One of my readers pointed out that I erred yesterday when I classified porters as being distinct from Ales. Ales are top fermenting beers, while bottom fermenting beers are lagers. The table above does make this distinction; I-IX are Ales, X-XIII are Lagers, the bottom varieties are Mixed. And as you can see porters (VIII) are a subset of ales.
While I will find this classification helpful from here out, my main source of beer knowledge to this point - the King of Hops: Michael Jackson - breaks things down in groups like the roman numerals above do. There are Wheat Beers, Lambics, Belgian Ales...Scottish Ales, Brown Ales, Porters, Stouts, etc. I encourage comments on the blog. Thanks Dan. Also thanks to Gene for sending me the link to the above "periodic table of beer."
Today's beer is a Dortmunder Styled Lager - #25 on the chart above in column XII; European Lager. To me it tastes like a Standard American Lager (#24, XI). So let me compare it to some Milwaukee Lagers you might have tried. To me Miller High Life is much lighter, less full-bodied than Pabst Blue Ribbon - and this Dortmunder is somewhere in between - probably a little closer to the Pabst end of the spectrum. MJ says of the style "less fragrant than a true Pilsner , but still dry; firmer in its maltiness than a Munich lager." (Companion, 1993) He goes on to say that the style was popular in Dortmund, Germany with the men who worked in the coal and steel industries, but when those industries waned, their beer fell out of style. It became "your parents beer" - totally uncool in the eyes of the younger generation. It has caught on in the U.S. and Japan.
I grew up with PBR. Berghoff's Dortwunder Lager tastes to me like "beer." I like beer. I'll rate it a 3.
* - Correction: I see now that the call the beer "Dortwunder." Due to the font used on the bottle I couldn't tell.