Craft beer is arguably larger than ever, with more than 10,000+ breweries throughout the world.
Knowing the various varieties of beer enables you, your pals, and your favorite bartender (or even your wife, who may not always approve your Friday night outings) to make recommendations and suggestions on the finest beers and they pairings with food.
Also that may help you choose the proper glass with knowledge of the different kinds of beers.
Let’s look at how beer is classified.
All beers are lagers either ales, which depend on the type of yeast used during the process of fermentation.
For lagers, the yeast ferments at the bottom of the mash, while ales use yeast that ferments at the top.
Additionally, there are spontaneously fermenting yeasts that produce called “wild” or sour ales.
Once you know whether your beer is a lager or an ale, the flavour, the reason of the such colour and scent of the beer could be choice by the moment you will decide to give a try for it or not.
These are pretty main characteristics contribute to determining the beer’s style family is.
There are variations within that family of styles that have even more defined traits you will find later in this post.
An American Lager and a German Helles, for example, are lagers from the style family called “pale lagers and pilsners”.
They are, however, two distinct types of beer that, while similar, are nevertheless radically different.
Consider the many variations to be siblings they have obvious similarities, yet each is ultimately unique.
Beer can ferment in one of three ways:
In the case of beer, top fermentation means that the yeast that’s added in during the brewing process ferments throughout the beer and rises to the top.
It is more tolerant of alcohol and ferments at greater temperatures than the yeast used here to make lager.
Stout, Porter, Pale ale, Brown ale, Wheat beer, and Belgian-style beers are all examples of top fermenting beers.
All of these beers are referred to as “top fermented beers”.
Fermentation at the bottom of the barrel.
After fermentation, the yeast used in lager production is more delicate than the yeast used in ale production, and it settles to the bottom of the brewing container after fermentation.
It must ferment slower and at lower temperatures than the beer from yeast, and has lower alcohol tolerances.
Also, examples of this kind include dark lagers, German style bocks, and pilsners.
But these are referred to as “bottom fermenting beers”.
This is my favourite beer brewing technology.
The spontaneous fermentation procedure is used to make lambics and sour beers.
When the beer is exposed to bacteria and wild yeasts, this sort of fermentation happens.
My old friend runs a small batch craft beer brewery, which is a pretty intriguing process, and he usually utilizes fruit to add bacteria. These beers originated in Belgium, but brewers all over the world have found methods to modify this process to make their own sour and very funky smelling and interesting taste beers.
Examples of spontaneously fermented beers: Flanders Red Ale, Belgian Gueuze, Belgian Fruit Lambic.
Pale Lagers and Pilsners.
Lighter-bodied golden lagers and pilsners are pale lagers that have a light and mild taste, as well as a lower alcohol content.
This beer style gained popularity in what is today the Czech Republic and Germany.
These beers tend to be conventional, but that by no way means that they are tasteless or mainstream ones.
The Czech style pilsner.
Pilsner, often known as Czech or Bohemian pilsner, is a straw-colored beer with a distinct bitter hop flavor.
These beers might have a flowery scent at times.
They are great to pair with spicy food, I personally like to drink them with spicy Asian food, if you like spicy food it’s good comes together!
Types of dark beers.
Dark lagers have roasted caramel flavors and are malty and smooth.
These beers often have a low bitterness profile and a modest alcohol percentage.
These beers are well-liked by high-quality experts, these in most cases are very good as they are rich.
Another characteristic of these beers is that they are of a darker color, have a caramel scent, and a mellow flavor that works well with meat meals. For example, the well-known Octoberfest beer is an example of this.
Schwarzbier is a dark beer with a mild flavor.
Despite the fact that Schwarzbier beers are less malty than you might anticipate, they nevertheless have a slight sweetness to them and pair exceptionally well with traditional German meals.
Types of German Bocks.
Bocks are sweet and nutty due to their robust malt flavor.
Bocks have a lesser alcohol content than doppelbocks, weizenbocks, or maibocks, which have a greater alcohol content.
Traditional Bock is a malty, sweet beer with a roasted flavor and a dark copper color that perfectly pairs with tradditional German dishes.
Brown ales types.
Brown ales are darker than pale ales due to the malts used in the grain bill and how they are treated.
Brown ales, in general, have a more malty flavour profile, not so much roasted as toasty, nutty, chocolatey, toffee, biscuit, and so on, with less fruity esters and hops plays a main supporting role in the background.
While English Brown Ales are known for showcasing malt character, many malt and grain flavours can be found, including toast, caramel, and toffee, as well as chocolate, raisin, and coffee and much beyond.
Hops are often low in this beer and aren’t really intended to contribute to the overall effect, which might be dry or sweet depending on the style.
Ales can also have geographic names like “Southern English Brown Ale”, Ales is a sweeter, darker malt focused beer, whereas “North English Brown” is somewhat more hoppy, with malt turning more toward caramel, toffee and nuttiness, much more stylishly available. Similarly, malt forward is the American Brown Ale.
However, because they are created in American style or lets called “American way”, American Brown Ales may allow the hops to peep out a little more forcefully, with fresh or zesty tastes cutting into that richer malty quality.
Bitterness from the hops will most likely be stronger in American variants, often accompanied by toasty cocoa and caramel aromas from the barley.
Pale ales types.
Pale ale is one of the most popular beer styles, not just in my opinion among who I know, but all throughout the world according statistics.
This style is often lighter in color, with a wide range of tastes, bitterness, and intensity due to the use of more pale malts, also there could be added syrups like in case of famous 1664 Blanc.
This type was developed by brewers who desired a more pure result than beer made from overcooked hops.
Various styles of pale ale were produced and polished throughout the years through brewer experimentation with equipment, water, and ingredients.
Now we have a large variety of tasty pale ales to choose from, and they’re becoming increasingly popular.
There are three main forms of pale ale: American pale ale, British pale ale, and Indian pale ale.
The flavour of American pale ales differs from that of British ones.
They have a stronger hop flavour and, on average, a greater alcohol level than their British equivalents.
Due to these distinguishing characteristics, American pale ale is a popular choice among home brewers.
It’s also a great mainstream beer for those who wish to have a bottle or two after work or one at the pub.
Their bitter taste is attributed to the India pale ale, most frequently referred to as IPA. If you see ont the bottle word “IPA” that beer definitely will be India pale ale style influenced.
IPAs should be transparent with a gold, copper, or red/brown hue, though a minor “hop haze” or “chill haze” is permissible.
Smooth IPAs will have a medium-to-full body.
When you taste it, you’ll notice a hoppy flavour as well as a variety of hoppy scents.
Let’s not forget Strong Pale Ales, which have a deep gold or copper colour with a medium body and mouthfeel.
This ale has a pleasant hop scent, as well as modest malt notes and somewhat strong fruity esters.
Hop bitterness will be with a persistent fruity, lemony, or resinous flavour.
When Strong Pale Ales are served or stored cold, a small “chill haze” may appear after taking a sip.
The typical alcohol concentration for these ales is usually between 5.4% and 6.7%, but this is not always the case.
As the strength of Pale Ales has increased over the years, craft breweries have introduced their own high-strength beers that exceed the average strength of 8%.
One of the more recent styles of beer established in London in the early 18th century is known as Porter.
Because of the use of brown malt, it was well-hopped and dark.
As you may well know, the name originates from the widespread popularity in street and river porters, that’s origin place where Porter started its steps.
Later Porter’s popularity was so widespread that it was the first beer style to be manufactured in every country, with production beginning in Ireland, North America, Sweden, and Russia before the end of the 18th century.
Stout is old and well-known.
It first appears in print in 1677, in a manuscript currently preserved in the British Museum.
The term was used there to describe a particularly strong beer.
Dark beers known as porters were becoming increasingly popular by the 1700s.
Porters of various strengths were experimented with by brewers.
Stout porters were the strongest of them, carrying from 7 to 8+ percent of alcohol by volume, and were the most popular.
A new beer style had been created.
However, the term “stout” did not become popular until much later.
Even Guinness, the most renowned of stouts, began its origins as a Porter, West India Porter was their export brand, which is now known as Guinness Foreign Extra Stout and is popular in the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa.
The most popular Guinness in the United States now is Original or Extra Stout.
However, in the early 1800s, the same drink was known as Extra Superior Porter.
Therefore, the history of porters and porters is strongly correlate.
As for today, the term “stout” refers to beers that are dark in color rather than necessarily strong.
Belgian-style beers are found in the majority of beer genres, although not all.
To begin with, there are phenol smells, which are produced by yeast and are particularly desirable in Belgian types and weizens.
Phenols emit scents that are frequently described as clove, spicy, grassy, and, for some people, bubblegum after tase.
In sour beer, phenols take on more of a barnyard or “medicinal fragrance”, both of which are desirable features thus.
Depending on the yeast, certain fruity esters are produced, such as banana or citrus like aromas.
Finally, many Belgian beers are bottle conditioned, or left fermented in the bottle, to the point that the beer can have an almost champagne like effervescence when served, it’s called double fermentation, the same way as some wines or champagne being fermented.
A Belgian-style beer will, on average, share a few of these attributes, but it is possible to find one that has none of them.
The reason Belgian beer is so rewarding to explore is because of the creative ways brewers use ingredients to brew different styles.
White beer is so named due to its unfiltered, hazy, and very pale look.
A witbier is made up to 40% wheat, and its flavour is enhanced by the addition of spices like coriander and orange peel, which give it a fruity, spicy scent.
Unlike German-style wheat beers, which use malted wheat, many witbiers use unmalted wheat.
This gives a more noticeable aroma to the product.
The flavour has a mild sweetness, a barely discernible bitterness, and some brewers add a touch of acidity during the brewing process, which intensifies the citrus flavours and makes it rather refreshing.
Alcohol by volume is moderate, between 4.2% and 5.6%.
Saison, the beer, first gained popularity in the farmhouse breweries of Wallonia, Belgium’s French-speaking province.
During the winter, the beer was produced and stored, then served to seasonal migrant workers during the summer.
Brewing saison also provided farmers with something to do during non-cropping seasons, as well as grain food that could be used to feed cattle.
Saison is a challenging beer type to categorize.
On the one hand, there are numerous parallels between the many saisons; on the other, there are quite a few distinctions.
The majority of saisons are light in color, but some are dark and some are halfway in the middle of the spectrum.
The opacity is variable, ranging from foggy to light.
Fruity esters dominate the bouquet, with notes of banana, lemons, and oranges.
The phenols can or cannot contain the clove or spicy pepper aroma.
Saisons typically have a spicy and herbal hop scent.
The flavour of hop can be moderately peppery and bitter.
Dubbel is a kind of beer that has been created for ages by monks and secular breweries.
The name is claimed to come from the fact that the style takes twice as much grain as a “regular” beer, but that doesn’t tell us anything about the style other than it’s a strong beer.
The use of dark candy sugar instead of dark roasted malts gives the dubbels a red to dark brown colour.
Burnt sugar, sultana, or chocolate-caramel scents and flavours are imparted by the candy sugar.
A dubbel can also have notes of herbs, plums, bananas, apples, spices, black pepper, and other earthy stuff we can grow.
Though the beer is dry, its flavour is usually malty and slightly sweet due to the lower usage of hops.
The best dubbels are bottle-conditioned, which adds a lot of carbonation to the beer.
Alcohol by volume is greater, often ranging between 6% and 7.5 %, but should be barely discernible in flavour or scent.
Because it requires three times as much grain as a standard beer, tripel is also known as “trippely”.
This style has been made in Belgium since 1932, but the Westmalle brewery popularized it in 1956.
Tripel is a golden to deep yellow beer with a white head that leaves lacing in the glass.
With undertones of orange or banana, the aroma can be spicy, flowery, fragrant, and fruity.
On the sweeter side, with an earthy, malty taste.
Because of the fruity scents and flavours, as well as the mild to moderate hop bitterness, this beer can appear malty and sweeter than it actually is.
The hop flavour is mild to medium and has a spicy or herbal feel to it.
Because a discussion of sour and wild beers may be a different discussion, this will be a quick overview.
Sour ales and other beers made using wild fermentation processes can be difficult to categorize.
A general definition of Flanders red and brown ales can be described as complex, sweet, and sour, with a lengthy and eventful history.
Both kinds have historically been matured in wooden barrels for an extended period of time, which contributes to the beer’s richness.
The colour of these beers ranges from deep red to brown, and they have excellent clarity and a pale head.
Among the aromas that may be present are oak, dark fruits such as black cherry, currant, date, chocolate, vanilla, toffee, and caramel, as well as other flavours.
The beer has a scent that ranges from tart citrus to sweet balsamic vinegar, depending on the batch.
The taste is a nice combination of sweet and tart, which also has many fruity scents.
There are hints of spicy flavours as well.
This beer has very little hop bitterness and no apparent hop flavours.
Alcohol by volume ranges from 4% to 8%.
We have included the most popular types of Belgian beer; however, because Belgian beers have such a long history in brewing, many other types are available; the ones listed here are the most popular.
Types of wheat beer.
Wheat beer was traditionally made with 2-row pale wheat.
As a result, the beer is golden to pale yellow in colour.
This beer will have a hazy look due to the high protein level of the wheat.
This type of beer has a more murky appearance because of the use of top-fermenting ale yeast that is added after the beer has been brewed.
Wheat beer aromas vary by region.
The classic Bavarian wheat beer has a strong banana and clove flavour that is complemented by mildly bitter hops.
The high wheat percentage gives off a distinct malty aroma.
American wheat beers use aromatic citrus hops and pine, and newer types in Europe have aromas of vanilla, citrus and even bubblegum.
Wheat beers are typically well-balanced and approachable due to their low to moderate, and occasionally no, hopping.
The aftertaste of this beer is often dry.
The mouthfeel later is similar as from first sip.
Wheat beers have a medium body and a full, creamy mouthfeel, thanks to the wheat’s rich proteins and the yeast suspended in the beer.
Wheat beers come in as many varieties as there are geographical locations.
In an American bar, you will be forced to drink a weizen because there will be no other option available as weizen their very popular.
If you go to a pub in France, Belgium, Germany, or the United Kingdom, the options are nearly limitless comparing to US.
Types of speciality beers.
Speciality beers can be of any variety or style, depending on the denomination that they are sold under, that can be literally anything.
A distinctive ingredient, such as honey or pumpkin, is frequently used to distinguish one beer style from another. These ingredients can be used in almost any beer style.
Chocolate or cocoa beers, coffee beers, fruit and vegetable beers, gluten-free beers, herb and spice beers, honey beers, fruit beers and many more to name.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know.
I advise anyone who is interested in learning more about beer’s history or who wants to become a beer expert to pick up this book because it covers everything, I call it my self beer Bible, but actually it is, and it’s correctly named 🙂
You may want to check out this wonderful writer and wonderful person in overall on his official website : Jeff Alworth
Last edited July 14, 2021. Further edits possible to improve post informativeness.