Lager is the most popular style of beer in the world, accounting for approximately 87% of the beer market in the U. S. If you're overwhelmed by the variety of options on a beer list, you're not alone. With so many different types of beer, it can be difficult to know what to choose.
But each style of beer should meet some standard features, so you can get an idea of the taste even if you order something outside your comfort zone. Pale ale is more or less responsible for inspiring the entire American craft beer movement. American Pale beers are golden to deep amber in color, medium bodied and have a moderate to high hop flavor. Some of the favorites include Sierra Nevada or Dale's Pale Ale by Oskar Blues.
It's one of the most food-friendly beers, so try it with chicken and fish, as well as chili or a plate of cheese. The darkest beers are stouts, which emerged in the early 18th century to describe strong (or burly) porters. Strong beer variants include dry stouts (such as Guinness), sweet or milk stouts (made with lactose), oat stouts (made with oats), or American stouts (which taste more hoppy than the rest). What unites them all is that they are made with deeply roasted malt, resulting in a dark brown to jet black color, with flavors of espresso coffee, sugar free chocolate or burnt bread.
Try it with soups and stews, roasts and after dinner as a dessert pairing. At the completely opposite end of the dark beer spectrum are wheat beers, which also come in a variety of sub-styles. You're probably more familiar with Belgian wheat beers, or witbiers, which include favorites like Blue Moon, Hoegaarden or Shock Top. Belgian wheat beers have a spicy, orange and citrus flavor accented by coriander and other spices, as well as a bright golden color.
These lighter, herbal beers go great with chicken and fish, salads, pasta and fruit. Pilsner is a specific type of lager that tends to be tastier than an American beer. The Czech or Bohemian pilsner was first made in 1842 in the Czech city of Plzen. The beer is pale golden and quite clear, with a bouquet of hops more spicy and floral than an American lager beer.
It is crisp and refreshing, with a complex milkshake, and it gets its bitterness from the noble Czech hops called hops Saaz. The German Pilsner was first produced after the success of the bohemian pilsner, some 30 years later. German pilsners such as Bitburger or Warsteiner tend to be lighter in color, crisper and drier than Czech Pilsner. Combine a crunchy pilsner with chicken, fish and shortbread.
American Amber Ale, like Fat Tire from New Belgium, have a more malty and caramelized profile than other pale beers, thanks to the use of caramel and crystal malt that give it a toasted toffee character. They are ideal for people who like a slightly sweeter beer with a heavier body than standard pale ale beer. American hops add a bit of citrus and pine notes to balance it. Roasted malts go great with barbecue and grilled meat and vegetables, so an Amber Ale is perfect at home on an outdoor meal.
English pale ale has a softer and more malty character than its American counterpart, with medium to high hops. English yeast gives it a fruity flavor that balances bitterness for a pint with full flavor. You have to try the English Pale Ale with a classic fish and chips, although it also tastes great with roasted chicken and fish. Since then, the line between stout and porter has become incredibly blurred, and many people use them more or less interchangeably.
A typical carrier will be dark brown to almost black with a mild hop flavor complemented by notes of unsweetened chocolate, burnt caramel and sometimes forest fruit. Its complexity lends itself to enjoying a drink along with ribs and roasts of pork, stinky cheeses and chocolate. German Hefeweizen are known for their strong banana and clove flavors from chemicals known as esters and phenols respectively. They generally have a lower alcohol content than many other styles and can vary widely in flavor intensity. You can expect a good balance between spices and fruits, as well as an opaque color similar to straw thanks to the yeast in suspension.
It tastes great with fish salads and even dishes with eggs making it a great brunch drink. American Wheat beers are usually the cleanest and hoppiest of wheat beers with less emphasis on yeast and fruit flavors but more on a crisp clean character. They are likely to remain a little hazy with notes of spices and fruits less assertive than hefeweizen because they have a light natural flavor many breweries add fruit for a unique touch making them perfect for summer thanks to their low alcohol content working great with equally subtle foods such as salads and seafood. In recent years sour beers including brett sours and salty gose have gained popularity tasting exactly how they sound with a sour taste thanks to lactic acid produced by microorganisms during fermentation The acidity level can vary widely many brewers also add fruits spices or other flavors to these single-tasting beers because they have such strong taste exfoliating to the palate combine them with original cheese creamy foods or pasta.