Beer 101

Written by Tom Becham


Just What IS Beer Anyway?

It occurred to me that many of the readers of this website may be “beer newbies”. So, while detailed and arcane explanations of brewing gravities, obscure styles of beer, and labeling from long-gone brews may appeal to those of us well-entrenched in Beer Geekery, some more basic writings may also be appropriate.

So, to begin, just what the hell is beer, anyway?

Beer is defined as a fermented grain beverage, usually containing hops. (So, technically, sake is a rice BEER, not a rice WINE.) In the past, to further confuse things, “beer” and “ale” were considered separate things, beer containing hops, ale not containing hops, but some other bittering/preservative agent. Now, however, the umbrella of beer holds under it both lager and ale.

So, what’s the difference between the two?
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