Cheers to Drinking LOCAL – Beer Edition

Every beer, wine, and mead sold at Emily’s Produce contains at least one ingredient grown in the state of Maryland.  It does not get much more LOCAL than that!

Here are some beer facts to help you navigate our large selection, and find your next favorite brew.

🍺Malt=Sweet; Hops=Bitter  While this is an oversimplification, in many cases, beers that have more malt tend to be sweeter and smoother, while beers heavy on the hops have a more bitter (but not unappealing) flavor.

🍺Dark beer does not necessarily mean heavy beer.  Darker lagers use roasted grains, but are brewed the same way as their lighter counterparts – so while their color is dark, their flavor is often sweeter, and not necessarily “heavy.”

🍺Beers are either Lagers or Ales.  Each uses their own kind of yeast.  Lagers are brewed and aged at colder temperatures; ales are brewed at warmer temps. 

🍺 Popular types of Lagers – lagers are known for being crisp and clean

Pilsner:  pale, hoppy, crisp (a favorite of those who like a good American beer)

Helles: pale, malty (and what does “malty” mean…?)

Marzen: amber colored, due to roasted grains (many Oktoberfest beers)

Bock: darker; may have a higher alcohol content 


🍺 Popular types of Ales – ales are considered fruitier and to have bigger flavors

Blonde: golden, easy drinking

Amber: contains caramelized and crystallized malt (and we know what malt does…)

Hefeweizen: wheat beer; cloudy, sweet, low hoppiness, and high carbonation – a refreshing combination

American Pale Ale (or Pale Ale): less hoppy than India Pale Ale

Porters: dark and heavy bodied, brewed with more malt than Stouts

Stouts: also dark and heavy bodied, more roasted, coffee-like flavor

🍺And the most popular type of Ale…India Pale Ale  The beer so ubiquitous, it warrants its own section.  IPAs are hoppy, no doubt about it.  This favorite of craft brewers has its own set of varietals:

West Coast: fruity, crisp

New England: hazier, fruitier taste; can have grassy and earthy notes

Session: lighter; lower in alcohol

Double or Imperial: more hops, more malt, more alcohol

Single hopped: only use one kind of hops (Citra is a popular one)

Black: uses roasted, darker malts – so while it is dark, this is a sweeter, more mellow IPA

🍺 Sours, the hot new thing in ales  Sours use wild bacteria and wild yeast.  The “sour” comes from lactic acid that is produced during brewing.  Some things about sours:

  • Only a small amount of hops are used when brewing sours, because hops inhibit the bacteria growth.  We know that a small amount of hops means a small amount of….
  • Many craft versions have fruit purees and lactose added for sweetness.  This means that there are quite a few creative flavor combinations out there.  
  • Sours are a new favorite of many who are not into traditional ales and lagers.
  • Sours are almost always refrigerated.  This is because of their heavy fruit content, which could continue to ferment under room temperature conditions.


🍺 Beer Pairing  Just as with wine, there are no hard and fast beer pairing rules.  Pair a beer you love with a food you love, and you will have a great meal.  But if you are looking for a few suggestions, here are some schools of thought:

The 3 Cs

Contrast: the dominant taste in one thing (food or drink) contrasts nicely with the dominant taste in the other.  Briny oysters and a creamy stout; smooth cheesy pizza and crisp pilsner

Complement: lighter beer with lighter food, heavier beer with heavier food.  Lagers with salads and seafood; heavier ales with red meat and stews

Cleanse: use beer to cleanse the spiciness of a dish, or a bitter beer to counteract the high fat content

No matter what – don’t overpower your food with your beer


Specific Suggestions

Pilsners and Lighter Lagers: very versatile, can go with almost anything  Spicy foods, “bar foods” such as wings, fried and breaded foods, hot dogs, noodle dishes

Dark Lagers: go well with foods that are reminiscent of the dark lager’s German origins  Sausages, red meats, tomato based stews like goulash, heavier pizzas

Hefeweizen: those with citrus pair well with sweeter items like tarts and fruit pastries; also contrast well with spicy dishes

Amber Ales: their subtle sweetness pairs well with well seasoned (but not necessarily spicy) foods  Pulled pork, brisket, jerk chicken, pizza

IPAs: have a strong flavor of their own, so go well with items that are heavier, but not necessarily heavily seasoned – steaks, fries, roasted meats.  On the other hand, they are also said to do well with Mexican food, as their bitterness works well with its richness and spiciness

Porters and Stouts: their heaviness does well with buttery dishes, and they can accompany chocolate desserts  Buttery seafood dishes like lobster and crab, game meats, stews

We hope this inspires you to try something new from the beer room at Emily’s Produce. 

Cheers to LOCAL beers!!

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