Next up would be the European Styles of beer.
These are not grouped together because of the use of European malts or hops but rather because they can not be separated from their European origin no matter where it is brewed. A weissbier will always have you order your second pint in German.
The Reinheitsgebot has but one loophole and this allows for the use of wheat in weizens and by the sixteenth century wheat beer was solidly established as a regional specialty in Bavaria. Brewed with 50-60% malted wheat and the balance of malted barley, these beers are pale to deep golden with a definite yeasty haze. They are lightly hopped with no apparent hop aroma. Carbonation levels are high and because of the protein content of wheat, the beer should have a dense, meringue-like head.
Origin: Munich, Germany; originally a monopoly of the royal family.
Flavor: Light graininess, not much in the way of hops; highly carbonated
Aroma: Fruity (bubble gum, bananas), spicy (cloves)
Balance: dry malty/grainy
Body: thick but dry
Color: Straw to pale amber
Bitterness: Low (10-15 IBU)
Originally brewed by farmhouse breweries for agricultural workers to sustain them in their summer “season” of labor. One of the defining things about the style is the yeast that can tolerate very high fermentation temperatures - up to 30 degrees, this would lead to other beer to be undrinkable.
Origin: French speaking part of Belgium
Flavor: Creamy pale malt, clean hops, slight tang, may use spices. very crisp and dry on the palate.
Aroma: complex, peppery spice, hints of malt, hops
Balance: super-dry, with clean hoppy finish
Color: gold to amber
Bitterness: medium to high (20-45 IBU)
Witbeers were the first hopped beers, although ironically today they are thought of as one of the few styles for which seasonings other than hops are essential.
Flavor: Dry creaminess; soft, acidic finish
Aroma: Spicy yeast plus subtle notes of orange and coriander and possibly hints of other spices.
Balance: Dry, a touch tart
Body: Dry to Medium
Color: pale straw to gold, hazy
Bitterness: Low to medium (15-22 IBU)
All that is left then is the Dark side of beer…the stouts, porters and dunkels..to follow shortly
(Post adapted from Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher…..Great book to read for anybody with a interest in beer)