6. All hefeweizens are wheat beers, but not all wheat beers are hefeweizens
This is a semantics thing that drives even some experienced beer drinkers crazy, but knowing the difference will help you find a beer you like. Hefeweizens are the German style of wheat beer made using at least 50% wheat and a Bavarian yeast strain that gives it that bubblegum, banana, and clove flavors most people associate with wheat beers. Wheat beers are also made with wheat (duh), but instead use a different strain of yeast that doesn’t give off the same clove flavors as their German cousin.
7. Hops from different parts of the world taste (and smell) different
If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’ve had at least one hoppy American IPA in your drinking adventures. Probably today. It probably smelled a lot like citrus, grapefruit, and pine tar. This huge flavor profile is a hallmark of North American hop varieties, which is probably why you’d be surprised to try an English IPA using English hops.
Hops are grown all over the world, with the most coming from Germany (where they tend to be floral, earthy, and spicy), the Czech Republic (known to be grassy and great for the local pilsners), the UK (earthy and grassy: mellow enough for local bitters), New Zealand, and Australia (similar to the US’s citrus vibe with more tropical flavors, especially passion fruit). Think of hops as a gigantic spice cabinet in a restaurant kitchen: each can be used in harmony with each other to create desired flavors for any specific dish.
8. And some hops are used just for your beer’s aroma
Since a lot of the fragrances hops provide get boiled off quickly, brewers add more hops at the very end of a boil to make sure the hops’ aromas are still part of the package instead of just their bitterness. Some brewers go even further by “dry hopping” their beers, which is when hops are added during fermentation.