Different Types of Beer: A Beginners Guide

Different Types of Beer: A Beginners Guide

Different Types of Beer: A Beginner’s Guide

For you to understand the different types of beers, you must first understand the exodus of it.

Here is a short introduction to beer.

What is Beer?

Beer is a collective term referring to carbonated alcoholic drinks. The word ‘carbonated’ in this sense means that the carbon dioxide acts as a preservative used to store and maintain the beer in its current state.

The ingredients that make up beer are water, grain cereals, spices, and yeast. Grains play a considerable role in the color and aroma of beer, depending on how it was roasted or kilned. Water makes up 70% percent of the beer, spices contribute to flavor, and yeast is involved in the process of fermentation.

By altering the measurements of the variables used in the brewing, different types of beers can be created.

Types of Beer Style

The taxonomy of beer is broad. The main classes of beer are ales and lager – the difference arising from the yeast and fermentation temperature used during the brewing processes.

These two classes are further grouped to help you understand the different types of beer. Let us take a look at the different types of beer style.

1. Lagers

Pale Lager

The most popular brands out there are pale lagers. These beers are characterized by their low Alcohol by Volume ABV of 4-5%, and their light and crispy taste. They are typically served cold.


This lager is named after the town of its origin. With an ABV of 5-6%, they are not very different from pale lagers. The main difference is the flavor hop used – Saaz.

Dark Lagers

These beers are mostly dark due to the roasting of its grains. Their ABV range is from 4-5% and will taste less bitter.

An example of dark lager is New Belgium 1554. It has a roasty taste of porter and stout.

2. Ales

Pale Ale

These are commonly regarded as craft beers. Their low ABV content, 4-6%, makes them your perfect go-to beer if you are trying out ales for the first time. Typical examples are the Sierra Nevada and Coopers.

Indian Pale Ale (IPA)

Indian Pale Ale (IPA) is a broader category of pale ale. You can also refer them as an accidental beer rose from the experimentation of various brewing recipes by English men during their settling in India.

IPA is extra hoppy with an ABV of 6-7% or higher.

Stout and Porter

It is easy to mistake them as dark lager, due to their resemblance. However, they are very distinct in many ways. They are dark with an ABV of 4-10%.

Stouts and porters are a class of beers which were initially classified as one. As time past, their difference in ABV and ingredients separate the two. Malted barley are used in Porters while stouts use unmalted roasted barley.

Need a recommendation for a stout and porter style of beer? Try Guinness.

English Bitter All

This beer type is bitter but less so when compared to IPA. Although they are not as bitter as IPA, they share, to some extent, a similar sweetness on the palate. They are recommended winter drinks and suit England’s climate flawlessly. Their colour range from gold to silver copper and are brewed with ale yeast.

Belgian Ale

This beer is characterized by its rich, thick head, and spicy taste. Initially, It was a result of the anti-German counteract during World War II. It is difficult to establish a standard for this type of ales due to its varying in colour, ABV, and aroma.

3. Others

Wheat Beer

As its name suggests, wheat beer is made from wheat. An interesting fact is that it can be made to either ale or lager. They have a light colour, contain little hops, and have a ABV of 4-7%. It is a perfect selection for the spring and summer season.

Wild Ale

Wild ale is a more recent beer type. You may consider it as an evolution from ale and lager. It differs in the type of yeast used, when compared with ale and lager.

In wild ale, a particular type of yeast called wild yeast is used in the brewing. Wild yeast is define as being found naturally in the environment. It is worth mentioning that the variation of taste arises from yeast used, as well as the brewing process.

Light, Mid-Strength & Stronger Beers

Alcohol content or ABV plays a big role in beer classification. However, you may notice that it is not possible to classify all beer types solely by ABV.

In fact, all the above beer types mentioned above can also be classified as either light, mid-strength or strong beers. Light beers have low ABVs of around 3%, while mid-strength ones range between 3-4%. Strong beers have ABV content of 7.5% and above.


Beers are ancient drinks that were meticulously brewed for different occasions and reasons. Whether you are a bartender, a beer enthusiast, or just someone who is trying to adopt a new beverage, having basic beer knowledge can help you choose the perfect selection for your event.

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