Learning the language of beer, including how to read beer bottle labels, will go a long way toward enhancing your enjoyment of craft beer. Learning everything from why are beer bottles are different colors to what an IPA is (it’s an India Pale Ale) will help you choose the perfect beer for your palate.
The Fine Print on Beer Labels
In addition to alcohol content and bottling location, beer labels display a wealth of information about the beer they contain. If you see the words “bottle conditioned,” it means that a little extra sugar was added prior to bottling to create natural carbonation.
If you enjoy IPAs or pale ales from our Denton, Fort Worth or Lewisville locations you might also come across a beer label that says something about the beer being dry hopped. This simply means that the hops were added after fermentation, which is what gives these beers more noticeable hop aroma, without adding bitterness.
You might come across the acronym “IBU,” which stands for International Bitterness Unit. This is the measure of the hop bitterness inside the bottle. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the more bitter the beer.
The Science Behind Bottle Colors
Ever wonder why are beer bottles different colors? It’s because the bottle color helps protect the beer inside from light that can break down the alpha acids in the hops. As the acids break down, they react with the sulfur in the beer to create a substance that is less than tasteful. Today, most higher quality beers are sold in amber bottles to help keep light out, while lower quality beers are sold in clear bottles that don’t protect against light.
What about green bottles? Green bottles are a marketing gimmick that offers little protection from light. They are a holdout from the World War II era when tinted glass was limited and green glass was used to designate a ‘‘higher quality’’ beer on the shelf.
Lone Star Taps and Caps
Are you eager to learn more about these beer-brewing terms and discuss beer description terms with fellow brew lovers? When you are ready to dig deeper into the amazing world of craft beer, we invite you to stop by Lone Star Taps and Caps to sip a pint and discover just how much there is to learn about the fun and fabulous world of beer.