Beer & Brews

“Beer is far more diverse than wine,” says beer scholar Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery and The Oxford Companion to Beer. He explained why (and shared some of his best beer intel) in F&W’s Lessons from Masters series: “The reason is pretty simple: Brewing is much more like cooking than winemaking.” New breweries popping up all over the world as well as markets and liquor stores stocked with towering shelves of craft beer certainly seem to back up his argument, but as complex and diverse as different pints can seem, there are still two basic families to keep in mind. “Generally speaking, ales are warm-fermented and lagers are cold-fermented,” explains Oliver. “Up until about the 1600s, almost all beers were warm-fermented. The Germans and Czechs were at the forefront of cold fermentation, and actually fermented their beers down in caves, often cutting out blocks of ice during the winter, dragging them down into the caves during the summer to ferment closer to 50 degrees or below.” F&W’s guide to the world’s best beers includes more on the history and of beer and beer styles, editor recommendations for what to drink now, beer pairings and the best tips for beer travel so you can drink great brews and visit breweries across the globe.

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