Trying to make sense of the beer list at a bar can be quite daunting. If you don’t know what you like in a beer, you could be stuck all day at the bar playing a guessing game over what you might end up liking. With over 100 different styles of beers and more variations within them, it’s no wonder that it takes people a long time to find their go-to favorite beer. From the way it’s fermented, to the flavors that are added in, here are 5 different types of beers and everything you need to know about them so that you are ready for your next trip to the bar.
Before we dive deep into the different types of beers, here are a couple things you should know beforehand. Though we could go all day talking about the different types of beers, there are two overarching types we can use to make things simpler: Ales and Lagers. The difference is the way each is fermented. Ales are typically fermented in warm temperatures in which the yeast gathers toward the top, giving it a more aromatic and fruity flavor. On the other hand, Lagers are fermented in cooler temperatures where the yeast gathers at the bottom of the tank. This works to give it a more crisp, clean and refreshing taste.
An IPA, also known as an India pale ale, is a hoppy brew and the most popular craft beer style. Its distinct flavors come from special little flowers called hops that supply the beers with flavor, fragrance, and bitterness. Depending on how early or late the hops are added in the brewing process, it can either add bitterness to the drink or emphasize its aroma and taste. The most Prominent IPA styles include West Coast IPA, British IPA and New England Style IPA. New England IPAs carry a fruity flavor with low bitterness, while the British style is maltier and bitter. The West Coast varieties stand in the middle having both a balance between the fruitiness and bitterness. Alongside of this, there are Imperial or Double IPAs in which they are hoppier and have a higher alcohol-by-volume (abv) content.
A pale ale can be considered a milder version of an IPA as it contains less hops and the alcohol by volume (ABV) content is significantly lower. Though they have a variety of flavors, they are mainly known for their balance of malt and hops. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a great beer to start with if you’re looking to find something within this category.
Stouts are dark-colored ales made with roasted barley that impart chocolate or coffee flavors. The sweetness of this full-bodied drink comes from unfermented sugars that offset any bitterness. While the sweet stouts originate from Ireland and England, such as the popular Ireland brand name Guinness, American stouts are strong, highly roasted, bitter and hoppy, with high malt flavors giving a taste similar to that of coffee or dark chocolate.
A Pilsner is a highly carbonated lager with slight spicy notes due to its hops. Originating from Czech Republic, this easy to drink beer has become one of the most popular beers in the world due to its well-balanced taste. Their light golden color, clear body, and crisp finish make Pilsners a popular summer beer.
Pale lagers are a light to medium-bodied drink with a clean, crisp malt flavor. It is highly carbonated with a mildly bitter flavor, herbal hop notes, and a subtle grainy or slightly sweet malt profile. Bud Light, Corona Extra and Miller Lite are excellent pale ales and are very popular in America.
Though this list is a great place to start in your journey to discover your beer palate, there are many more styles and variations to try alongside of it. Whether you continue to look for your perfect beer at a local bar or at the comfort of your home, we invite you to join us for a beer at Kevin’s!