ABV – refers to % of alcohol in the finished product “alcohol by volume”. The average is 5% but can be as high as 11%, but not often more.

Ale – Beer made at higher temperatures typically for a shorter amount of time.  The types and styles of Ale range greatly.

Altbier – German for “old beer” Traditional top fermenting German Ale.

American Pale Ale – Popular North American style medium but varying body (slightly to heavily hopped) ale using Pale Ale malts and sometimes dry hopped afterwards.

Barley Wine – High alcohol content and short maturation time gives this bad boy his name.  Often bottle fermented and not usually known for its great flavour….but great ability to get you pickled.

Biere du Garde – like champagne, this beer is traditionally from a specific region of France.  Now-a- days it is a stronger version of a French Saison.  It means “beer for keeping” and can be stored for long periods of time without souring.  Often cask conditioned.

Black and Tan –  In the U.K. it is a few hundred year old practice of pouring a Guinness (heavy) half way in the pint glass and then the top half being the house Blonde or light beer.  A few pre-mixed options are out there but do not obviously stay separated.

Blonde – a light straw coloured ale or lager which is lightly hopped and fairly malty flavour.

Bock – Strong German beer with several variations.

Bomber –   650ml bottle of brew.

Brett –  yeast mutation that used to be a bad thing as it is actually a fungus and tasted almost spoiled as an orange would after starting to sour.  It is now encouraged especially in the creation of sour beers as it has a distinct flavour.  Lambic Beers are created using a Brett. Cherries, Peaches and Apples are common for these types of sours.

Bright Tank – these are the final tanks where beer is stored before bottling or kegging.  Temperature control is essential during this time and it is also when you would add a little Co2 depending on if you need it or not.  Not used in home brewing.

Brown Ale – English Pale Ale basically.

C.A.M.R.A. –  Stands for “Campaign for Real Ale”  it was founded in 1971 and now has chapters all over the world including Vancouver, Sunshine Coast and Victoria.

California Common/steam beer –  The steam beer process of brewing creating an effervescent bubble.  Larger yeasts are used and it is done at a high temperature.  The title of “Steam Beer” was copywrited by Anchor Brewing Company out of San Francisco in 1981 so these beers are now known as a California Common.

Carbonation –  The amount of bubbles in the product.  Sometimes Co2 is added if there has not been enough natural carbonation in the brewing process.  Some beers must have a high carbonation (lager) and some must have low Co2 levels (porter).

Cask – Smaller barrel shaped vessel usually made from wood like a barrel used instead of a keg for conditioning, storing and pouring.  Natural fermentation is used and Co2 is rarely added.  Dry hopping during this phase is best.

Cicerone – Used as a title to certify a beer educator similar to a sommelier of wine.

Conditioning – the time allowed to let the flavours of your ingredients settle.  Dry Hopping is done during this phase whether in a cask, tank or in the bottle itself.

Craft Beer Revolution –  a book written by Joe Wiebe of Victoria BC in 2012 which some say started it all.

Cream Ale – According to legend, created by Sleeman’s during prohibition.  Refers to a well-balanced hop/malt profile creating an almost creamy feel and taste for the pallet.

Dopplebock –  a double German Bock.  Strong as F%*@#!

Draft or Draught – not bottled product.

Dry Hopping – the process of adding specially selected, either fresh or pellet formed hops, to an almost finished product to completely change the taste.

Dunkel – German for Dark also a type of Bock.

Dunkenweissen  –  a dark Heffeweissen, never bitter, dark and malty.

Fermentation – the process where the sugars are broken down in the mash and alcohol is created.

Flight  –  a selection of three or more  4oz glasses of beer for sampling.

French Saison – produced in the winter months by the leftover staff and historically offered to the summer farmhands to keep them hydrated.  Often a lower ABV and bottle conditioned.  Also a favorite for new homebrewers as it is fairly easy to do.

Growler – a 1.89 or 1.9 litre glass, ceramic or thermos type vessel for finished product to come home with you.  A more economic and environmentally beneficial way to buy Craft Beer and Cider.

Head – no, not that kind…, it refers to the amount of foam at the top of your pour.

Hectolitre  –  a unit of measurement for liquid equal to 100 litres.  In Canada we use these to describe the amount of beer produced by a brewery.  In other parts of the world they still measure in barrels.

Heffeweissen –  South German wheat beer, often fruity or citric and clovey; unfiltered and cloudy.  Great summer sipping beer.

Helium Beer –  helium is added but does not really work as helium is not a good substitute for Co2.

Hops – a vine with fruits that is grown for making beer.  Thousands of varieties are grown proving distinct flavours depending on the type of hop and region that it is grown.  Everything from a tropical or fruity/citrus flavour to an earthy or mossy taste can be created by changing the hops.

IBU – “International Bitterness Units” are found by measuring the acidity levels created by the hops.  This provides a descriptor for tasting that is consistent all over the world.

Imperial IPA – (or imperial anything) refers to the product being triple hopped.  These are more expensive to make and can take a while to absorb all flavours but makes for an interesting brew often super high in ABV

IPA – India Pale Ale.  Refers to a hoppy beer.  It is named for the long journey it had to make from India to its destination often spoiling along the way. The hops helped to hide this fact so it kept longer than earlier Ales.  These days it is a “hoppy” beer.  PS Alex Keith’s does NOT really taste at all like an IPA

Jockey box – A vessel created for tapping kegs at events.  Lines run through and taps are attached to pour from.  Usually ice is in there to help keep the product cold.  These can range from garage made cooler refits to professional tap systems that are portable.

Joe Wiebe – The man to know in Craft Beer circles of BC.  He is the Author of Craft Beer revolution and the administrator of many events such as Victoria Beer Week and The Great Canadian Beer Festival.  He is often a public speaker and has appeared on CBC radio many times.  His pod casts are awesome and he’s a super nice, larger than life, generous and smart guy.

Kolsh – German Lager that is light and aromatic, provides a nice bubbly and heady pour and is mild in flavour.

Lager – made at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time.  Lagers are generally lighter in colour as well as flavor and often a good place to start for non-beer drinkers.

Macro Brewery –  These are the big boys producing the highest volume possible.

Malt – the grains, usually barely, that have been steeped or dried.  It is essential to make beer and provides what is the “sweetness” of the finished product.

Marzen – German wheat or half wheat beer made in March and saved for colder months.  It was tricky to store and or transport in the summer months and was celebrated if here was any left to drink in the fall.  Traditional Oktoberfest beer.

Mash – the boiled grain and water mix.

Mead –  an alcoholic beverage made from honey and water.  A true mead must contain at least 50% honey and their alcohol content (ABV) can range from 8% – 20%.  Often hops, spices, fruits and vegetation will be added to change the flavor and carbonation level.  Mead can be bubbly or still, practically clear to golden brown and can be either sweet, dry or anywhere in between.

Micro Brewery –  Midsized production facility breweries.  The bulk of what is going on in BC is in this category.

Mouthfeel –  The way in which the product affects your pallet.  Literally the feel in your mouth.

Nano Brewery –  These are the small craft breweries that often do not have the volume to distribute.  Brew Pubs usually fall into this category.

Nitro Beer – By adding nitrogen, a much smaller bubble is created giving a creamy texture and mouthfeel.

Pilsner  –  A type of pale lager from the Czech Republic.  It is sort of flavourless and is often what is mass consumed by the general public because they can be produced cheaply and quickly and are easy on the pallet.

Pint –  Larger glass of beer traditionally 20oz but in Canada the average is 16oz.

Porter –  Dark and Malty, low hop flavour.  It is actually a type of Stout and often includes Espresso, coffee and chocolate malts.

Red Ale – Irish style of brewing referring to its amber and red colour

Scotch Ale –  Traditional Scottish Ale darker in colour and low in carbonation.  A constant fire kettle or steam process is used to allow further caramelization of the crystal malts.  These tend to be sweeter almost and have strong butterscotch and toffee undertones and finishes.

Session Ale – low in ABV it can be drank more for the flavour than the ability to get you drunk.

Sleeve – It is a smaller, tall and slim glass. Roughly half the size of the house Pint

Squeeker, Howler or a Pip Squeak – half growler 1 Litre.

Stout – The darkest of all American style brews.  Often considered heavy and thick with low hop and high malt characteristics.

Tasting Room –  a small bar and growler fill station located at the brewery.  Food is not   provided; seating is limited and so is the amount allowed for sampling.

“The Growler” –  This is a BC guide to craft beer released four times a year which contains the most up to date brewery info and some hilarious and informative things to read.

Tripel – strong Belgian Beer.

Umber – refers to a dark almost amber colour.

West Coast Pale Ale – not officially a term, but seems to mean extra hoppy with Cascade hops.

Wheat Beer (Witbier) – always contains wheat and usually a lot of it.  It is cloudy and unfiltered and can have a colour range from white to a medium straw colour.  Often citrus and clove are added for extra flavour profiles making it a light summer drink.

Wort –  The liquid extract from the mashing process during the brewing of whiskey and beer.  The yeast will feed off the sugars in the wort to create alcohol.

Yeast – Living organisms essential in the creation of alcohol in the product.  1500 different strains have been identified already and are used in the creation of every single brew.  The yeast strains are very unique and distinct in both behavior and flavour and some have been alive for hundreds of years!  More about this later….



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