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8 basic beer styles every beer lover should be familiar with

By 03.29.14

Styles of Beer List

Most men know they like beer, but do they know about beer? Sure you might be aware of an IPAs inherent bitterness or a hard cider’s sweetness, but let’s go a bit deeper and talk about some beer styles that every beer lover should know more about.

8. Ales

Ales are beers that have been brewed from malted barley using a warm-fermentation (this process is typically done between 59-68 degrees Fahrenheit and allows beers to be ready about 3 weeks after the beginning of fermentation) with a brewers’ yeast strain that gives the beer a sweet and somewhat fruity taste. Most brewers counteract the sweetness of ales with the bitterness of hops.

Example: Sam Adams Summer Ale

7. Lagers

Lagers are fermented at low temperatures. This is called cool-fermentation. Like many major beer styles, lagers break down into sub-categories such as Pilsner style.

Example: Red Stripe

6. Stouts

Typically, Stouts are dark beers that are made with roasted malt or barley, plus hops, water and yeast. These are typically strong beers of about 7-8% ABV.

Example: Guinness

5. Porters


It’s not clear if stouts and porters are, in fact, different types of beer as their origin, history and development have become somewhat entangled over the years. Porters are dark brown beers that are quite popular in European countries such as England, Germany and Ireland.

Example: Sierra Nevada Porter

4. Wheat Beers

Wheat beers have been brewed with a significant amount of wheat added to the malted barley. Germany is known for its many styles of wheat beers, including Hefeweizen. Wheat beers are often a light or white color with cloudiness from wheat protein and yeast.

Example: Blue Moon Belgian White

3. Pilsners

Pilsners are a type of pale lager that originated in the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic beginning in 1842. Modern pilsners come in a variety of styles. Most have a light, clear to yellow color with a 4.5-5% ABV.

Example: Pabst Blue Ribbon

2. Bocks

This is a strong lager that hails from Germany. Originally it was a dark beer, but modern varietals can range in colors and alcohol percentage.

Example: Michelob Amber Bock

1. Ciders

hard cider

This fermented fruit beverage is made from fruit juice and while it may not technically be a beer, you’ll find it available on tap at bars, fermenting in breweries, being tasted at festivals and competitions and getting served at restaurants. Hard cider can range from around 1.2-8.5% ABV. Fermentation is executed at temperatures of about 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of a three-month process that is then often followed by a lengthy three-year maturation process.

Example: Angry Orchard Hard Cider

(Previously published on September 27, 2013.)
Beer image by Shutterstock
Porter image: Rolling Okie, Flickr
Cider image: Adam Barhan, Flickr

Jason Epstein
About Jason Epstein... Jason Epstein is a nationally published freelance writer living in the greater NYC area. He's known for his close friends/good conversations/playing bass/wind in the face/rocking out/reading up/holding it down/good times/turning on dimes/and sometimes trying to rhyme(s). He can be reached at his website and you can follow him on Twitter here.
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