Recently I was a local beer fest sampling some great craft beer (out of some beautiful beer glasses) when a passer-by stopped to ask the brewer of the local beer I was sampling a very good question. What is the difference between a Pale Ale (like the one I was sampling) and a lager? After listening to his answer and doing some thinking about this on my own, I thought that is a great question…But,  maybe the better question to ask would be, what is the difference between an Ale and a Lager? There are many different styles of each, both can be dark, light, stronger or weaker depending on the ingredients and brew processes.

The brewer explained the processes and I am going to do my best to sum it up…Evidently, the main difference between and Ale and a Lager is the yeast that is used to make each come from a different group. Lagers are made from colder fermenting yeast and that leaves a much less “yeasty” taste than those that are warmer fermenting used in Ales. Ales have what can be described as a much more fruity taste due to the yeast and the taste it provides. So as an example, I enjoy a strong fruity Dutch Ale in the winter when it is cold outside. These strong ales can warm you from the inside out just like red wine. Lagers are usually described as a much more clean taste and allow the flavor of the beer’s hops to shine through.  Lagers can be brewed to be much more subtle in taste and alcohol. I usually go to light lagers when I know I will be drinking for a few hours like on the beach or at a cook out. 

Ale as a style of beer has been around much longer than lagers. Ales are thousands of years old; the technology to brew a lager at colder temperatures was just simply not around back when beer was first being brewed. Also, ales are brewed much faster than lagers, think weeks vs. months.  Lastly, I think, and this is just one person’s opinion, that a lager is much better served cold, like right out of a cooler of ice on a summer day and an ale is better served closer to cool just a little less than room temperature. Not sure why, but I can pick up a lot more of an ale’s nuances at a warmer temperature. 

I hope this quick guide helps you understand the difference between an ale and a lager. I am by no means an expert, just a guy who enjoys good craft beer. I am passionate about good beer and I believe that good beer should be enjoyed out of a proper beer glass. There are many different beer glasses designed to accompany many styles of beer. Pouring a beer in a beer glass wakes it from its sleep inside that bottle. (Just think about wine, we do not drink it right from the bottle!)  To learn which beer glasses and beer glassware are intended for particular brews, check us out at www.brewglasses.com.  

 
 
Beer is one of the oldest and most widely enjoyed beverages in the world. There is evidence of beer dating back to the 5th millennium BC! This history was recorded by the ancient Egyptians. The ancient Chinese were brewing beer as far back as 6,000 years ago.  In ancient Sumatra the world’s oldest surviving beer recipe was discovered and is said to be 3,900 years old.

Beer glasses in one form or another have been around since beer was first brewed; from the Germans with their steins to the pub glasses of England, Ireland and America. Beer glasses have varied widely across regions and times, but beer glasses have always been a vital part of the beer drinking experience.

Not only has beer been enjoyed for millennia, it also has been proven to have great health benefits.  Beer has been shown to have many of the same health benefits as wine. Studies show that moderate consumption of beer reduces chances of strokes, heart and cardiovascular disease. As a matter of fact, the grains in beer contain vitamins and antioxidants that survive the brewing and filtering processes better than the antioxidants in wine.  It also important to note that beer has one of the highest energy contents of any food or drink, so drinking moderate amounts of beer can actually help you lose weight! Not only can beer help you lose weight, it also has the power to help reverse cellular damage. It has been found that consumption of dark beer is a great reversal of natural cellular damage that occurs in the body. Hops are a big factor in these health benefits, hops are loaded with polyphenols; and hoppy brews help fight cancer, lower cholesterol and kill viruses. So, next time you are searching for a gift for that heard to shop for person keep in mind that there are many great beer gift ideas, from actual craft beers to beer glass sets, give the gift of health and happiness!

OK, so you know that beer has been around since ancient times and has great health benefits, but how about the famous people through history who have advocated beer consumption?  Famous people and beer date back to the time that history was recorded…Plato in ancient Greece was quoted as saying “he was a wise man who invented beer.” Ben Franklin has been cited with the famous line “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Even Winston Churchill, while Secretary of War in 1944, stated “Make sure that the beer – four pints a week – goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop.”  So in point of fact beer has played a pivotal role in the history of the world and with some it’s most notable people.  Just as beer and the people that drink it have evolved so have the beer glasses that serve this fine drink. Beer glasses today are designed to bring out the colors, aromas and carbonation of a beer and maximize the experience. A good beer glass set that is carefully put together is a great beer gift idea and will allow a person to enjoy a whole array of different styles of beer the way that beer was intended to be drank by its maker.

The beer industry today is as strong as ever. There are 5 major brewers that control most of the beer consumption in the United States. The 5 largest brewers in the US in order are:

1.Anheuser-Busch Inc. 
2. Miller Coors Brewing Co. 
3. Pabst 
4. D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc. 
5. Boston Beer Co. 

However, the numbers of craft brewers are growing quickly in the Unites States. There were 1,759 registered breweries in the US operating during 2010. This number has grown from under 100 breweries in just 30 years! Small independent brewers make up this sharp increase in brewery numbers. These brewers care about their products, ingredients and take great pride in their craft. They want to share their brews with consumers that truly appreciate them. A growing number of brewers is a great thing for the beer industry. (An industry currently controlled by the major players that use multi-million dollar mass marketing and inferior processed ingredients to sale quantity not quality. Not all brewers above are guilty of this, but none the less, a major change needed in the industry. ) It is my hope that this influx of smaller brewers will increase competition, take the majority market share from the majors and force them to re-tool their strategies and create better products. This can help open the eyes of the American public to how enjoyable a good craft beer can be!

So, go out and enjoy yourself a delicious beer in a proper beer glass. Remember to use moderation and try and choose a good craft beer with high quality ingredients. If you are not sure what beer glass goes best with a certain brew there are many complete beer glass sets being sold online and they make great beer gift ideas. Cheers!

 
 
Check out the quick video below we found on How Cast . They did a great job of teaching what beer pairs with its proper glass. Good production value too!
 
 
Stein is short for steinzeugkrug, meaning tankard. The traditional steins came about around the 14th century during the times of the bubonic plague. Steins are made with lids on them and were originally done so to keep out the disease carrying flies.  A stein can be made out of many things: stone, porcelain, pewter, ceramics, glass and more. Many steins have pictures on them of scenes, occupations, special events, symbols of royalty, family crests, etc. There are some very beautiful steins out there and if you have never checked any out I encourage you to go online and search for them. As a matter of fact, writing this post has educated me more on the fact that there are some serious stein collectors out there. 
 Check out www.steincollectors.com. There are some gorgeous steins there. I think I might order one of their glass ones for my collection!

The stein has always been one of my personal favorite beer glasses. It goes great with just about any brew and is a versatile piece. A stein makes one of the best beer gift ideas as well...Cheers!
 
 
Headquartered in Breendonk, Belguim the Duvel Moortgat Brewery was founded in 1871. It is best known for its signature Belgium Blonde Ale Duvel.  According to the Duvel Moortgat website in the 1906's they were the first company that used the Tulip Glass . This brilliantly designed glass helped to trademark its signature brew and put Duvel on the international beer map. The webiste described their Tulip Shaped Glass the following way: 
"This innovative glass, reminiscent of a wine glass, had to be able to hold the contents of an entire 33 cl bottle. Up until then, there had never been such a large beer glass. The glass is specifically designed to offer a more complete experience of the beer. The rounded shape allows Duvel's exquisite flavour and aroma to be fully experienced by the drinker. The way in which the glass narrows towards the top also helps retain the carbonation, therefore preserving the head." 

This helped pioneer a craft beer movement...The glass does matter! 
 
 
Check out this great video on How to Host a Craft Beer tasting in your home. This video is done by the folks at Craftbeer.com. They are an exceptional resource in the growing craft beer industry. You can learn a lot from them. Check them out at www.craftbeer .com. 

The Home Craft beer tasting Video can found here:
http://www.craftbeer.com/pages/beer-and-food/host-a-tasting/at-home 


One major lesson they teach in the video; craft beer is meant to be enjoyed from a beer glass.
 
 
There were 1,759 registered breweries in the US operating during 2010. This number has grown from under 100 breweries in just 30 years! Small independent brewers make up this sharp increase in brewery numbers. These brewers care about their products, ingredients and take great pride in their craft. They want to share their brews with consumers that truly appreciate them.

A growing number of brewers is a great thing for the industry. (An industry currently controlled by the major players that use multi-million dollar mass marketing and inferior ingredients to sale quantity not quality.) It is my hope that this influx of smaller brewers will increase competition, take the majority market share from the majors and force them to re-tool their strategies and create better products. This can help open the eyes of the American public to how enjoyable a good craft beer can be!