Summits Wayside Taverns - Home
Check out our menuCome on down!More about Summits Wayside TavernNews and EventsHave a little fun!Promotions and MerchandiseContact Us!Map of entire websiteSummits Wayside Taverns - Home




Cordials & Liqueurs










E-mail List

Summits Wayside Taverns - Home

Learn more about Beer:

Although it's one of the oldest and most universally available beverages, there is still much about beer that most folks don't know. We'll try to give you a few facts to increase the appreciation of your next pint.

First, there are only two categories of beer: Ales and Lagers. "Beer" is a generic term that can be applied to both. The difference between Ale and Lager is mostly in the type of yeast used for fermentation and the temperature at which it works.

Ales -
Ales are brewed using a "top-fermenting" yeast. That is, most of the yeast floats on top of the wort (unfermented beer) while it does its yeasty thing. Ale yeast works best at between 50-75 degrees Fahrenheit and uses a fairly short fermentation period, usually 10-21 days depending on beer style.
The result is a beer with complex background flavors and aromas. Ales should be served cool (not cold!). This allows that complexity to be fully enjoyed. You may often detect fruity aromas, buttery flavors, and even a burnt character depending on the beer style.
There are many styles of beers which are in the ale category. Some examples are: Pale Ale, Bitter and ESB, Porter, Stout, Belgian Ale, many Seasonal beers, and Wheat beers.
Lagers -
Lagers are brewed using a "bottom-fermenting yeast". This kind of yeast sinks to the bottom of the wort to do most of its work. Lager yeast also likes much cooler temperatures, between 35-50 degrees Fahrenheit, and much longer fermentation periods, like 3 weeks to 3 months or more. "Lager" is a German word meaning to lay down or store.
Lager brewing produces very clean, crisp beers. They're not as complex as ales because some of the flavor compounds settle out during the long, cold fermentation. Lagers are also served at cooler temperatures, closer to their fermentation temperature.
Lagers represent the largest volume of beer sold today. Most of the large international breweries are producing lagers. But within the lager category there are quite few styles. For example: Pilsner, Alt, Bock and Doppelbock, Oktoberfest (or Märzen), and Dortmunder.

If you really want to know the details of how all this affects the finished product, you'll want to peruse our Beer Styles Guide to see what the differences are and figure out where your preferences may lie.

We've separated the Beer Styles Guide into the Ale and Lager categories plus we added a Specialty Beer section. As you might expect, some beers don't fall exactly into the other categories because the use special ingredients or brewing methods. Don't pass these up however. That's where things get really interesting!


Summits Wayside Taverns®
Visit one of our locations around Metro Atlanta, GA