Updated: May 4
As we bid adieu to summer and the temperatures start to dip a bit, it’s time to take a look at a beer lineup to match the season. Many people equate the darkness of beer with its alcohol content, but many darker beers have similar alcohol levels as a mainstream “light” beer. The darkness of the beer comes from the use of roasted grain, which darkens the beer while adding a delicious roastiness. Not unlike coffee, the darker the roast, the more robust the flavor profile.
Amber – The lightest of the darker beer styles, ambers can range in color from dark honey to something akin to a weak cup of coffee. One of the key examples would be Mexican amber lager, which looks dark, but has a light body, making it a good drinker for warmer fall days.
Brown – Taking on a similar range of the color spectrum, brown beer is a traditional style that has been produced for centuries. A classic expression of the style is England’s Newcastle Brown, which lends its popular flavor profile to the suitability of the local water supply to the style.
Porter – Looking much like a stout, porter can be a mercurial style, exhibiting dark colors from which light cannot escape. There are several sub-categories of porter, but pretty much all of them exhibit a robust character from the addition of dark malts.
Stout – The quintessential dark beer, stout is almost synonymous with Guinness, given the history and incessant marketing of that particular brand. As mentioned previously, stouts are not generally very strong, but many people believe them to be, based on the color.
Imperial Stout – These beers will kick you in the teeth, if you’re not careful. Weighing in at 9-16% alcohol, save them for winter.
Don’t be afraid of the dark. Expand your beer horizons and try something with a little more oomph in flavor, not in alcohol!