A Beer-ducation: Your Guide to Different Types of Beer
You better beer-lieve it! We’re here with a guide to the different types and styles of beer to help you sound like a pro this International Beer Day!
Most beers fall into two categories and are either an ale or a lager with the main difference between the two being the different type of yeast used during the fermentation process.
Once you’ve categorised your beer as an ale or a lager, beers are then further differentiated by the flavour, aroma and colour which then determined which style family it falls into. A beer can fall into more than one style of family with some profile similarities, but also distinct differences.
The yeast used in ales ferments the beer and settles at the top of the liquid which is known as top fermentation. The temperature is the other main difference to a lager with ales fermented at warmer temperatures and has a higher tolerance to alcohol. Examples include:
- Pale Ale: with many different variations of pale ale, it’s still growing in popularity today with the beer being aromatic with a slightly bitter taste.
- India Pale Ale (IPA): A sub-set of pale ales, IPA is a bitter, hoppy-tasting brew which was first brewed in England and gained popularity with the East India Company who began exporting it.
- Stout and Porter: “stout” and “porter” are usually used interchangeably, with the main difference being that stout is a stronger type of dark beer, whereas porters have a roasted flavour to them.
- Belgium Style Beer: these tend to be less bitter than other pale ales and have sweet malty overtones.
Lagers are produced with a yeast that is more fragile than the yeast used to make ales and settles at the bottom of the liquid after fermentation. It also has a lower tolerance to alcohol, ferments more slowly and at cooler temperatures. Examples include:
- Pale lagers: the most popular types of beer in the world and tend to be dryer with a more hoppy aroma than pilsners.
- Pilsners: often mistaken for a pale ale, Pilsner originated from Pilsen in the Czech Republic and tend to be more highly carbonated with a fuller aroma to them.
- Dark lagers: sometimes mistaken for a stout or porter, it usually lighter in the body with hops producing what some consider a pleasant bitterness.