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Malt

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Brown ales typically have roasted malt and chocolate-like characteristics with low bitterness. The beer’s flavor profile makes it versatile for food pairings, but typically brown ales go with roast pork, smoked sausage and game birds. Try this duck leg ragu with an American Brown Ale, the fat will neutralize any of the beer’s bitterness and complement its roastiness.

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Hops give beer its bitterness, and beers that are heavy on hops, like American pale ales and English-style pale ales are often medium to full bodied, but can vary dramatically when it comes to ABV. These beers find a delicate balance between hop bitterness and malt, which gives beer its color and flavor. Hoppy and bitter beers are typically yellow to brown in color. They pair well with aged or hard cheeses, fried foods like fish and chips and creamy dishes like fettuccine alfredo or a mild curry with yogurt sauce.

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Dark and roasty beers are often black or deep brown in color and have a wide ABV range. These smooth beers are typically medium-light to full bodied and use roasted malts that add notes of chocolate and cocoa. An example of a dark and roasty beer is an English-style brown porter, which pairs well with grilled meats and gruyere cheese.

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There's a reason yellow, fizzy lager is the most popular beer in the world. Call me old-fashioned, but I think it has more to do with the appeal of the beer than marketing campaigns by multinational, multi-billion-dollar corporations. (Dilly dilly!) When done well, a pilsner — and, to a far lesser degree, the American and European lagers that rose from it — is a masterpiece of flavor, aroma and balance.

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