Beer Styles

Below I've written brief descriptions of some of the beer styles I've brewed at Basement Breweries. For more in depth and official write-ups on beer style, refer to the BJCP Style Guidelines.

North American Pale Ale
The Pale Ales of the Americas descended from the British Pale Ale that was brewed with water high in mineral content allowing a greater extraction of bitter resins from hops. It was referred to as pale, only because it was lighter than the black London Porters of the day. The North American Pale Ale has recently been divided into two distinct styles that have emerged, the Northwest Pale Ale and the Amber Ale.

Northwest Pale Ale
This style of beer emphasizes hop bitterness. It is often golden to amber in colour, with low to medium body and low amounts of caramel flavour. The malt flavour should be moderate in relation to the hops, which often lend citrusy notes from the North American strains of hops used in making this beer.
Local example: Driftwood Pale Ale
Foreign example: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Basement Breweries example: Frontiersman Pale Ale

Amber Ale
A relatively new style of beer, the Amber Ale can have many definitions but is generally a sightly darker, maltier version of a Pale Ale. It should be light copper to light brown in colour and often the balance between malt and hop bitterness leans toward the malt. It has medium to medium-high body and can have moderate to high caramel character.
Local example: Phillips Blue Buck
Foreign example: Stone Levitation Ale
Basement Breweries example: Red Creek Fir Pale Ale,
Treeplanter Amber Ale

India Pale Ale
The history of the India Pale Ale, or IPA, is indeed an interesting one. Brewed in the UK for the British living in colonial India, it was highly hopped and strong in alcohol to preserve it during the long sea voyage. The extremes of temperature and constant agitation from the movement of the sea led to a highly attenuated, and thus potent, beer. Very few true to style British IPAs are produced today, but the North American version has become very popular, especially with hop enthusiasts. IPA's can range from golden to deep copper, and can be clear or cloudy, depending on style. They are generally strong in hop flavour, aroma and bitterness, but need at least a moderate malt character for balance. They are usually medium in body and are often higher in alcohol than other beers, with some Imperial versions exceeding 10% abv.
Local example: Red Racer IPA
Foreign example: Hopworks Urban Brewery IPA, Unearthly Imperial IPA
Basement Breweries example: Steamers IPA, Forestfire IPA, The Half Pounder Double IPA

The first mentions of this beer come from the early 18th century in Britain, where it was said to be popular with porters and other labourers and thereby acquired its name. Porters can have many different characteristics,  but are generally dark in colour and take their roasted character from dark malts as opposed to unmalted barley, which characterizes a stout. Several sub-categories exist such as robust, brown, and baltic porters.
Local example: Driftwood Blackstone Porter
Foreign example: Fuller's London Porter
Basement Breweries example: Beast of Burden Brown Porter

 A descendant of the porter, stout may have taken its name from the fact its body was originally richer, or more "stout" than other porters, or from the fact that stronger porter's were known as "Stout Porters." Whatever the case, stouts are very dark, often creamy and always take much of their character from unmalted, roasted barley. Different styles of Stout are more varied even than that of porter, and include Irish stout, foreign extra stout, milk stout and oatmeal stout.
Local example: Lighthouse Keeper's Stout
Foreign example: Guinness, Pike XXXXX Stout
Basement Breweries example: Woodsplitter Espresso Stout, The Beard of Zeus Imperial Stout

A very strong beer with an abv often in excess of 10%, similar to the potency of a wine. It often has a strong fruity aroma and can range from copper to dark brown in colour. It is generally  full bodied with a high residual malty sweetness and an obvious alcohol presence. The main distinction between the American and British styles, apart from the specific hops and malt used, is the greater emphasis on hop character seen in many American examples of the style.
Local example: Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller
Foreign example: Flyers Kentucky Uberwine
Basement Breweries example: Philosopher's Stone Barleywine