Posted on May 15, 2022

Dark Beer vs. Light Beer: What You Should Know

There are two types of beers in this world: dark beer and light beer. We don’t separate by temperature, it’s a nice cold beer or nothing. They have several differences, but they’re not all necessarily consistent. Just because you prefer one dark beer over another light beer, doesn’t mean you would prefer all dark beers over all light beers. 

Dark Beer vs. Light Beer


Of course, there are a lot of big differences between dark beers and light beers. Their appearance is just the first difference you’ll notice as nearly all beers differ in color. 

Light beers can be:

  • Pale Straw
  • Straw
  • Pale Gold
  • Gold
  • Light Amber

Dark beers can be:

  • Medium Amber
  • Deep Amber
  • Amber Brown
  • Brown
  • Ruby Brown
  • Deep Brown 
  • Black

Brewing Process

If you drink beer from the can, can you tell the difference by its nutritional contents? Not necessarily. Not all dark and light beers are created equal or with the same ingredients. There are dark beers that can have more or fewer calories than any light beer, so don’t expect too much consistency. That’s why we have to consider the different ingredients and brewing process. For both beers, the brewing process includes four ingredients: 

  • Grains
  • Yeast
  • Hops
  • Water

What type and amount of grain, yeast, hops, and water is different not just between dark beers and light beers, but across individual brands. This means that dark and light beers use similar ingredients or similar amounts, but are not exactly the same. 

Dark beers usually use more ingredients, including barley, but also added tastes such as coffee, chocolate, caramel, and nuts. While light beers do use barley, they use more hops, and rarely, if ever, use added tastes. This makes for a more simplistic taste versus the complicated ones of dark beer.


It’s difficult to group all dark beers and all light beers into two categories based on taste. You can combine special ingredients to make a dark beer taste similar to some light beers, and vice versa. The big difference that is consistent across most beers, is how bitter light beers are by comparison. Light beers are also generally fruitier whereas the added tastes of dark beers are less so.

Food Pairings

But, while each beer’s taste varies wildly, the common ingredients do lead to some beers consistently pairing well with certain foods better than others. Light beers, coincidentally, pair better with lighter foods. This includes items such as pasta, salads, pizza, and light meats like chicken. From our menu, we recommend pairing light beers with:

  • Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken
  • Long Island Duck
  • Peanut Spinach Salad
  • Caesar Salad

Dark beers, in turn, pair well with more flavorful dishes with lots of juices and spices. The flavorful ingredients in dark beer tend to bring out the flavor in dishes containing grilled meats, roasted meats, smoked meats, seafood, and anything else with spices. Some items cross over and pair exceptionally well with either type of beer. For dark beers, our menu offers:

  • Grilled Spanish Octopus
  • Shrimp & Scallop Sambuca
  • Pan-Roasted Halibut
  • Ginger & Soy Glazed Salmon
  • Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop
  • 8oz. Center Cut Filet Mignon

Order a Nice Cold Beer at Kevin’s Restaurant

Kevin’s Restaurant is the best place to go to if you’re looking for quality beer and quality food to pair it with. We have a prime selection of beer and food ready and waiting for you. Check out our events page for info on our specials, and make a reservation online today.