Types of Beer

Today we’re talking our way through beer words and beer terms – the different types of beer to make you sound like an expert.

There was no way to get every type of beer in this article but we have done our best to break them down to the major categories that they fall into and what makes each category special.

Beers are put in categories based on a ton of different attributes – flavor, strength, origin, color, etc. Basically, there are two different types of beers – ales and lagers. So, what’s the difference?

Yeast in ales is top fermenting which means they’ll work their magic at around

60 to 75 degrees whereas yeasts in lagers are bottom-fermenting, which means

that they’ll do their thing at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, two types of beer, right? Well kind of in beer terms. There are also categories within ales and lagers.  Let’s start with ales.  


Ales have more esters they’re going to be light bodied and crisp.  Ales can be broken down into: Blonde Ale, Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, IPA, Red Ale, Porters and Stout.

Blonde ale – straw to medium blonde color and have moderate bitterness and maltiness.  They are close relatives of traditional mass market lagers.

Pale Ale – golden to amber in color. They are brewed with pale malt and have moderate strength. Brew some up here with your own home brew kit.

IPA (India Pale Ale) – these have lots of hops.  There are three main styles of IPA’s; American, English and Double – also known as Imperial.

Hefeweizen – is an unfiltered ale is an unfiltered German wheat beer which gives the beer a hazy or cloudy appearance.   

Red ales – originated in Europe and surprise – they’re red.  They use specially roasted malts that help give the beer sweet flavor. Check out some foods to pair with beer.

Porters – are brewed with malted barley and can have notes of chocolate or coffee. They are generally less bitter than stouts.

Stouts – are generally very dark in color and usually quite bitter.

So that’s the ales now let’s talk about the lagers.


Lagers are usually fuller bodied and have a little bit more of a malty taste. There are three main categories of lagers.   Pale lagers, dark lagers and bocks.

Dark lagers – they range in color usually from amber to a dark reddish brown.

Pale lagers – very pale to golden colored beers. This is the most popular type of beer consumed in the world today.

Bocks – are lagers that spend extra time in cold storage to smooth out some of the more intense flavors. They’re dark amber in color and usually have a very high level of maltiness and low level of hoppiness.

Now in between the two categories of beers: ales and lagers, there are also two smaller categories called Specialty beers and Amber ales.

Specialty beers

Specialty beers – are beers that have some type of new flavor added to the classic style – fruits, herbs, spices, hot peppers, honey and maple syrup are all examples of things that might be added to specialty beers.

Amber’s Ales – have a medium to high malt character and are brewed using roasted crystal malts. They’re full-bodied and usually have a hint of caramel.

Another thing that you may hear is beers based on the amount of alcohol that they contain.  For example: a double, triple, quad or imperial are all styles of beer with a very high alcohol content.

You may also hear the term session – which means that it has a lower alcohol content than normal.

So that’s pretty much the main types of beer, obviously within each category you could divide them into a million more subcategories, but this is a good start.

Want to know two of my favorite beer words? Cold beer!

So, did you learn any new beer terms or beer words – did you already know everything there is to know about beer?  😉

Next time you crack open a cold one you can enjoy your beer with a little more knowledge and claim your fame in the beer naming game. Now check out some homebrewing terms here.

Get started homebrewing – check out some home brewing systems – cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>