One of the most fascinating things about beer is that no matter how experienced and knowledgeable you are in alcoholic beverages, there is always a different beer type or style you didn’t try out before. All the different brewing and fermentation methods and flavors of modern times brought us a growing list of this cold, refreshing miracle. Now, sit back, crack open a cold one and get to know your favorite drink better.
10 Most Popular Beer Types
1. Ale Beer
Ale is one of the two main types of beer, after lagers. Ales are usually made from malted barley, brewed with top fermenting at a warmer temperature than lager. Color-wise, they are usually darker than lagers. Ales often have a more distinct character with a more fruity, bitter and acidic taste. Because of that, not many newcomers enjoy ale beer at the first time.
2. Lager Beer
Lagers are among the most popular beers around the world. The main distinction is the fermentation process. Lagers are made in far cooler temperatures than ales and the yeast used in brewing sits on the bottom. The process can take several months. Lagers are a more popular choice among new drinkers as they often taste lighter and refreshing with a noticeably higher carbonation. Though they can be in dark colors, most range from pale to medium gold.
3. Porter Beer
The most noticeable distinction porter beers have is their color. The dark roasts used in brewing porter (such as chocolate) gives them an almost-black color. Some newcomers may think porter as a strong, bitter beer type because of their dark color but they often have a sweet, ‘’chocolatey’’ taste and contain around only %4-5 alcohol.
4. Stout Beer
Though they are very similar to porters, stouts are usually thicker and contain slightly more alcohol. They are not as sweet as porters, and can remind the taste and the texture of coffee. The flavor of a stout beer is largely dependent on its origin. American stouts are often stronger and bitter with a dark chocolate-like taste, while English and Irish stouts are usually sweeter with less bitterness.
5. IPA (India Pale Ale) Beer
India Pale Ales include a number of different beer types. Depending on the style, they can range from sweet to bitter. For example, New England IPAs have a sweet, tropical fruit centric aroma while British IPAs are bitter with a strong malty taste with biscuit and caramel flavors. They are usually on the stronger side with an average %7.5 alcohol content, but be careful as that number can go up to %12 in rare cases.
6. Pilsner Beer
Pilsner, which is a type of lager, is one of the most popular beer types, especially in hot summer days. Its name originates from Czech city of Pilsen, the city that it was first produced. Usually recognized by their bright golden color, pilsners have a light, crisp taste. Though the German and Czech pilsners are the most popular, other styles such as European, American or Canadian exist with slight alterations.
7. Belgian Beer
Belgian beers encompass a large number of different beer types since the beer culture in Belgium is very rich. They are often sweet with fruity flavors, but they are also high in alcohol. Belgian beers such as Westmalle Tripel and De Ranke XX are gaining increasing popularity in U.S. with their distinct, smooth and complex taste. Try out various Belgian beers and see which one you like the most.
8. Wheat Beer
Wheat beers, as their name suggests, are brewed with wheat, though certain amounts of barley are usually still used. This gives them a light color and sometimes a bread-like flavor. They are often low on alcohol with around %2.5-4 alcohol content. The two main wheat beer varieties are Weissbier and Witbier.
Weissbier, which literally means white beer in German, comes from Germany. It is made with top fermenting yeast and has a malty sweet taste with considerably high carbonation. Witbier, on the other hand, originates from Belgium and usually contains spices such as bitter orange peel and coriander. They have a sourer taste compared to Weissbier.
9. Sour Beer
Sour beer has been gaining popularity lately with its original taste compared to many modern beer types. Originally, most beers had a sour taste before today’s sterile fermenting machines. Today, sour beers are made by adding wild yeast strains or bacteria while brewing. They often include various fruit flavors that balance their sour taste.
10. Malt Beer
Malt beer is a very soft beer type with low alcohol content, usually around %2. Because of its very low alcohol content, malt beer is called wheat soda at times. They are brewed with low fermentation and usually taste sweet, as they sometimes contain added sugar. After popular lagers like pilsners, malt beer is very popular among newcomers.
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