Different Types of Beer for You to Know Today
If you enjoy exploring beer breweries, understanding the basics of different types of beer is important. With so many varieties out there, it can feel overwhelming for those who are just getting into the world of beer.
In the expanding realm of beer, restaurants, and bars are continuously growing their beer options to accommodate the diverse tastes of their customers. Offering a wide range ensures that there’s something for every beer enthusiast who visits. However, with such a large selection, it can be tough for bartenders and servers to grasp the unique qualities of each beer.
- Beers are generally classified into two main types, lagers and ales.
- Different types of beer have varying ABV levels
If you’ve ever felt unsure about what to order at a brewery, you’re not the only one. Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or new to the scene, knowing about the different types of beer can help you choose between a zesty sour or a rich, dark porter. Of course, the best way to find out what you like is by trying different kinds! This guide lists the main types of beer to make things easier for you.
That’s why we’ve put together this detailed beer guide to help you understand the various types of beer!
How Is a Styles of Beer Classified?
First thing first, how are beer styles classified? In the world of beer, every type you come across at your favorite brewery, bar, or restaurant falls into two main categories: ales and lagers. What sets them apart is the specific kind of yeast used during the fermentation process. Although it might seem simple, the choice of yeast has a big impact on how the beer is brewed and what it tastes like in the end.
Every beer can be classified as either a lager or an ale, and the key dissimilarity between the two is in the yeast and the temperature at which it ferments. Lagers ferment at colder temperatures compared to ales. Ales cover those zesty, fruity-tasting beers, whereas super easy-to-drink lagers have that classic “beer” flavor where you can taste the hops and malt.
When it comes to beer styles, the fermentation process plays a huge role, even though some beers don’t neatly fit into one category. Some can be a mix of both lager and ale qualities, making them what we call hybrids. Simply put, lagers use one type of yeast, while ales use another.
Understanding these basics can help you to choose the right beer through the diverse selection of beers. By appreciating how much yeast influences fermentation and flavor, you can take the beer-drinking experience at your place to a whole new level.
What Are The Two Main Types of Beer?
So, What is lager? Lagers are brewed with a yeast called Saccharomyces pastorianus, which ferments at the bottom of the brewing tank. This yeast works best in cooler temperatures, between 35°F and 55°F. Because of this, lagers take a longer time to ferment compared to ales. They often have a smooth texture and a lighter, more refreshing taste. You might notice subtle hints of malt and hops, giving them a well-balanced and delicate flavor.
On the other hand, ales use a yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which ferments throughout the beer and settles at the top. They like slightly warmer temperatures, around 60°F to 75°F, which makes the fermentation process quicker. Ales, known for their rich and robust flavors, are fermented using top-fermenting yeast. They have complex aromas and a fuller body that sets them apart.
What Are The Different Types of the Beer Styles You Should Know?
When it comes to beers, they can be divided into ales and lagers, but the world of beer offers a wide array of choices, with as many as 100 different types. Each type of beer varies significantly in color, alcohol content, and taste. Knowing the distinctions between these different kinds of beer helps you suggest the right drink to customers based on their food choices or flavor preferences. So without further delay, here are the different types of beer!
Amber beers, with an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 4.4% to 6.1%, typically exhibit a distinctive color spectrum that transitions from gold to copper to reddish-brown. They carry moderate to relatively high International Bitterness Units (IBU) ranging from 18 to 45, offering a balanced blend of malt and hop flavors. With their toasted malt essence complemented by a subtle touch of caramel, these beers possess a unique character.
Known for their versatility, they pair well with various dishes such as sausages, grilled veggies, and pulled pork, enhancing the overall dining experience. Some versions of the American Amber Ale showcase additional layers of complexity with hints of citrus or pine, skillfully counterbalancing the inherent sweetness of the malt, thereby creating a harmonious taste profile.
With an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 3.2% to 4% and an International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 5 to 15, American lager beer exhibits a light and refreshing character. Known for its clear, yellow color, this beer style pairs exceptionally well with American cuisine and spicy dishes, making it a popular choice for many.
Often referred to as “America’s naked beer style,” this lager boasts a crisp and mild malt-forward taste profile, making it a preferred option for those seeking a lighter beer experience. Its widespread availability is evident in various well-known beer brands across the market, offering a go-to option for those looking for a classic, easy-drinking brew.
American Pale Ale
The American Pale Ale, with an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 4.4% to 5.4% and a bitterness level measured by International Bitterness Units (IBU) between 30 to 50, falls within the category of pale ales. Sporting a color spectrum that spans from deep gold to light brown to copper, this beer style pairs exceptionally well with classic comfort foods like burgers, pizza, and Buffalo chicken dip.
What distinguishes the American Pale Ale is its medium-bodied nature and a noticeable American hop bitterness. Its unique appeal lies in the delicate balance it strikes between the malt and hop flavors, offering a harmonious and enjoyable drinking experience.
Bock, a type of lager beer with an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 6.3% to 9.5% and a moderate to medium International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 15 to 38, boasts a rich, dark brown hue. This beer style harmonizes well with hearty dishes like burgers, sausages, and jerk chicken.
Originating from Einbeck, Germany, the name “Bock” translates to “goat” in German and reflects the beer’s robust and flavorful nature, primarily characterized by a pronounced malt taste. Over the years, various versions of Bock have emerged, each with its unique qualities.
Among these versions, Maibock stands out with its lighter color and heightened hop presence, offering a refreshing twist to the traditional Bock. Doppelbock, on the other hand, distinguishes itself with a more intense malty flavor profile and a higher alcohol content, providing a bolder and more robust drinking experience.
Weizenbock, a wheat variation of Bock, resembles Doppelbock in strength but features the characteristic wheat elements, resulting in a full-bodied beer that carries a rich and complex flavor profile. Each contributes to the diverse and rich landscape of this celebrated beer style.
The Blonde Ale, boasting an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 4.1% to 5.1% and a relatively mild International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 15 to 25, presents a vibrant golden yellow color, making it a delightful complement to a range of dishes including Italian cuisine, spicy food, fish, and pepper jack cheese. This beer style is particularly known for its fruity aroma, offering a refreshing and pleasant drinking experience.
Blonde ales strike a perfect balance between the flavors of malt and hops, often delivering a subtly fruity aroma that adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the tasting experience. With its lower alcohol content compared to the average ale, Blonde Ale offers a light and easy-drinking option for those seeking a flavorful yet approachable beer. Its fruity notes evoke a sense of summer, reminiscent of sipping on a glass of refreshing lemonade on a warm, sunny day. Whether you’re enjoying it on the beach or in the comfort of your home, the Blonde Ale promises a satisfying and rejuvenating beverage choice.
Dunkel beer, with an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 4.8% to 5.3% and a moderate International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 16 to 25, exhibits a striking color palette that transitions from amber to dark reddish-brown. This beer style pairs exceptionally well with a variety of hearty dishes, including sausages, spicy Cajun food, chicken wings, and grilled meats, complementing the robust flavors of these cuisines.
Originating from Munich, Germany, the term “Dunkel” translates to “dark” in German, highlighting the beer’s rich and nuanced flavor profile. Despite its robust malt essence, Dunkel beer offers a smooth mouthfeel, making it a comfortable and enjoyable drinking experience. Balancing the flavors of chocolate, bread crust, and caramel, Dunkel beer delivers a harmonious blend of sweet and toasty notes, offering a pleasant complexity to the palate. With a mild to noticeable alcohol content and a trace of subdued hop bitterness, Dunkel beer presents a satisfying and flavorful choice for those seeking a darker yet approachable beer option.
English Pale Ales
English Pale Ales, also referred to as “extra special bitters,” are characterized by an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 4.5% to 5.5% and a relatively moderate to strong International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 20 to 40, resulting in a balanced and flavorful drinking experience. With a distinctive golden-brown color, this ale pairs exceptionally well with a variety of dishes, including American and English cuisines, meats, English cheese, roasted chicken, and maple bread pudding, enhancing the overall dining experience.
This pale ale style showcases a robust hop flavor harmoniously balanced by a sweet malt undertone, offering a well-rounded taste profile. Its medium-bodied structure further accentuates the interplay between the caramel flavors and the overall hop-malt balance. Often known as “extra special bitters” or English-Style Pale Ale (ESB), this beer style presents a satisfying and robust option for those seeking a brew with a flavorful punch, further elevating the enjoyment of both classic and contemporary culinary pairings.
German Helles, a type of pale lager, boasts an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 4.8% to 5.6% and a relatively mild International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 18 to 25, presenting a light to golden yellow hue that adds a touch of vibrancy to the drinking experience. This beer style pairs exceptionally well with a variety of dishes, including samosas, Colby cheese, baklava, pork, and brie cheese, enhancing the overall dining experience.
Similar to the American pale lager, German Helles belongs to the category of golden-colored beers characterized by low alcohol content and subdued hop bitterness. Setting it apart, German Helles showcases a more pronounced malt flavor profile, often carrying subtle hints of roasted barley. Employing lager yeast, this beer style maintains a nuanced balance, with the alcohol presence ranging from barely detectable to mild, offering a smooth and approachable taste profile. Notably,
German Helles distinguishes itself through its medium to high carbonation levels, resulting in the formation of medium and fast-rising bubbles, adding a lively visual element to the overall drinking experience.
The German-style Hefeweizen, boasting an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 4.9% to 5.6% and a relatively low International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 10 to 15, presents a refreshing option for those seeking a beer with mild bitterness and alcohol content. With a color palette ranging from straw to amber, this beer style pairs exceptionally well with a variety of dishes, including seafood, chevre cheese, and key lime pie, enhancing the overall dining experience with its light and versatile character.
Hefeweizen’s distinctive cloudy appearance stems from its high wheat and yeast content, contributing to its unique and inviting visual appeal. Notably, this beer style features subtle notes of banana, adding a delightful and fruity dimension to its overall flavor profile. For those who enjoy a richer and more robust variation, the dunkelweizen, a darker iteration of Hefeweizen, introduces specially roasted grains alongside prominent banana and clove flavors, further enhancing the beer’s complexity and depth. Whether you prefer the classic Hefeweizen or its darker counterpart, these German-style wheat beers promise a satisfying and flavorful drinking experience, making them an ideal choice for a wide range of palates.
India Pale Ales
India Pale Ale (IPA) are known for their high alcohol content, ranging from 5.1% to 10.6% ABV, and a robust hop presence with an International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 50 to 70, delivering a strong and distinctive flavor profile. Boasting a color spectrum that transitions from light gold to coppery brown, IPAs pair exceptionally well with a variety of hearty and flavorful dishes, including spicy sausages, french fries, fish tacos, and rich cheeses, complementing the robust flavors of these cuisines.
Renowned for their fruity notes and hazy appearance, IPAs often feature a delightful blend of piney and floral flavors, underlining their strong hop bitterness. Notably, IPAs come in different variations, with the American IPA, Imperial or Double IPA, and English IPA serving as prominent examples.
The American IPA, with an IBU range of 50 to 70 and an ABV of 6.3% to 7.5%, boasts a higher bitterness than a standard pale ale, presenting a bold and vibrant drinking experience for hop enthusiasts. The Imperial or Double IPA, known for its elevated alcohol content ranging from 7.0% to 14.0%, offers a robust and intense flavor profile, with a pronounced hop bitterness ranging from 65 to 100 IBU, catering to those seeking a powerful and rich brew. Finally, the English IPA, with a relatively lower ABV range of 5.0% to 7.0% and a milder bitterness measured between 35 to 63 IBU, presents a balanced and nuanced option for those looking for a more approachable yet flavorful IPA experience.
Originating from the German city of Cologne, Kölsch combines the best characteristics of both lagers and ales, delivering a light and crisp profile with subtle underlying fruitiness. This beer style offers a slightly dry and crisp finish, leaving a soft sweetness on the palate that may feature hints of apple or light pear. With its mild bitterness and balanced flavors, Kölsch stands out as a preferred choice for those who appreciate a less sour beer option. With a gentle and approachable taste profile and a refreshing appeal, Kölsch serves as an ideal companion for warm summer days, providing a cool and enjoyable beverage choice to beat the heat.
with an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 4.4% to 5.2% and a moderate International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 20 to 30, offers a unique and hybrid beer experience that draws from both lager and ale styles. Sporting a light gold color, Kölsch complements a variety of dishes, including grilled chicken, sushi, and nutty cheeses, providing a refreshing and versatile drinking option.
Pilsners, renowned as one of the most popular beer styles, owe their widespread acclaim to their light, crisp, and effortlessly drinkable characteristics with an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 4.1% to 5.3%. Notably, this style boasts a pronounced hoppy bitterness that is skillfully balanced by the presence of sweeter malts, making it an inviting and accessible choice for both seasoned beer enthusiasts and those new to the world of brews. Serving as an excellent introduction to the world of flavorful beers, Pilsners is an ideal option for individuals looking to explore the diverse range of lagers and ales available.
Did you know that the name “Pilsner” originates from the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, where this style first gained popularity and recognition? Exhibiting a soft body with a brief, clean finish, Pilsners typically feature subtle levels of fruity taste and aroma, unless enjoyed by individuals with a refined palate. Similar to other lagers, Pilsners offers a refreshing and crisp mouthfeel, making them a favored choice for beer lovers seeking a delightful and revitalizing beverage, especially during the sweltering summer months.
This versatile beer pairs exceptionally well with a variety of dishes, including ramen, tacos, spicy chili, white cheddar, chicken, and salads, complementing the diverse flavors and textures of these culinary delights.
Stouts are a type of dark-colored ale perfect for those who enjoy rich, bold flavors. Brewed with roasted barley, stouts are renowned for their distinctively bitter and malty taste, often accompanied by subtle notes of coffee and chocolate, providing a robust and satisfying drinking experience.
If you’re craving a beer with a strong malt presence, complemented by the delightful flavors of chocolate and caramel, then a Stout is the ideal choice for you. With an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranging from 3.2% to 12% and a varying International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale of 15 to 80, stouts present a diverse range of options, spanning a color spectrum from dark brown to black. This versatile beer style pairs exceptionally well with a variety of dishes, including pad Thai, ice cream, and meat, enhancing the overall dining experience with its bold and flavorful character.
Dark beers, which look like cola with their deep brown colors, originally came from the English street and river porters who favored these kinds of ales. These dark ales, called porters, are a little lighter in color and alcohol compared to stouts, usually around 4.4% to 6% ABV. They have flavors of caramel, chocolate, and coffee, and they’re not as bitter as stouts.
If you’re looking for a beer with a medium level of hop bitterness, you might enjoy trying the American Imperial Porter. The English-style porter also has a medium hop bitterness and a roasted malt flavor.
Wheat beers, as the name suggests, are brewed using wheat as their main malt component. Known for their lighter color and alcohol content, these beers offer a refreshing and tangy taste that pairs exceptionally well with various types of fruit. Brewers often enhance the flavor profile of wheat beers by incorporating seasonal fruits into the brewing process, adding an extra layer of complexity and enjoyment to the drinking experience.
Belgian wheat beers, also known as Belgian Witbiers, are a popular subset of wheat beers that utilize a distinctive blend of yeast, coriander, and orange peel, resulting in a unique and vibrant flavor profile. Generally characterized by a light body, wheat beers often resemble fruit beers in terms of their overall texture, offering a smooth and refreshing drinking experience. With a low to medium hop bitterness, these craft beers are frequently served unfiltered, giving them a slightly cloudy appearance that adds to their distinctive and appealing aesthetic.
Also read: An Introduction to The World of Craft Beer
Looking for The Best Craft Beer in Bali?
If you want to find the best craft beers from a brewery that cares about quality in Bali, consider trying craft beers from us, Canard Brewing Co. From the Strawberry Gose to Session IPA, we serve the best of both brewing and ingredients.
If you’re keen on trying out Canard’s craft beer yourself, make a stop at the Canard Taproom on Jalan Nakula in Kuta, Bali. Our mission is to serve up top-notch beer alongside some mouthwatering snacks that truly bring out the best in Canard’s craft beers. It’s all about serving their excellent beer in just the right kind of glass, like a pilsner glass for a specific beer, and we’ve got a bunch of tasty food pairings that bring out the flavors of our craft beers. Get ready for a beer adventure like no other!