A "catch-all" category of ales that has a broad spectrum of attributes, amber or red ales encompass those hard to classify beers with more color than an American pale ale but less than a brown ale (the amber to copper range). Because of their diversity, amber ales can have low to high malty character (although most are moderate to high with caramel representing the most common component of both aroma and flavor) and a hop level (citrus aromas and flavors common) that is anywhere from supporting and balanced to aggressive. The mouthfeel of an amber ale is heavier than an American pale ale and the roasted character nearly absent relative to an Irish red ale.
Silver Eagle brands: Budweiser American Ale, Red Hook Copperhook, Widmer Drop Top, Fischer, AB InBev Hop Hound, Red Hook ESB, Red Tail Ale and St. Arnolds Amber Ale.
INDIA PALE ALEs (IPAs)
Originally brewed in the 18th century to survive sea bound exportation from Imperial England to British troops in colonial India, imperial pale ales (or IPAs) exploited the preservative qualities of hops by using more of them. Although the first versions were considered highly hopped at the time, today's IPAs now include significantly bolder and even bitterer American versions of this English original. The IPA is a medium-bodied, maltier, and hoppier version of the pale ale with flavors and aromas typical of English malt and hop varieties (caramel, toffee, biscuity, toasty, light fruitiness, floral, earthy), as well as of American malt and hop varieties (citrus, caramel, piney, resinous, and some fruitiness). IPAs can range in color from pale amber to reddish copper and typically have good head retention, leaving behind great lacing in the glass. The alcohol content of IPAs is normally between 5 and 7.5%.
Silver Eagle brands: Widmer Broken Halo IPA, St. Arnolds Elissa IPA, Red Hook Long Hammer, Michelob Rye-PA, Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada Harvest, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra, Widmer W'10 Pitch Black IPA and Mendocino White Hawk IPA.
Imperial porters are a new and emerging American beer style, and are - as their name suggests - porters of higher malt, alcohol, and sometimes hop strength. They add to their base style qualities thicker mouthfeels, increased warmth from the alcohol content, and richer flavor. Many imperial porters are significantly hopped and can have alcohol levels of 10% ABV or even higher. They are distinguished from baltic porters in that they are always ales (although some Baltic porters are ales), and are more intense in their roasted and bitter flavors.
Silver Eagle brands: Sierra Nevada Porter Ale, Kona Pipeline Porter and Fuller's London Porter.
Dry stouts (often referred to as Irish Stouts) are mahogany brown to black in appearance and normally feature a generous tan to brown head with excellent retention. The aromas and flavors normally consist of roasted barley, coffee, caramel, chocolate, and sometimes astringent and / or acidic qualities. As their name suggests, the finish is typified by a bitter dryness that complements the underlying creaminess of the body. The bitterness, dryness, and acidity should never dominate to the point of removing the smooth quality of these beers.
Silver Eagle brands: Murphy's Irish Stout, Bare Knuckle Stout, Saint Arnold Winter Stout and Rogue Chocolate Stout.
The feature summer ale of Southern Germany (Bavaria), the hefeweizen (or "weissbier") is brewed with wheat malt (at least 50%) and light Pilsner malt. The resulting product features a balanced ester (normally banana) and phenolic (normally clove) flavor that is achieved from the yeast used to brew these beers. The appearance of this unfiltered beer ("mit hefe" means "with yeast") is pale golden to amber in color with light to heavy cloudiness and a very generous, fluffy, and long lasting white head. Citrus and basic wheat grain elements (even bubblegum) often accompany the feature flavors, while hops contribute a very minor role. The Hefeweizen is the lightest of the Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen, and Weizenbock series of German Wheat beers.
Silver Eagle brands: Hacker-Pschorr Weisse, Pyramid Haywire, Konig Ludwig Weiss, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen, Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, Kona Wailua Wheat and Widmer Hefeweizen.
The term lager comes from the German word, "lagern," which means to store away (cellar). Lagers are brewed using bottom fermenting yeasts at cool temperatures near 50-55F. The lager yeasts produce less byproducts than ale yeasts and normally result in a more simple and crisp flavor. The lower temperatures require longer fermentation periods and these beers are then stored away for weeks (at about 35F) before maturing.
Silver Eagle brands: Asahi Super Dry, Sapparo, Cooper's Lager, Kronenbourg 1664 and Dundee Honey Brown Lager.
A deep golden (Helles Bocks & Maibocks) to brown (Traditional Bocks) colored lager, which originated in the German town of Einbeck as early as the 14th century. After being resurrected in Munich three centuries later, this style errantly became known as "bock" (which also means "billy-goat" in German) instead of "beck." The bock beer is malty rich and sweet (but not overly sweet) and typically contains bready, toasted, even caramel flavors that are in some cases lightly balanced but never overcome by hops. The alcohol level is higher than the average beer but does not dominate the aroma or flavor. The body of a bock is medium to just under full-bodied. The smooth character of a lager should come through in the bock.
Silver Eagle brands: Sierra Nevada Glissade Bock, Rogue Dead Guy, Hacker-Pschorr Weisse Dark and St. Arnolds Spring Bock.
Bohemian / Czech PILSENSER
The Bohemian Pilsner is a golden, pale colored lager originating in 1842 in the Czech Republic and which was later adopted by German brewers who created their own German Pilsner style. (Ultimately, a good majority of the world's pale lagers distantly resemble a Pilsner in their base style.) The poured Pilsner can be a beautiful site as they are often brilliantly clear, display significant carbonation in the glass, and crowned with fluffy white pillowy heads. They are brewed mostly with pils malts and European / German noble hop varieties, Saaz being a key component of the original Bohemian versions. The aromas and flavors display grainy and sometimes biscuit-like malts (honey and sulfur-like accents are not abnormal); yet normally feature most prominently a firm hop presence which can yield a strong bitterness and floral, spicy, or grassy qualities. The mouth feels are typically medium to medium-high in carbonation with a crisp and even dry finish.
Silver Eagle brands: Bitburger, Caguama, Czechvar, Paulaner Premium Pilsner, St. Arnolds Summer Pilsner and Warsteiner Beer.
Ciders are produced from fermenting apple juice. They are not beers, as they lack a grain malt (like barley, wheat, or rye), but many beer enthusiasts happen to enjoy them anyway. While ciders are derived from fruit, they should not be overwhelmingly fruity (just as a wine is not overly fruity, despite being derived from grapes). The flavors of these fermented beverages range from dry to sweet and often take on acidic qualities. Various adjuncts can be added to achieve higher alcohol levels and additional fruits are sometimes used to supplement the flavor profile. Perries are a similar class of fermented fruit beverages, but they are made from pears instead of apples.
Silver Eagle brands: Woodchuck Granny Smith, Woodchuck Pear and Wyder's Apple/Peach.