Alcohol types

7 types of beer you should know

With Oktoberfest well underway, beer season is here. But if you’re new to the space, the number of different varieties can seem overwhelming. The good news is that there is always something for everyone and a flavor to suit your palate. Overall, there are only 2 major categories of beer. Ale and lager, then the different distinctive flavors evolve from there. Under the beers, there are lagers, Indian lagers (IPA), cream beers, wheat, amber and Belgian styles. Lagers encompass a wide range of styles, including pale pilsners, German helles, amber lagers, and darker American lagers. Let’s break it down further and make everyone a beer ordering pro.

One of the most popular styles of beer in the world, this beer is golden and coppery with a distinct hoppy taste. Brewed with pale malt and brewer’s yeast, lagers tend to be hoppy and feature lighter flavors that give the drink a bitter aftertaste. They are generally low in alcohol and easy to drink.

India Pale Ale

Also known as IPAs, they usually have a deep golden or amber color. Thanks to the brewing process, IPAs tend to be a bit more bitter than other beers, but brewers temper this flavor with citrus or herbal notes that balance it out.


A product of Pilsen, Czech Republic, these light golden beers are typically made with malts, hops, and neutral or hard water. Pilsners differ significantly from other lager beers because they have a dry and slightly bitter taste. This drink is extremely popular during the summer because it is easy to drink and has a low alcohol content.


Thick and rich, stouts are best known for their dark color and thick, creamy head. They feature a heavily roasted flavor that comes from unmalted roasted barley that is added to the wort. Stouts often contain notes of coffee, chocolate, licorice or molasses, which makes this beer unique and ideal to accompany desserts.


Dating back to 18th century London, these beers have a strong toasty aroma and distinct toasty flavors. Made with roasted brown malts or barley, they often have strong notes of chocolate, caramel, coffee and caramel. Although porters are similar in color to stouts, porters taste crispier.

Brown beer

Dark beers range in color from amber to brown and are mild but flavorful. The majority of dark beers have notes of chocolate, caramel, citrus or nuts. However, depending on where the beer was brewed, it will likely taste different. The English version of brown ale is generally dry and nutty, while the American version tends to be more hoppy.

Wheat beer

With wheat as the malt, this beer has a smooth texture and a hazy body. This beer has very little presence of hops and its flavor depends on the type of wheat used. Wheat beers tend to have citrusy, tart flavors that make them a great drink for a sunny day.