Hybrid Beer: The Best Of Both Worlds

Hybrid Beers were created out of necessity, tradition and brewer creativity. These styles are commonly brewed with lager brewing methods but fermented with ale yeast or vice versa. They are referred to as hybrid beers because these beers combine the two worlds of beer (ale and lager) to make a delicious craft beer. Hybrids are sometimes difficult to find, but in the city of Philadelphia, you should have no trouble! Check out the hybrid guide below to see what style you would like to try.

American Cream Ale


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The American Cream ale was generated by the American light lager style. Although this style has “ale” in it, it is not uncommon for brewers to use lager yeast. The Cream ale is a mild, pale, light-bodied ale. In some cases, adjuncts such as corn or rice are used to lighten the body. This well-carbonated ale has low hop bitterness and hops aroma. This style is usually made using a warm fermentation and cold lagering.

French-style Biere de Garde


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This style of Biere de Garde is growing in popularity with US brewers. In most cases, the beer is light amber to chestnut brown or red in color. Many say this style is characterized by a toasted malt aroma, slight malt sweetness flavor, and medium hop bitterness. While the alcohol is evident in the taste, fruity esters can be light to medium in intensity. Biere de Garde actually means “beer for keeping.”

California Common


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A California Common is brewed with lager yeast but fermented at ale fermentation temperatures. It is a unique 100% American-style lager with a brewing method that dates back to the late 1800s in California when refrigeration was still seen as a luxury. This style tends to have a noticeable degree of toasted malt and/or caramel-like malt character in flavor and aroma. Some brewers and beer lovers refer to this style as a “steam beer.” The California Common was made famous by San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company.

German-style Brown/Altbier


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Originally from the Dusseldorf area of Germany, the world Alt (“old”) pays tribute to one rebel region in Germany that did not lean towards lagering their beer. The U.S. beer producers celebrate the ale revolution wonderfully with this top-fermented German-style beer. This style is well balanced between hop, malt flavors and some peppery/floral hop aromas.

German-style Kolsch


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The German-style Kolsch was first brewed in Koln, Germany, but is now served in brewpubs across the U.S. This style has a light to medium body with a very pale color to it. The fermentation process yields a light grape-like character which is accompanied by a slightly dry, crisp finish. In most cases, ale yeast is used for fermentation, but lager yeast is sometimes used in the bottle or cold conditioning process.

Au Revoir (Goodbye)

Sadly, this will be my last blog post in the Philly Beergrimage for a little while. I have had the utmost fun visiting, researching and writing about my experience with Philadelphia breweries and the different styles of beer. To my fellow readers, thank you for following on this long beergrimage – I could have not done it without you all. I hope to be writing again soon but for now, I must say goodbye!



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