Flex those beer skills the next time you crack open a cold one with the boys.
Technically speaking all beer falls into two categories: ales and lagers. From there, their distinct style and flavor evolve into other numerous types of beer including pale ales, porters, and stouts. However, the basic difference between the two all comes down to how they are fermented.
Still confused? Don’t worry be-er happy because, in this article, we break down the common and popular types of beer that will hopefully come in handy the next time you crack open a cold one with the boys. Cheers!
Ale is the oldest type of beer. Ales are fermented with top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning, during the fermentation and brewing process, the yeast gathers at the top. As for its flavor, it is often considered aromatic and fruity.
IPA beer, short for Indian Pale Ale is the go-to choice for people who like their beer bitter. IPAs tend to have quite a high alcohol content and are made to be extra strong and hoppy to survive long journeys giving it an extra distinct bitter taste with floral notes.
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 5.1%–10.6%
IBU (International Bitterness Unit): 50-70
Best paired with: spicy food, barbeques, burgers, roasts.
Porters are known for their dark brown color and deep, roasty, chocolate, coffee, and caramel flavor profile. They also boast hints of maltiness with medium hop bitterness.
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 4.4%–6%
IBU (International Bitterness Unit): 20-30
Best paired with: brownies, chocolate cake, grilled food.
Stouts are roasted ales and can be easily spotted by their dark, deep, and rich color. Though similar to porters, they are less sweet and are more comparable to the strong flavor and bitterness of roasted coffee.
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 3.2%–12%
IBU (International Bitterness Unit): 15-80
Best paired with: chocolate, ice cream, roasted and smoked food.
Wheat beers are known for their soft, smooth flavor and hazy or cloudy appearance. It varies widely in terms of flavor but generally is tangy and fruity.
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 2.8%–5.6%
IBU (International Bitterness Unit): 10-35
Best paired with: fresh food, grilled vegetables, salads.
In comparison to ales, lagers ferment for a longer time at cooler temperatures from 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re also called bottom-fermented beers because the yeast gathers at the bottom during the fermentation and brewing process. Lagers are the most popular beer type in the world and are usually considered the entry point for new beer drinkers. Its flavors are usually described as crisp, clean, light, and refreshing with slight hints of malt.
Pale lagers tend to have a refreshing, light, and crisp flavor profile and usually have a lower alcohol content than most beers with the main ingredient being water. It is easily paired with a wide variety of foods and is popular among American beer brands including Corona and Budweiser.
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 4.1%–5.1%
IBU (International Bitterness Unit): 5-19
Best paired with: Mexican food, hotdogs, pizza, noodles.
Pilsners, originally from the Czech Republic, are considered to be one of the hoppiest lager beers and generally have a dry, slightly bitter flavor. They have a light pale gold color and a crisp flavor that make them the popular choice during the summer.
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 4.1%–5.3%
IBU (International Bitterness Unit): 25–50
Best paired with: lightly fried dishes like calamari and tempura, seafood.
Dunkel, meaning “dark” in German is characterized by its smooth malty flavor. It has a deep dark brown appearance and is typically associated with having a caramel and bread-like flavor.
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 4.8%–5.3%
IBU (International Bitterness Unit): 16-25
Best paired with: sausages, spicy Cajun food, buffalo wings.
Bock directly translates to “goat” in German. It’s a dark, malty beer that was first brewed in Einbeck, Germany. Its flavor profile is traditionally strong and sweet.
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 6.3%–9.5%
IBU (International Bitterness Unit): 15-38
Best paired with: sausages, chicken jerky, mature cheese like Gruyere, Emmental, and Swiss.
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