Irish Red vs American Red vs Other Red Beers

Ever wondered the differences between beers?  Lager vs Kolsch or Whit vs Wheat?  Well we are going to figure that out for the red beers.  Most know Killian’s Irish Red and the red beer we all know, but there are other red beers out there.  There is the American Red and the Flanders Red.  They are all red in color, but are all very different beers. So let’s see what makes them all different 

The first style is the Irish Red.  Like I said before, this is the Killian’s of the red beers.  Most Irish reds have that red (you don’t say) color and a wonderful malt flavor.  To make a red, you generally use malts that are roasted or kilned and added with barley that is also roasted.  The hops are mild to make the bitterness levels very low.  Hops can include kent golding, fuggle, and are generally added in the beginning.  These hops are very low in the acidity level (check out HOPS BLOG to see what that means) and keeps that bitterness low even when put in at the beginning.  With all of those roasted grains, this gives it a caramel flavor and sometimes an almost buttery flavor.  Some people even consider Irish reds to be like drinking buttered toast.  Beers around the country that fall in this style of beer include Three Floyds Brian Boru, Sam Adams Irish Red, Dragonmead Erik the Red, and many others both here in the US or across the pond.

The next style of red is the American Red.  This style would look exactly the same with the color, but can have a very different flavor.  Americans have more love for hops, so american reds have more hoppy flavor to them.  These hops are grown here in the US and include Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Simcoe, and Amarillo.  As for the rest of the parts, these are very similar beers.  Though popular, this beer style doesn’t get a lot of love and is usually placed in the same category with American Ambers, and even back in 2012, was only considered a hybrid beer at the time.  Beers that fall in this style are New Holland Fat Tire, Lagunitas Censored, and Ballistic California Amber.

The third style is the Flanders Red.  This beer is the exact opposite of the previous two.  The only thing this beer has in common with the others is the red.  The malts are red to give the color, but the hops are minimal and this beer is instead a sour beer.  This is actually closer to a wine than a beer with the flavor. Flavor could include sherry, different fruits, and possibly some tannin.  Some of these reds are barrel aged as well.  If you are looking for a usual red beer, i would not recommend this beer for you.  Beers include Jolly Pumpkin La Roja and Lost Abbey Red Poppy.

Not all red or amber beers are the same.  Make sure you are looking for what you want, but also try something new.  You never know what you will like.  If you have other red beers that you have made or found, make sure to share them below and as always, cheers!

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