Lagers – bottom-fermenting yeast – The older brew of the two, lagers have a limited and specific ingredient list. The law in Germany is that you can only use these 4 ingredients to brew: water, yeast, barley, and hops. Many brewmasters consider the lager to be the purest and most difficult brew process. Usually, lagers of today are not the “traditional” lager which America had built its pallet around. This, in part, is due to the insufficient aging time current brewers provide for their modern lagers. Lagers originate from places such as The Czech Republic and Germany, two of the most notorious beer-drinking countries, ever.
Ales – top-fermenting yeast – Ales have more humble origins, starting from being brewed in monasteries and typically used as hydration for farm hands due to a lack of fresh water. Belgium is now home to some of the most historic and traditional ales, but not quite the home of the IPA.
Indian Pale Ale – Originally made during the 1800s by adding more hops to traditional ales for preservation purposes. During this time the English were constantly sailing and importing goods to India, and due to the long voyage, they needed a more alcoholic beverage to keep it from spoiling while at sea. It is said by some brewers that hops have taken over the beer flavor spectrum and in the IPA’s case are now the main focus of beer recipes worldwide. This more complex brew allows for more wiggle room, enabling more flavors and ingredients to be added by playing off the bitterness, as opposed to trying to hide it or change the flavor.