Beer. The ingredients are the same: Grains - dried in a process called malting, water, hops (seed cones) and yeast for fermentation. Line wine, the beer variety is determined by the processing and type of these ingredients.
Although a true definition is hard to pin down, it generally refers to relatively small, independently-owned commercial breweries that use traditional brewing methods. Their claim to fame is unique, quality beers.
Until the 1840’s lagers were primarily dark, (and still are in some countries). But today’s largest beer market is pale lager. Aged longer it offers a smooth, crisp flavor. It is served cold, perfect on a hot summer day.
India Pale Ale was originally brewed by England to be exported to India. Although most likely a myth, as a strongly hopped ale, it was said to last longer on those arduous voyages, and was highly regarded by India. American IPA beers are quite different from the original. Ranging from a pale gold to reddish amber, they are more flavorful and bitter, with big herb or citrus flavors.
Modern day ales have evolved to include a secondary level of flavor to the palate, with fruit and malt undertones. More complex, and sometimes they are said to be more bitter (than a lager for example). But with such a wide variety—Pale, Irish Red, Scotch Ales, Honey, and Nut Browns, one can usually find an ale that suits his or her’s taste.
Considered as more specialty beers in today’s American culture. Porter, an ancestor of Stout beer is typically considered an Irish style beer. Both Porters and Stouts are usually dark and more bitter beers. Roasted grains add bitterness to the flavors of coffee and toast.
To accommodate either your own taste or those of your guests, the basic rule of thumb is the lighter the beer (in flavor and color) the lighter the food (mild flavored fish) for example. More robust flavored food can stand a more robust beer.
The glass is class! Just like wine. There are all kinds of glassware to bring out the best in the beer. Just as for red wines, wide open-mouthed pub glasses are best for robust ales and stouts so you get the “nose”, aromas at the top as you drink. The traditional hourglass shape is often used for lagers and pale ales.