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Craft Beer: A beginner’s guide

A beginner's guide to craft beer

Craft Beer: A beginner’s guide

The craft beer industry in Calgary is definitely booming. Just in the past couple of years, close to thirty new microbreweries have sprouted all over the place. Each of these breweries has their own signature brew and flavors combination fighting for your attention.

But for a craft beer novice, choosing the right beer from the multitude of choices can be overwhelming. While it is mostly subjective, you can gain a lot if you talk to the makers directly.

In general, we rate Craft Beers based on flavor, aroma and overall feel. While a few numbers of beers might be limited edition, every microbrewery will usually have a lineup of their standard beers available to drink in pubs and in bottles or cans from liquor stores. You should also definitely check out the breweries’ website to find out more.

How do you make craft beer?

Just like wine, if you really want to appreciate the nuances of craft beer, you must know the basic ingredients. These ingredients and the method processing can transform a very ordinary drink and bring it into a world of unimaginable tastes and flavor profiles meant to be savored.

At its essence, beer is grain, water, yeast, and hops. Malted barley (or malt) is the primary beer ingredient. The level of dry roasting provides the color and flavor very similar to the process of coffee beans. Hops can be fruity elements. These are usually apple or citrus. They can also be herbs, pine or any other plant-based element.

The grain is first kilned and mixed with water and starters to convert starch to sugar. It is then distilled to remove any unwanted contaminants. Near the end of this distilling process, hops are added to create a bitter balance to the sweetness. The temperature is the brought down and at this stage, yeast is added to start the fermentation. Each stage of this process lends a different flavor characteristic.

Ingredients of Craft Beer

Ingredients of Craft Beer

Common terms

To really embrace the craft beer revolution, you should familiarize yourself with some of the following common terms.


These terms refer to the hue and value of the beer. The light will range from pale straw yellow to a golden tan color. Medium will be ochre with hints of orange and amber. Dark, on the other hand, will either be and opaque –brown or a translucent almost-black color.

In contrast, these terms can also refer to how the beer feels on the palette. Beers that are light will lean towards a cleaner and crisp finish. As a result, heavy-bodied beers tend to coat the mouth with an oily and strong feel.


This character balances out the malt element of the beer. The trick is in achieving the perfect characteristic flavor without overpowering bitterness.


These could be anywhere between citrus fruits to others like banana, plum or cherry.


Cinnamon, coriander, clove, pepper and star anise are usual brewer favorites

Beer styles

Below is a cheat guide to several varieties of craft beer that we are sure you would want to try and explore:


You can categorize a majority of craft beer under ales. These include a number of sub-categories like Indian pale ales, brown ales, porters, stouts and hefeweizens.

Indian Pale ale or IPA is big, bold with tones of flavor. The story of how it got its unique name is quite interesting. Back when England colonized India and the English needed a stronger beer option which would stand up to the long voyage. The used extra hops which made the overall alcohol content higher and worked also to preserve the beer. Common taste profiles include hints of grapefruit, pine, and resin with strong herbaceous elements.

Brown ales, porters and stouts, usually vary, inculcating flavors of fresh seasonal produce. They offer a rich and robust palette experience through the process of roasting the grains to extract flavor and using more hops.

Hefeweizens, derived from German origins, is known for its signature citrus flavor. So, if your beer does not come with a wedge of lime sticking n the glass you’re most likely sipping a hefeweizen.


As opposed to ales, which are fermented on the top, lagers are bottom-fermented. They have a longer fermentation time period of time than ales as well. Lagers though may not have as many flavor variations as ales; but they offer a lovely, smooth finish.

Top tips for buying craft beer

The best advice you could get on learning all the styles of craft beer and choosing the right one for you is to jump right in and get your hands dirty.

Ask, ask, ask.

There is no shame in asking as many questions. Most brewers are very proud of their art and would most likely help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Don’t stop trying

Even if you feel you more or less have found something that appeals to you, don’t stop trying. There are a whole world craft beer categories and sub-categories to completely blow your mind. Your new favorite might just be a few hops away! (Pun intended).

Start from the basics. 

It is probably not the best idea to go right away for a double IPA, or a stout. While delicious, the bitterness would most likely be a brutal assault to a novice palette. Start with light, creamy variety and once your taste has developed, move to the more adventurous options.

Most shops offer a customized six pack. This gives you leave a way to try the different options. Most probably you will find something you love.

Though there is something special in the experience of going into a shop and making your selections in person, let’s all admit that isn’t practical all the time. Whole Cellars offer an excellent selection of craft beer at our online store. Now get stunning craft beer delivered directly to your home.

13 thoughts on “Craft Beer: A beginner’s guide

  1. Peace be unto you. What think ye of Christ? whose Son is He?

    answer from the Bible:
    God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16).
    This is the true God, and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
    Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
    And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
    And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.(Luke 7:16,17)
    And he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me. (John 12:45)
    he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. (John 13:20)
    the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me. (John 14:24)

    What to do?
    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)
    Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
    Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (John 6:28,29)
    And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
    And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts of the Apostles 16:30,31)
    But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
    And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
    For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matthew 12:48-50)
    And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
    And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:39,40)
    And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
    And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:39,40)
    Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:9)

    Peter’s sermon:
    Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
    But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
    The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all)
    That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
    How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
    And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
    Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
    Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
    And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
    To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.(Acts of the Apostles 10:34-43)
    Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
    And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you… (Acts of the Apostles 3:19,20)

    What’s next?
    And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)
    He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)

    The Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
    Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts of the Apostles 1:11)
    The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come… (Acts of the Apostles 2:20)
    And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
    And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31)
    For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first… (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
    And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (Acts of the Apostles 24:15)
    And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
    And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:2,3)
    But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.(Daniel 12:13)

    When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
    And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
    And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
    Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
    For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
    Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
    Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
    When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
    Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
    And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
    For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
    I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
    Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
    Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
    And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:31-46)
    And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
    He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:47,48)

    For whom it is written:
    Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
    And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
    Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
    Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
    But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
    The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.(Luke 12:41-46)

    Eyewitness accounts:
    For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)
    For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
    And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
    After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
    After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:3-7)
    Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word… (Luke 1:2)

    The prayer of Jesus Christ:
    I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. (John 17:9)
    I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (John 17:15)
    Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word… (John 17:20)

    Why is important?
    For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (1 Peter 3:12)

    Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11)

    Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
    And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
    But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:29-31)

    Because [url=]Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)[/url]

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