Whether you frequent the local pub or not, sometimes nothing beats the cold, refreshing taste of a good beer. But as consumer tastes continue to become more complex and the industry expands, the various kinds now available at your Bottle-O are wide and many. Find yourself staring at the shelves trying to identify a stout from a lager? Here’s a quick guide to understanding beer in the modern age.
Styles of beer on the market
If you head down to the supermarket, you’ll probably be faced with a number of types, including:
- Wheat: Using wheat as the malt, it has a light colour and not a whole lot in the way of alcoholic content either. They’re tangy and fruity.
- Brown ale: With a malty flavour like the dark lager, this beer also has less alcohol and minimal bitterness.
- Porter: Think chocolate, caramel and coffee. They’re less coffee-like than your usual stout but do have a chocolate overtone.
- Pale lager/Pilsner: A golden-coloured beverage that’s lighter in flavour and has less alcohol content.
- Dark lager: Featuring a smooth and malt-like taste, this lager has a caramel flavour and mid-range alcohol content. It’s lower on the bitterness spectrum, too.
- Pale ale: Lighter in colour and heavy on the hops. It has a malty taste and a golden colour.
- Stout: Like your porter, this one has a very strong roasted flavour. It’s higher in alcohol but sits at the mid-range.
- Wild/Sour ale: Low in alcohol, tart and something different from the rest.
- German bock:
- India pale ale (IPA): a stronger option with bold hop bitterness, floral tastes and high alcohol content.
- Specialties: These beers use a distinct ingredient (e.g. honey) to create a unique taste.
- Belgian-style ale: A blonde ale that has a sweet, slightly bitter taste. It can sometimes seem spicy.
How are they categorised?
Every type of beer either falls under the umbrella of being a lager or ale. These are determined by what kind of yeast is utilised during fermentation. Typically, lagers are created using more yeast, which then ferments at the bottom of the liquid. Ales are made with a dose of yeast that ferments at the surface, instead. These days, you can even use a ‘spontaneous’ kind of yeast fermentation, resulting in the creative wild and sour ale combinations that are becoming more and more popular.
What’s your favourite type of beer? Head down to Gateway Tavern’s very own bottleshop to see our diverse range of options.