great choice to compliment some of the delicious dishes out there, such as ahi tuna steak, barbacoa burritos, and even a simple cheeseburger.
2. American Pale Ale
Unlike the American IPA, pale ales contain from low to moderate alcohol (4.5 – 6.2%). They have a more floral hoppiness with a slight bitterness, giving them a malty taste that makes them less assertive. Similar to the American IPAs, pale ales are brewer’s favourite and indeed a perfect choice among drinkers who has an extended pending tab.
Some of the favourite examples include Half Acre Daisy Cutter, 3 Floyds Zombie Dust, Maine Beer Peeper Ale, Flying Dog Doggie Style and Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale. Pale ales compliment a lot of dishes, from street to gourmet, and they also make an excellent ingredient for certain dishes such as Beef Stew with Pale Ale.
3. Double IPA / Imperial IPA
As the name implies, the booze factor of Double IPA is strong to super-strong (7.5 – 10%). From hoppiness, maltiness to fruitiness, DIPA has it all. This style was created with more hop oomph in mind, using double the amount of ingredients per batch to obtain the results.
Some prime examples of DIPAs are Russian River Pliny the Elder, Alchemist Heady Topper, Bell’s Hopslam, Stone Enjoy by IPA and Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA. With a DIPA and a chunk of BBQ pork in your both hands, nothing can go wrong. In other words, DIPA goes great with anything on grill.
4. Cream Ale
Cream ale contains from low-moderate to moderate (4.2 – 5.6%) alcohol content. Cream ale is brewed with easy-drinking in mind. With a slight of hoppiness and malt sweetness, it is light and crisp. Cream ale contains no dairy which makes it a go-to choice for lactose-intolerant drinkers out there.
Examples of cream ale include New Glarus Spotted Cow, Sixpoint Sweet Action, AleSmith Cream Ale and St-Ambroise Cream Ale. This beer practically goes with everything. Burger, hot dog, popcorn, you name it, it is hard to think of any food situation where cream ale wouldn’t be an option.
5. American amber ale
With an alcoholic content between 4.5 to 6.2%, American amber ale has a malty backbone to it. You can think of American amber ale as a style that goes in between an IPA and a pale, but with a darker colour.
Some of the favourites are North Coast Red Seal, Green Flash Hop Head Red and Troegs Nugget Nectar. From gourmet dishes such as beef Wellington to delivery pizza, cream ale goes with almost everything.
6. California common beer
With a booze factor between 4.5 to 5.5%, California common beers have different degrees of hoppiness with a well-balanced maltiness to them. Some of the common examples are Anchor Steam, Otter Creek Steampipe and Port City Brewing Derecho.
As the name implies, this beer is perfect for any Californian dishes such as ceviche or chicken salad and grilled pork chops, best enjoyed while breathing the Californian summer breeze.
7. American brown ale
American brown ale contains from low-moderate to moderate (4.3 – 6.2%) alcohol. This style is a malt-driven beer, similar to its English predecessor, but with increased flavours of American hops of fruitiness. Some of the examples include Cigar City Maduro brown ale, AleSmith Nut Brown and Bell’s Best Brown. Brown ale works best with anything cheese and of course, pizza.
8. American barley wine
Strong and super strong is how you describe American barley wine. With the booze factor between 8 to 12%, this style is certainly not for the weak. American barley wine has a big hop and maltiness to it, with a mild fruitiness and a bitter finish.
Take note that barley wine is best served at room temperature, so allow it to rest a bit before you pop that cork. Some of the examples are Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Knee Deep Stow the Croze and Prairie Beer Wasteland. Believe it or not, this beer is perfect for deep blue cheese-inspired dishes and desserts such as flourless chocolate cake.
Now that you have known all the styles of American beer, it is time to call your friends and head over to your regular pub and slurp that golden elixir of yours in style.