Essential ingredients for producing beer include water, cereal grains, yeast and hops. Water accounts for 85-90% of beer content. The best beers are made with germinated barley. The yeast is responsible for the fermentation process. The strain of yeast is important to the style of the finished beer. The hops imparts bitterness and other unique qualities to specific styles of beer. The bitterness in beer is measured in International Bitterness Units (IBUs).
The two major styles of beer are ales and lagers. Ales are made with quickly fermenting top-fermenting yeasts. Lagers are made with a slower bottom-fermenting yeasts.
Pale Ales: Typically bronze or copper colored as opposed to dark brown.
Bitters: A well-hopped ale with good acidity and a hoppy bitterness in the finish.
Porters: Dark in color and strong in flavor, a lighter companion to the stout.
Stouts: Extra dark, almost black in color, made with highly roasted malts.
Wheat or Weisse: Made from what and having a tart, spicy palate.
Pilsner: A classic beer golden in color with a flowery aroma and dry finish.
Bock: German term for strong beer.