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The New Vocabulary of Beer

The days of simply deciding between an IPA and a lager are gone. Now, it’s deciding between a high-density, hop-charged IPA with Thiolized yeast and a side-pull Czech-style pilsner in a mlíko pour. “We’re evolving the ingredients we use, we’re evolving how we market beer, we’re evolving the kinds of people being welcomed into the industry, we’re evolving styles,” says beer writer Ruvani de Silva. “Obviously, the language has to evolve alongside that.”

Mark Dredge, writer, author and creator of Beer Flavour Wheels (a lexicon of beer descriptors), explains that much of what we know as beer vocabulary came from the wine world. As homebrewing culture blossomed and birthed craft beer in the late 1970s and 1980s, drinkers were suddenly faced with options beyond watery light lagers from large brewers. Language was needed to describe the differences among styles, and, drilling down further, between iterations on those styles from emerging breweries… read more >

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