Exploring the Indigenous American Beer Styles

Beer styles native to the United States have been around for centuries, and have evolved over time. From Amber Ale and Cream Ale to California Common, American Pale Ale, American IPA, India Pale Lager, Black IPA, and American Double or Imperial IPA, there is a wide variety of beer styles that have been developed in the US. In 1994, John Kimmich moved from Pittsburgh to Burlington and came under the tutelage of Greg Noonan. Kimmich is credited with creating New England IPA or “misty”, Heady Topper in 2004, a year after opening The Alchemist Pub & Brewery.

It took some time for the substyle to become popular in New England and in the American craft beer ecosystem in general. For a time, Heady Topper was the region's white whale beer, the one that could only be achieved by tracking or tracing delivery trucks to Alchemist retail accounts. Greg Noonan facilitated the birth of NEIPA, but it was John Kimmich who made it popular. Kimmich's innovation included unshelled German malts, without roasted bitterness, which kept the beer dark and creamy while allowing the hop profile to shine through.

Nowadays, it takes a good and demanding palate to find well-made black IPAs that demand a place in the beer fridge. El Jefe, the black Christmas IPA from Alchemist is a good example of this style. Creamy beers have the same light and crunchy body as lager beers, with the added advantage that they are prepared faster. They are also one of the only styles native to the United States. Genesee Cream Ale is an iconic example of this style.

Modern creamed beers aren't the same as historic beers, but they're as close as we can get. Unlike creamy beer, Kentucky Common includes dark and caramelized malts in the mix. It has an amber orange to brown color and a creamier flavor profile than creamy beer. The two styles met at the arrival of Prohibition and you can still find Kentucky Commons on the market today. The history of one of the most popular styles of beer in American craft brewing over the past decade goes back even further. The Brewers Association's brewing style guidelines are intended for educational purposes by brewer guilds and associations, educational institutions, home brewers, commercial brewers and beer drinkers around the world. American blond beers and pale wheat beers have long served drinkers as a gateway to more intensely flavored beers.

Amber and red American beers tend to have more caramelized, roasted, or lightly roasted malt flavors, along with the same citrus and floral profile of American hops. The name American Strong Ale is mainly used as an addition to strong beers that don't fit perfectly into another style. Most of the time, those hops will bear the earthy, floral, and herbaceous stamp of European hops, but beers bearing the imperial name of pilsner can also boast the bright citrus flavor of American hops. Some believe that tribes have been making soft fermented beverages for a millennium, but hops weren't introduced to Native Americans until Europeans arrived. Steam beer grew out of attempts to produce lager beers without the help of cooling normally required for lager beer production in warmer climates. The use of these organisms is not limited to any type of base beer style throughout the universe of American wild beers. In a nutshell, this beer taught us balance, and that lesson has shaped American craft beer culture for the past forty years and has made American Pale Ale an integral part of its identity. He bought a majority stake in San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Company in 1965 and eventually...