Westshore Blog

Cheers to All Kinds of Beer

Ever taken a stroll down the beer aisle of the liquor store or flipped through the beer menu at your local pub? With so many varieties and different options available, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. But don’t panic. In honour of International Beer Day on August 4th, we’re asking those awkward and embarrassing newbie beer questions, so you don’t have to.

What’s beer made from?

Beer has been around for centuries, and the recipe hasn’t changed as much as you may think. There are four primary ingredients used when brewing beer: grains, hops, yeast, and water. Additional ingredients may be added to create unique flavours like honey, citrus, or even pumpkin and many breweries source local in-season produce to brew their one-of-a-kind beverages.


How many kinds of beer are there?

In short, a lot. Beer can be divided into two primary classifications—lager and ale. Ale uses heat to ferment in a process that happens quickly, while lager is fermented in a slower cold scenario that prevents the temperature from rising too high. Under the lager umbrella you’ll find varieties like pilsner, amber lager, and dark lagers which are sometimes dubbed a dunkle, while ales include a range of cream ale, blonde or golden ale, India pale ales (commonly called an IPA), and wheat beer.


What makes something a craft beer?

Craft beer comes from—you guessed it—a craft brewery. By definition, these breweries produce smaller batches than their large brand counterparts and are often independently owned. Craft breweries are also where you’re more likely to find unique flavours thanks to their ability to brew on a smaller scale and experiment with recipes.


What should I pair beer with?

There’s no shortage of classic beer pairings—like a juicy burger or salty pretzels—but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The key in beer and food pairing is to look for balance and harmony. Match light and delicate beers with fresh, bright flavours (try blonde or pale ale with chicken, salad, or desserts with citrus) and combine darker beer varieties like a porter or stout with smoked meats, aged cheese, and dark chocolate treats.

Whether you’re cracking open a cold one, tapping a keg, or ordering your first pint, cheers to you and have a delicious (and safe) International Beer Day!