Types of Beer: A Comprehensive Guide

Beer is one of the oldest and most popular drinks in the world. It is made from grains, hops, yeast, and water, and comes in a variety of styles and flavors. All beers can be classified into three main types: lagers, ales, and hybrids. Lagers (Saccharomyces pastorianus) are the most common type of beer.

They are usually crisp, clean, and refreshing. Lagers ferment for a long time at a low temperature and rely on the yeasts fermenting at the bottom of the fermentation tank. Lagers are popular in European countries such as the Czech Republic, Germany, and the Netherlands, as well as in Canada, where they account for more than half of all beer sales. Ales (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) are a type of beer that is known for its dark black color and roasted malt aroma and notes.

Porters and stouts are two popular types of ales. Porters have a fruity or dry taste depending on the variety of roasted malt used in the brewing process. Stouts have a less sweet taste than porters and often have a bitter coffee taste due to unmalted roasted barley added to the must. Blond beers have a pale color and a clear body, with few traces of bitterness.

American Pale Ales (APAs) are hoppier than traditional English pale ales and have malt. Pilsners (Saccharomyces pastorianus) are a subspecies of lager that are distinguished by their water, which varies from neutral to hard. Pilsners are among the most hoppy lagers and generally taste dry and slightly bitter. They have a light gold color, transparent body, and crunchy finish.

Bitter beers (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) are an ancient style of beer that has gained popularity in recent years. These beers are known for their sour taste that goes well with tropical fruits and spices. Lambicas, goses, and Flanders are all types of acidic beers. Pale ales are responsible for inspiring the entire American craft beer movement.

American Pale Ales are golden to deep amber in color, medium bodied, and have a moderate to high hop flavor. They are one of the most food-friendly beers, so they go great with chicken and fish, chili or a plate of cheese. Stouts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) are the darkest beers. They emerged in the early 18th century to describe strong (or burly) porters. Stouts have a thick creamy head and flavors of espresso coffee, sugar free chocolate or burnt bread.

They go great with soups and stews, roasts and after dinner as a dessert pairing. Wheat beers (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) are at the completely opposite end of the dark beer spectrum. Belgian wheat beers (or witbiers) have a spicy, orange and citrus flavor accented by coriander and other spices, as well as a bright golden color. They go great with chicken and fish, salads, pasta and fruit. American Wheat beers (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) are usually the cleanest and hoppiest of wheat beers with less emphasis on yeast and fruit flavors. They remain slightly hazy with notes of spices and fruits less assertive than hefeweizen.

Many breweries add fruit for a unique touch making them perfect for summer due to their low alcohol content. Dubbel or tripel beers (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) have little bitterness, lots of caramel and toffee flavors, and a higher alcohol content than typical Belgian wheat beers. Carriers will be dark brown to almost black with mild hop flavor complemented by notes of unsweetened chocolate, burnt caramel, and sometimes forest fruit making them great for enjoying with ribs and roasts of pork, stinky cheeses, or chocolate.