A basic guide to beer – AberdeenNews.com

With a selection of stouts, sours and India pale ales, Andrew Russell had trouble choosing one of 50 tap beers at Slackers Thursday afternoon.

He finally settled on an India pale ale on his third try, the style is a new favorite. Thursday was Russell’s first trip to Slackers, which for most would be unremarkable, but he teaches a course at Northern State University called Biology of Beer.

The class is taught online during the summer. This year is the second year it’s been offered, Russell said. Students learn about why and how beer becomes beer, and its effects on the body.

“Most of the people who take the class don’t have much experience with craft beer,” Russell said. “Their idea is just whatever they see in commercials. … So they’re really surprised by the amount of variety there is, once they get out and experience it.”

Macro brew

Macro brew refers to beers brewed in mass quantity to please the most people. Think Bud Light, Miller Lite or Coors, Russell said.

“When they create something, they deliberately try to make something pretty bland,” Russell said. “Anytime you add bold flavors, you automatically eliminate a certain portion of the population that doesn’t like that flavor.”

The style is simple with a low alcohol content, drawing people to drink to quench their thirst, rather than slowly sip and savor, Russell said.

“That’s what they’re going for,” he said. “What’s going to be the most appealing to the most people.”

A big part of their popularity can be attributed to the brilliance of marketing, Russell said.


Part of the appeal of microbrews and craft beer is experiencing local flavors, Russell said.

“People who like craft brews, when they go travel somewhere, they want to taste a beer from that region,” Russell

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