Dusseldorf-style altbier is a copper to brown German ale associated with the town of Dusseldorf, where it is bountifully brewed. Altbier may be highly hopped and demonstrate a balanced maltiness, yet remain crisp and clean from cold maturation. Alaskan Amber is brewed to this style.
American-style wheat beers range from straw to dark brown in color and can be brewed with ale or lager yeast. Versions that are bottled with yeast are called hefeweizens (“hefe” meaning yeast in German) and therefore may be cloudy. American wheat beers generally have low to medium hop character and are low to medium bodied. Dark versions often exhibit chocolate, caramel, or toffee characters.
German style wheat beers are characterized by unique clove like-phenolic and fruity-estery banana aromas produced by particular strains of brewing yeast. German style wheat beers are highly carbonated, have low hop character and are brewed using at least 50% malted wheat.
German style hefeweizens are very pale to light amber in color, medium bodied and may appear cloudy due to the presence of yeast. German style dunkelweizens are characterized by sweet maltiness and chocolate overtones from roasted malt. German style weizenbocks can be either pale or dark and are much higher in alcohol content. Hop bitterness, flavor and aroma remain low.
Smoked beers originated in Bamberg, Germany, and are called rauchbiers in German. The malt for these beers is kilned over a fire and absorbs the dark, husky aromas associated with beechwood, peat, alder, or oak. These brews are full-bodied with plenty of smoky aroma and are amber to dark copper in color. Variations of the original rauchbier are vast including smoked porter, brewed by Alaskan Brewing.
Steam beer, also known as California Common Beer, uses lager yeast fermented at warm temperatures, but is cold matured. Anchor Brewing’s Anchor Steam Beer is the classic example of this style. Light amber to copper in color, with a toasty, caramel maltiness and plenty of hop bitterness, this style is often said to be the only style of beer indigenous to the United States.
Winter warmers are generally amber to brown in color and are brewed with ale or lager yeast. They are brewed seasonally as a way for the brewery and brewer to express their appreciation and love of beer. Winter warmers often exhibit strong and complex maltiness along with low to assertive hop characters. Spices and other special ingredients are often added to increase complexity.