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What Are The Different Types Of Beer?

Views: 4     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-09-07      Origin: Site

With so many different types of beers around the world, foodservice establishments continue to expand their beer list. While an extensive beer menu guarantees that there’s a drink for every beer lover that dines at your establishment, it can make it difficult for bartenders and servers to understand how each drink is unique. This detailed beer guide will help you identify the key differences between each beer to easily make beer and food pairing recommendations and upsell customers.

How Is Beer Classified?

Every beer that you’ve served at your brewery, bar, or restaurant can be broken down into 2 basic types: ales and lagers. The main difference between an ale and a lager is the type of yeast used to ferment the beer. Although using a different type of yeast may sound like something simple, it completely changes the way a beer is fermented and tastes.

How Are Ales Made?

Ales are brewed with Saccharomyces cerevisiae which is a yeast that ferments throughout the beer and settles at the top of the vessel. They typically ferment at temperatures between 60°F to 75°F which allows the yeast to quickly process. Ales have a high tolerance for alcohol and are known for having richer and more complex flavors than lagers.

How Are Lagers Made?

Lager beers are brewed with Saccharomyces pastorianus yeast which ferments at the bottom of the vessel. This type of yeast ferments best at temperatures between 35°F to 55°F. The fermentation process of lagers takes longer to complete than ales because they ferment in cooler temperatures. Lagers also tend to have a crisper and cleaner taste than ales.

Different Types Of Beers

Beers may be broken down into ales and lagers, but there are a number of different types of beers. Each beer varies greatly in its color, alcohol content, and taste. Understanding the difference between each kind of beer will allow you to make drink recommendations to customers based on their meal or taste preferences.

1.Pale Ales

The pale ale is one of the most popular beer styles in the world. It’s known for its golden to copper color and hops. Brewed with pale malt and ale yeast, pale ales tend to be hoppy and feature light malt flavors which give the drink a bitter aftertaste. They generally have low alcohol content and are easy to drink.

Types Of Pale Ales

  • American amber ale

  • American pale ale

  • Blonde ale

  • English pale ale

Pale Ale Food Pairings

  • Spicy foods

  • Savory dishes

2.India Pale Ales

India pale ales (IPAs) usually have a golden or amber color. This beer tends to be bitter due to the number of hops used to brew it. However, many brewers add citrus or herbal tones to IPAs which help balance the bitterness and make it flavorful. This drink possesses high alcohol content and many patrons may find this drink to be strong. Before recommending IPAs to customers, ask them if they would like a hoppy but heavy drink.

Types Of India Pale Ales

  • American IPA

  • English IPA

  • Imperial IPA

  • New England Style IPA

  • West Coast IPA

India Pale Ale Food Pairings

  • Fried foods

  • Meats

  • Fish

  • Poultry


Originating in Pilsen, Czech Republic, this light gold drink is typically made with malts, hops, and neutral or hard water. Pilsners stand out from other lagers because they have a dry, slightly bitter taste. This beverage is extremely popular during the summertime because it’s easy to drink and has low alcohol content.

Types Of Pilsners

  • American pilsner

  • Czech pilsner

  • German pilsner

Pilsner Food Pairings

  • Soft cheeses

  • Seafood

  • Poultry

  • Pork


Stouts are well-known for their dark color and thick, creamy head. They feature a heavily roasted flavor that comes from unmalted roasted barley that is added to the wort. Stouts often contain hints of coffee, chocolate, licorice, or molasses which makes this beer unique and great to pair with desserts.

Types Of Stouts

  • American stout

  • American imperial stout

  • Irish dry stout

  • Milk stout

  • Oatmeal stout

  • Oyster stout

Stout Food Pairings

  • Desserts

  • Grilled meats

  • Shellfish


Porters originated in London during the 18th century and are well-known for their toasty aroma and roasted flavors. They are made with roasted brown malts or barley which gives the drink strong notes of chocolate, toffee, coffee, and caramel. Although porters have a similar color to stouts, porters have a crisper taste.

Types Of Porters

  • American imperial porter

  • Baltic porter

  • English brown porter

  • Robust porter

  • Smoke porter

Porter Food Pairings

  • Smoked foods

  • Barbeque

  • Desserts

6.Brown Ales

Brown ales range in color from amber to brown and are mellow but flavorful. The majority of brown ales feature chocolate, caramel, citrus, or nut notes. However, depending on where the beer was brewed, it’ll likely have a different flavor. The English version of the brown ale is usually dry and nutty, while the American version tends to be hoppier.

Types Of Brown Ales

  • American brown ale

  • English brown ale

  • Mild brown ale

Brown Ale Food Pairings

  • Nutty cheeses

  • Red meats

  • Barbeque

7.Wheat Beers

With wheat as its malt, this beer has a smooth texture and hazy body. This beer has very little hops presence and its flavor depends on the type of wheat used. Wheat beers tend to have citrusy and tangy flavors that make them a great beverage for a sunny day.

Types Of Wheat Beers

  • American wheat

  • Belgian witbier

  • Berliner Weisse

  • Dunkelweizen

  • Hefeweizen

Wheat Beer Food Pairings

  • Salads

  • Fruit tarts

  • Vegetables

  • Seafood

8.Sour Ales

Sour ales are brewed with wild yeast and bacteria to help provide them with high levels of acidity. The acidity gives the beer a tart and sour flavor as opposed to the bitter flavors you usually taste in other ales. Many brewers also add fruits and spices to wild ales to give them a sweet, fruity profile.

Types Of Sour Ales

  • American Brett

  • American sour

  • Belgian fruit lambic

  • Belgian gueuze

  • Flanders red ale

Sour Beer Food Pairings

  • Fruit tarts

  • Salads

  • Seafood

  • Vegetables

You’re Officially A Beer Expert!

Now that you have an understanding of what every beer tastes like and how each one is unique, you can confidently make drink recommendations based on your customers’ preferences. You also have the ability to make beer and food pairings that complement and accentuate the flavors of your food and beer. If your beer list doesn’t include some of these beverages, feel free to add them to your menu to upsell customers and increase profits.

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