Author: Don Russell

Don Russell is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and host of Joe Sixpack’s Happy Hour on WPHT 1210AM.

Russian Imperial Stout: The Grandest of All Beer Styles? Style Profile by

Catherine the Great had a passion for the brownest, strongest Porter from London’s great Anchor brewery. It was this ale that would eventually evolve into possibly the grandest of all beer styles.

Faro: Belgium’s Original “Sweet-tart” Style Profile by

In its heyday, Faro was the go-to drink of Belgium. It was light and refreshing, and, the French notwithstanding, a pleasant respite.

Cascadian Dark Ale / Black IPA: Rule-Breaking Innovation Style Profile by

CDA must be something more than a simple IPA that happens to be black, and must be brewed with the Northwest’s distinctively aromatic hops, including Amarillo, Centennial, Chinook and, yes, Cascade.

Malt Liquor: The Definition of a Cheap Buzz Style Profile by

Craft beer, this is not. Yet, there is a certain fascination with malt liquor among some craft brewers.

Double IPA: San Diego’s Pale Ale Style Profile by

If India Pale Ale gets its name from its legendary ability to withstand the month-long sea voyage from England to Bombay some 200 years ago, what should we call the new breed of super-hoppy American IPAs?

Asian Lager: A Great Leap Backward Style Profile by

The stuff they’re drinking today throughout the region is a pale, light-bodied, mostly uninteresting industrial brew that’s known roughly as Asian lager.

Bock: Spring’s Dark, Malty, Seasonal Style Profile by

A bartender, explaining the appeal of Bock, told one newspaper reporter simply, “It makes a feller feel good sooner.” It was enough to put a smile on your face, even in the midst of the Great Depression.

Rye Beer: Spicy, Subtle, and Complex Style Profile by

Often, the grain is used to give a new twist to a classic style. When you get it just right, its spicy tang plays on a nutty, chocolate-like background with just a touch of coffee.

American Pale Wheat: It’s All in the Yeast Style Profile by

Deservedly or not, American wheat ale is the whipping boy for Bavarian Hefeweizen … but it turns out, that’s not such a bad thing.

Berliner Weisse: Champagne of the North Style Profile by

The style probably dates to the 16th or 17th century and was so renowned that Napoleon’s troops supposedly called it the “Champagne of the North.”

Gueuze: A Taste of Place Style Profile by

As with the “terroir” of wine-making regions, the aroma and flavor of this unusual beer is a direct result of the place in which it was brewed.

American Pale Ale: Beer’s Cascadian Renaissance Style Profile by

Added in the final stages of brewing to accentuate their aroma, the hops boldly announce their arrival by smothering the nose with a fresh wallop of citrus and freshly cut grass. Their grapefruit-like flavor rides proudly above the malt, biting the palate in an unapologetically bitter finish.

Maibock: A Light Bock or a Heavy Helles? Style Profile by

The difference between Maibock and Helles Bock? None, other than the former is what we call the latter when the calendar pages turn to spring.

Kristalweizen: A Reluctant Lawnmower Beer Style Profile by

The good news is that, even without all that cloudy yeast and wheat sediment, crystal-clear Kristall Weiss still offers much of the signature aroma and flavor of a German wheat beer.

Irish Stout: The Product of Evolution Style Profile by

Over 250 years, Dublin’s famous Stout has evolved and morphed so many times, it’s impossible to get a handle on the ale.

Oud Bruin: The Sour Wonder Style Profile by

Also know as Flemish Brown Ale, the variety is marked by a distinct piquant tartness that is produced by Lactobacillus, an aggressive bacteria that infects the ale during fermentation.

Pre-Prohibition Lager: More Nostalgic Than Authentic Style Profile by

Pre-Pro Lager is a glossy dream, a wistful look back to a style that largely never existed. The truth is that, by the time Prohibition was enacted, American brewers were already on the road to ruin.

Double Witbier: More of Everything Style Profile by

Crisp, divinely flavored with coriander and orange peels, spicy and fruity. Typically made with unmalted wheat and perhaps oats, it is left unfiltered to produce a hazy, pale color with a billowing white cloud of foam.

English IPA: History in a Glass Style Profile by

The story behind this style not only recalls the creation of one of the world’s great brewing capitals in Burton-on-Trent, but it harkens the triumph of the British empire, a living, breathing emblem of might and power.

Milk / Sweet Stout: Not Quite What the Doctor Ordered Style Profile by

Creamy and wholesome and chocolaty as that glass of Nesquik you used to dunk your Oreos into, Milk Stout—aka Cream Stout or Sweet Stout—seemingly comes straight from the dairy.

Tripel: The Best of the Best Style Profile by

Tripel what? It’s not three times the alcoholic strength of a basic beer, nor the gravity, nor the malt, nor the hops. It has nothing to do with its process of fermentation or even its price.

German Pils: Beautifully Bitter Style Profile by

The southeastern corner of Pennsylvania has emerged as a hotbed of craft-brewed Pilsners. Specifically, the crisp and bitter northern German-style Pils.

Irish Red Ale: Neither Hoppy Nor Malty Style Profile by

Irish Red Ale is a style without any real edges. It is neither hoppy nor particularly malty. It is satisfying, not provocative.

American Porter: A Patriotic Beer Style Profile by

Today’s American Porter is roastier, hoppier, stronger and—for the patriotic drinkers—better.