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Different Types of Beer

Different Types of Beer

Last updated on 5/09/2019

With over 3,000 craft breweries in the United States, it’s safe to say that craft beer is bigger than ever. Knowing about the different types of beer can help your employees and bartenders make recommendations and suggestions about the best food and beer pairings. Additionally, knowing about the different types of beer can help you choose the right glass for each beer and potentially upsell customers to boost profits.

Different Styles of Beer

Click on the links below to learn more about your favorite style of beer: 

How is Beer Categorized?

All beers are either lagers or ales, and that's determined by the type of yeast used during the fermentation process. Lagers are made with yeast that ferments at the bottom of the beer mixture, and ales are made with yeast that ferments at the top. There are also spontaneously fermenting yeasts, which make wild or sour ales.

Once you’ve figured out if your beer is a lager or an ale, there is further differentiation determined by the flavor, color, and aroma of the beer. These determine what style family a given beer falls into. Within that style family, there are varieties, which have even more distinct characteristics.

For example, an American Lager and a German Helles are both lagers that belong to the "pale lagers and pilsners" style family. They are two different varieties of beer, however, and while they are similar, they are also distinctly different. Think of the different varieties like brothers; they have definite similarities, but ultimately, they are each their own person.

Read on to learn more about the three different ways beer ferments:

What is Top Fermentation?

The yeast that is used in ale production ferments throughout the beer and settles at the top of the liquid. It has a higher tolerance to alcohol and ferments at warmer temperatures when compared to the yeast that’s used to make lager.

Top Fermenting Styles of Beer

Here are some examples of top fermenting beers:

  • Brown Ale
  • Pale Ale
  • India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • Porter
  • Stout
  • Belgian Style Beer
  • Wheat Beer

What is Bottom Fermentation?

The yeast used in lager production is more fragile than what’s used to make ale, and it settles at the bottom of the liquid vessel after fermentation. It needs to ferment more slowly and at cooler temperatures than the yeast that’s used in ale production, and it has a lower tolerance to alcohol.

Bottom Fermenting Styles of Beer

Here are a few examples of bottom fermenting beers:

  • Pale Lagers and Pilsners
  • Dark Lagers
  • German-Style Bocks

What is Spontaneous Fermentation?

Lambics and sour beers are made with a process called spontaneous fermentation. This type of fermentation occurs when beer is exposed to wild bacteria and yeast. These beers originated in Belgium, but brewers all over the world have found ways to manipulate this process to create sour, funky-tasting beers of their own.

Spontaneous Fermenting Styles of Beer

Here are a few examples of spontaneous fermenting beers:

  • American Sour
  • Belgian Fruit Lambic
  • Flanders Red Ale
  • Belgian Gueuze

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Different Styles and Varieties of Beer

Check out the tables below to learn about the different styles and varieties of beer.

Types of Pale Lagers and Pilsners

Pale lager and pilsners are golden-colored beers that are lighter in flavor and lower in alcohol content. This style of beer became popular in what is now modern Czech Republic and Germany.

American Lager

American lager in a lager glass

American lager is light in flavor, color, and alcohol content, and is often produced in large quantities.

ABV: 3.2-4.0% IBU: 5-15

Examples: Budweiser, Coors, Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pairs With: American cuisine, spicy food

Serving Temperature: 30-40 F


German Helles

German Helles in a pilsner glass

German helles is maltier than a traditional pilsner and features a bright gold color.

ABV: 4.8-5.6% IBU:18-25

Examples: Victory Helles Lager, Stoudt's Gold Lager

Pairs With: German cuisine, pork, brie

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


German Pilsner

Pilsner beer

German pilsner is pale gold in color with a medium hop flavor and a slight note of maltiness.

ABV: 4.6-5.3% IBU: 25-40

Examples: Tröegs Sunshine Pils, Sierra Nevada's Nooner Pilsner

Pairs With: German cuisine, poultry, fish, spicy cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


Czech or Bohemian Pilsner

Czech pilsner beer in a pilsner glass

Czech or bohemian pilsner is a straw-colored beer with a noticeably bitter hop flavor. These beers can sometimes have a floral aroma.

ABV: 4.1-5.1% IBU: 30-45

Examples: Lagunitas PILS, Dogfish Head Piercing Pils

Pairs With: Spicy food, Asian cuisine, sharp cheddar cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


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Types of Dark Lagers

Dark lager is malty and smooth, with toasted caramel flavors. These beers tend to have mid-range alcohol content and lower bitterness profiles.

Amber American Lager

Amber American Lager beer in a glass

Amber lager features prevalent malt flavors with varying levels of hoppiness. This beer is also characterized by a darker color, caramel aroma, and smooth taste.

ABV: 4.8-5.4% IBU: 18-30

Examples: Yuengling Lager, Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Pairs With: American cuisine, poultry and beef, cheddar

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest beer in a pint glass

Named for the celebration in Munich, Oktoberfest is a full-bodied beer with a rich, toasted flavor and a dark copper color.

ABV: 5.1-6.0% IBU: 18-25

Examples: Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen, Victory Brewing Company Festbier

Pairs With: German cuisine, meat and vegetables, spicy cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


German Schwarzbier

German Schwarzbier in a snifter glass

Schwarzbier is a dark beer that is surprisingly light in flavor. Schwarzbiers are less malty than would be expected, but still boast a slight sweetness.

ABV: 3.8-4.9% IBU: 22-30

Examples: Shiner Bohemian Black Lager, Guinness Black Lager

Pairs With: German cuisine, spicy food, muenster cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


Vienna Lager

Vienna lager in a pint glass

Vienna lager is reddish in color with a sweet malty flavor. These beers boast a subtle hop flavor and crisp drinkability.

ABV: 4.5-5.5% IBU: 22-28

Examples: Dos Equis Amber Lager, Great Lakes Eliot Ness, Blue Point Toasted Lager

Pairs With: German cuisine, Mexican cuisine, pork, spicy cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


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Types of German Bocks

Bocks are heavy on malty flavor, making them sweet and nutty. Bocks have lower alcohol levels, while doppelbocks, weizenbocks, and maibocks move up the alcohol scale.

Traditional Bock

Traditional Bock in a Belgian beer glass

The bock is a malty, sweet beer with a toasty flavor and a dark copper color.

ABV: 6.3-7.5% IBU: 20-30

Examples: Samuel Adams Winter Lager, Great Lakes Rockefeller Bock

Pairs With: German cuisine, meat and vegetables, chocolate, Camembert cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


Doppelbock

Doppelbock beer in a Belgian glass

Doppelbocks are stronger than the traditional style and boast a higher alcohol content and a fuller body.

ABV: 6.6-7.9% IBU: 17-27

Examples: Tröegs Troegenator Double Bock, Samuel Adams Double Bock

Pairs With: Heavy foods like red meat, pork, or ham, and sharp cheeses

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


Weizenbock

Weizenbock beer in a Belgian beer glass

Weizenbocks are wheat bocks and can take on fruity, malty flavors.

ABV: 7.0-9.5% IBU: 15-35

Examples: Victory Brewing Company's Moonglow, Southern Tier Brewing Company's Goat Boy

Pairs With: German cuisine, meat and poultry, chocolate

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


Maibock

Maibock beer in a goblet

Maibocks are more pale and hoppy than traditional bocks, although the malt flavor is still present.

ABV: 6.0-8.0% IBV: 20-38

Examples: Capital Maibock, Hofbräu Maibock, Smuttynose Maibock

Pairs With: Italian and German cuisines, fish and shellfish, asiago and swiss cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


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Types of Brown Ales

Brown ales feature malty overtones and tend to have toasty, caramel flavors. They typically feature mid-range alcohol content and hop bitterness.

American Brown Ale

American Brown Ale in a beer mug

American brown ale is a dark beer without the bitterness of porters and stouts. This style boasts a dark caramel color and a medium to full-bodied profile.

ABV: 4.2-6.3% IBU: 25-45

Examples: Brooklyn Brown Ale, Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown

Pairs With: American cuisine, heavy foods like beef stew, red meat

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


English Brown Ale

English Brown Ale in a mug

English brown ale features a nutty malt flavor with a caramel aroma.

ABV: 4.0-5.5% IBU: 15-25

Examples: Newcastle Brown Ale, City Star Brewing's Bandit Brown

Pairs With: American cuisine, heavy foods, red meat, poultry, gouda cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


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Types of Pale Ales

Pale ales are generally hoppy but lower in alcohol content than IPAs. They are typically light, drinkable beers.

American Amber Ale

American Amber Ale in a beer mug

American amber ale is a malty, medium-bodied beer with a caramel flavor and amber color.

ABV: 4.4-6.1% IBU: 25-45

Examples: Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale, Stone Brewing Company's Levitation Ale

Pairs With: American cuisine, meat, fish, bleu cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


American Pale Ale

American Pale Ale in a mug

American pale ale is a medium-bodied beer with a noticable hop flavor and a light copper color.

ABV: 4.4-5.4% IBU: 30-50

Examples: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's Pale Ale, Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

Pairs With: Fish and seafood, poultry, cheddar cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


Blonde Ale

Mug full of blonde ale

Blonde ales balance the flavors of malt and hops nicely, and they often have a fruity aroma.

ABV: 4.1-5.1% IBU: 15-25

Examples: Victory Brewing Company's Summer Love, Flying Fish Brewing Company's Farmhouse Summer Ale

Pairs With: Italian cuisine, spicy food, fish, pepper jack cheese

Serving Temperature: 35-40 F


English Bitter

Beer mug full of English bitter beer

English bitters are named for the bitter flavor that the hops present. They have fruity flavors and lower alcohol content.

ABV: 3.0-4.2% IBU: 20-35

Examples: Sharp's Brewery's Doom Bar Bitter, Surly Brewing Company's Bitter Brewer

Pairs With: Fried food, fish, feta cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


English Pale Ale

English Pale Ale in a beer mug

Also known as "extra special bitters," English pale ales have a strong hop flavor that is balanced by sweet malt.

ABV: 4.5-5.5% IBU: 20-40

Examples: Black Sheep Ale, Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale

Pairs With: American and English cuisines, meat, and English cheeses

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


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Types of India Pale Ales (IPAs)

IPAs (short for India pale ales) boast strong hop bitterness with piney and floral flavors. These beers also have high alcohol content.

American IPA

American IPA in a pint glass

American IPAs have more hops, big herbal or citrus flavors, and high bitterness compared to pale ale.

ABV: 6.3-7.5% IBU: 50-70

Examples: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Pairs With: American and Indian cuisines, meat, poultry, fish, and gorgonzola cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


Imperial or Double IPA

Imperial IPA in a Belgian glass

Imperial or Double IPAs are American IPAs, but with a stronger flavor, hop bitterness, and a higher alcohol content.

ABV: 7.0-14.0% IBU: 65-100

Examples: Russian River Brewing Company's Pliny the Elder, Lagunitas Maximus

Pairs With: American cuisine, meat, fish, and sharp cheddar

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F

English IPA

English IPA in a pint glass

English IPAs are similar to the American style, but with a weaker hop flavor and lower alcohol content.

ABV: 5.0-7.0% IBU: 35-63

Examples: Goose Island India Pale Ale, Shipyard IPA, Samuel Smith’s India Ale

Pairs With: American and Indian cuisines, fish, and parmesan cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


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Types of Porters

Porters are all dark in color, and they feature flavors reminiscent of chocolate, coffee, and caramel. They tend to be more chocolatey than brown ales, and less coffee-like than stouts.

American Imperial Porter

American Imperial Porter in a pint glass

American imperial porters are dark in color, but lacking in burnt malt taste. They also boast a malty sweetness.

ABV: 7.0-12.0% IBU: 35-50

Examples: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's Porter, Stone Smoked Porter

Pairs With: American cuisine, barbecue, meat, and asiago cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


English Brown Porter

English Brown Porter in a mug

English brown porter is similar to the American style, but usually with a lower alcohol content and less malt sweetness.

ABV: 4.5-6.0% IBU: 20-30

Examples: Shipyard Longfellow Winter Ale, Arcadia London Porter

Pairs With: American and English cuisines, meat, chocolate, and fontina cheese

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F


Robust Porter

Beer mug of a robust porter

Robust porters are stronger and more bitter than a brown porter with a subtle caramel flavor.

ABV: 5.1-6.6% IBU: 25-40

Examples: Smuttynose Robust Porter, Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter

Pairs With: American and English cuisines, heavy foods like stew, and colby cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F
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Types of Stouts

Stouts are dark beers that are similar to porters, but with stronger roasted flavors. This style also features mid to high alcohol levels.

American Stout

American Stout in a Belgian beer glass

American stouts feature malt flavors working to create strong chocolate and coffee notes, but without overpowering hop bitterness.

ABV: 5.7-8.9% IBU: 35-60

Examples: Highland Black Mocha Stout, Bell's Kalamazoo Stout

Pairs With: Heavy foods, meat, oysters, chocolate, and brie cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


American Imperial Stout

Belgian beer glass full of American Imperial Stout

American imperial stouts are strong dark beers with a malty flavor and a deep black color.

ABV: 7.0-12.0% IBU: 50-80

Examples: Dogfish Head Brewery's Worldwide Stout, Stoudt's Fat Dog Imperial Stout, Bell's Java Stout

Pairs With: Heavy foods, poultry, aged cheddar

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Oatmeal Stout

Oatmeal Stout

As their name suggests, oatmeal stouts feature oatmeal in their malt blend. This adds smoothness and sweetness to the beer.

ABV: 3.8-6.0% IBU: 20-40

Examples: Young's Oatmeal Stout, Tröegs Java Head Stout

Pairs With: Meat, shellfish, chocolate, camembert cheese

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F

Milk Stout

Pint glass full of milk stout beer

Lactose sugar adds a sweet caramel or chocolate flavor to milk stouts.

ABV: 4.0-7.0% IBU: 15-25

Examples: Young's Double Chocolate Stout, Lancaster Brewing Company's Milk Stout, Samuel Adams Cream Stout

Pairs With: Mexican cuisine, beef, chocolate, ice cream, and cheddar or goat cheese

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F

Irish Dry Stout

pint glass of Irish dry stout beer

Irish dry stouts are dark beers; black in color with a bitterness that comes from roasted barley.

ABV: 3.8-5.0% IBU: 30-40

Examples: Guinness Draught, Murphy's Irish Stout, Beamish Irish Stout

Pairs With: Heavy food like beef and stew, barbecue, burgers

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


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Types of Belgian Styles

Belgian beers are known for their spiced, sweet, and fruity flavors and high alcohol content. Despite their high alcohol content, belgians are usually low in bitterness.

Belgian Pale Ale

Belgian beer glass with Belgian Pale Ale

Belgian pale ale contains a toasted malt flavor that is subtle enough to not overpower the taste of the hops.

ABV: 4.0-6.0% IBU: 20-30

Examples: Weyerbacher Brewing Company's Verboten, Samuel Adams Belgian Session

Pairs With: American cuisine, fried food, fish, salad, and tangy cheeses

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Belgian Dubbel

Belgian Dubbel

Belgian dubbels feature rich and malty flavor with a spicy, fruity note.

ABV: 6.3-7.6% IBU: 20-35

Examples: Chimay Premiere, Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale, Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel

Pairs With: American cuisine, barbecue, meat, and Limburger cheese

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F


Belgian Tripel

Belgian Tripel beer

Belgian trippels are lighter-bodied beers with a slight hoppy bitterness and a high alcohol content.

ABV: 7.1-10.1% IBU: 20-45

Examples: Victory Golden Monkey, Weyerbacher Merry Monks

Pairs With: Pasta dishes, meat, poultry, gouda cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Belgian Quadrupel

Belgian Quadrupel beer

Belgian quadrupels are dark brown, full-bodied beers that exhibit flavors like brown sugar and fruit. They also have a very high alcohol content.

ABV: 7.2-11.2% IBU: 25-50

Examples: Weyerbacher QUAD, Brewery Ommegang Three Philosophers

Pairs With: Smoked meat, goose, brie cheese

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F


Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Belgian Strong Dark Ale beer

Belgian strong dark ale features a very high alcohol content with complex fruity flavors.

ABV: 7.0-15.0% IBU: 20-50

Examples: Bell's Brewery's Hell Hath No Fury Ale, Dogfish Head Brewery's Raison D'Être

Pairs With: American cuisine, barbecue, bleu cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Belgian Saison

Belgian Saison

Saisons (also known as farmhouse ales) have earthy notes and a medium hop flavor.

ABV: 4.4-6.8% IBU: 20-38

Examples: Samuel Adams Rustic Saison, Dogfish Head Brewery's Noble Rot, Victory Brewing Company's Helios

Pairs With: Indian and Asian cuisine, poultry, seafood, and parmesan cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


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Types of Wheat Beers

As you might have guessed, wheat beers use wheat as their malt. They are generally lighter in color and alcohol content. Their tangy flavors go great with fruit, and brewers often add seasonal fruits to wheat beer.

American Pale Wheat

American Pale Wheat

American pale wheat beer is pale in color, lower in alcohol content, and with a light bready flavor.

ABV: 3.5-5.6% IBU: 10-35

Examples: Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat, Shipyard Summer Ale

Pairs With: Mexican cuisine, spicy food, poultry, and mozzarella cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Belgian Witbier

Belgian Witbier

Witbier gets its name from its white color, and has a light, fruity flavor to match.

ABV: 4.8-5.6% IBU: 10-17

Examples: Hoegaarden White Ale, Dogfish Head Brewery's Namaste, Blue Moon Belgian White, Victory Brewing Company's Whirlwind Witbier

Pairs With: Seafood, poultry, pork, salad, and soft cheeses

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Berliner Weisse

Berliner Weisse

Berliner Weisse is tart, sour beer with a pale color. Sometimes raspberry syrup is added to dull the sour taste.

ABV: 2.8-3.4% IBU: 3-6

Examples: Dogfish Head's Festina Peche, Freetail Brewing Company's Yo Soy Un Berliner

Pairs With: German Cuisine, ham, salad, and soft cheeses

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Dunkelweizen

Dunkelweizen

Dunkelweizen is a darker version of a Hefeweizen. These beers have a malty flavor with hints of banana.

ABV: 4.8-5.4% IBU: 10-15

Examples: Samuel Adams Dunkelweizen, Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Dunkel

Pairs With: German and Indian cuisines, fish, and goat cheese

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F


Hefeweizen

Hefeweizen

Hefeweizen is a light colored wheat beer with a crisp taste that can sometimes have hints of cloves or apples.

ABV: 4.9-5.6% IBU: 10-15

Examples: Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen, Magic Hat Circus Boy

Pairs With: German cuisine, seafood, fish, and brick cheeses

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


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Types of Wild & Sour Ales

Wild or sour ales are typically very low in alcohol, and feature tart, sour flavors that come from (safe) bacteria in the brew mash.

American Sour

American Sour

American sour beer packs a wild punch from certain bacteria that are introduced during the fermentation process.

ABV: Varies IBU: Varies

Examples: Samuel Adams American Kriek, Weyerbacher Riserva

Pairs With: Fruit and strong cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Belgian Fruit Lambic

Belgian Fruit Lambic

Belgian fruit lambics are brewed with fruit to make an intense sweet and sour flavor.

ABV: 5.0-8.9% IBU: 15-21

Examples: Upland Brewing Company's Raspberry Lambic, Dogfish Head Festina Lente

Pairs With: Fruit, salad, chocolate, and soft cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Flanders Red Ale

Flanders Red Ale

Flanders red ale evokes a malty, fruity flavor underneath a strong sour taste brought on by Lactobacillus bacteria during fermentation.

ABV: 4.8-6.6% IBU: 5-18

Examples: New Belgium Lips of Faith La Folie, The Lost Abbey's Red Poppy Ale

Pairs With: Meat, blue cheese, and cheddar cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-50 F


Belgian Gueuze

Belgian Gueuze

Gueuzes are aged beers that give off a very strong sour flavor.

ABV: 6.2-8.1% IBU: 9-23

Examples: Brouwerij Boon's Boon Gueuze, The Bruery's Rueuze

Pairs With: Strong cheeses

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F


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Types of Specialty Beers

Specialty beers can be any type or style. The differentiating factor is usually the addition of a specific ingredient, like honey or pumpkin, that can be added to most styles of beer.

American Black Ale

American black ales are dark in color and feature a malty, roasted flavor with medium to high hop bitterness. This style is sometimes called a black IPA.

ABV: 6.0-7.5% IBU: 50-75

Examples: Lagunitas NightTime, Founders Dark Penance, Victory Yakima Glory

Pairs With: Aged cheeses, seafood, and chocolate

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F

Barrel-Aged Beer

A barrel-aged beer is any type of beer that has been aged in a wooden barrel. Sometimes these barrels have been used to hold bourbon, wine, or other spirits, adding to the flavor of the beer.

ABV: Varies IBU: Varies

Examples: Allagash Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel), Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout, Narwhal Imperial Stout (Barrel Aged)

Pairs With: Varies

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F

Chocolate Beer

Chocolate or cocoa can be added to any style (lager or ale) to form a delicious chocolate beer.

ABV: 2.5-12.0% IBU: 15-40

Examples: Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, Shenandoah Chocolate Donut Beer, Boneyard Beer Company Backbone Chocolate Espresso Stout

Pairs With: Varies

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F

Coffee Beer

Coffee beer is typically a porter or stout with added coffee flavor. This flavor can be achieved by steeping coffee beans in water or in the beer mixture.

ABV: 2.5-12.0% IBU: 15-45

Examples: Samuel Adams Black & Brew Coffee Stout, Sierra Nevada Coffee Stout, Stone Brewing Company’s Coffee Milk Stout

Pairs With: Meaty stew, hard cheeses

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F

Fruit and Vegetable Beer

Any type of beer can be infused with fruit and vegetable flavors, so flavors will vary greatly.

ABV: 2.5-12.0% IBU: 5-50

Examples: Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA, Modern Times Beer’s Fruitlands Sour Cherry Gose, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Pairs With: Salad, brie cheese

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F

Gluten Free Beer

Gluten free beer is brewed with fermentable sugars and grains that do not contain gluten. These beers vary in color, flavor, and alcohol content.

ABV: Varies IBU: Varies

Examples: Wicked Weed Brewing’s Gluten FREEk, Widmer Brothers Brewing Company’s Omission IPA, Lakefront Brewery’s New Grist Gluten-Free Pilsner

Pairs With: Varies

Serving Temperature: Varies

Herb and Spice Beer

Herb and spice beer is any lager or ale that has added flavors from roots, herbs, or other spices. Pumpkin spice and holiday spice beers are examples of this style.

ABV: 2.5-12.0% IBU: 5-40

Examples: Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch, Rogue Ales’ Juniper Pale Ale, Small Town Brewery’s Not Your Father’s Root Beer

Pairs With: Varies

Serving Temperature: 45-55 F

Honey Beer

Honey beers are ales or lagers that are brewed with honey to add sweetness and unique flavor.

ABV: 2.5-12.0% IBU: Varies

Examples: Boulder Beer’s A Honey of a Saison, Samuel Adams Honey Queen, Burial Beer Company’s The Keeper’s Veil Honey Saison

Pairs With: Salad, light creamy cheeses

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F

Pumpkin Beer

Pumpkin beer is brewed with fresh pumpkin and common fall spices. These beers are increasingly popular, and can be made with lagers, ales, and sour beers.

ABV: 2.3-5.0% IBU: 5-70

Examples: Elysian Brewing Company’s Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Weyerbacher Brewing Company’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

Pairs With: Poultry, soft creamy cheeses

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F

Rye Beer

Rye beer often features malty, roasted flavors, with lower hop bitterness. Rye beers can be made as ales or as lagers, and will either take on a sweet or spicy flavor.

ABV: Varies IBU: Varies

Examples: Founders Red’s Rye IPA, Great Lakes’ Rye of the Tiger IPA, The Bruery’s Sour in the Rye

Pairs With: Spicy meat, creamy cheese

Serving Temperature: 45-55 F

Session Beer

Any style of beer can be brewed as a session beer, as sessions are simply less strong, more drinkable beers that are perfect for summertime consumption.

ABV: 3.5-5.0% IBU: 10-35

Examples: New Belgium Brewing’s Slow Ride Session IPA, Samuel Adams Rebel Rider Session IPA, Victory Brewing Company’s Swing Session Saison

Pairs With: Varies

Serving Temperature: Varies

Smoke Beer

Smoke beer is any beer that is brewed with malt that has been kilned over an open fire. The smoke adds a noticeable, but not overpowering flavor, which is inspired by traditional German rauchbier.

ABV: Varies IBU: Varies

Examples: Ithaca Beer Company's Gorges Smoked Porter, Goose Island Beer Company’s Prairie Smoke, Denver Beer Company’s Smoked Lager

Pairs With: Roasted vegetables, hard cheese

Serving Temperature: 50-55 F


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Now that you know more about the different types of beer that are out there, hopefully you are inspired to add something unique to your beer list. Use this guide to help you and your servers feel more confident about recommending beers to customers, or maybe even create a menu that is centered on perfect beer pairings. 

You can also share some of the health benefits of beer with your customers. In moderation, beer can actually help prevent kidney stones, improve brain function, and even boost bone health. Contributing to these benefits is a range of healthy compounds found in beer's hops and malt, including antioxidants, silicon, and potassium. For more information about the ways beer can make you healthier, check out our infographic below:

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Whether you manage a pub or nightclub, the challenges of running a successful bar go far beyond just keeping customers' glasses full. You need to ensure that you're well stocked, serving tasty drinks, creating events to excite potential customers, and protecting yourself from any potential liabilities. While managing a bar may be difficult, we broke it down into 8 simple steps to help you make a profit from your bar business. 8 Steps to Run a Bar Successfully Whether you own a bar and want to improve your profits or you're considering starting a new bar , following these 8 steps to learn how to run a bar. 1. Keep Your Bar Stocked Keeping your bar stocked goes far beyond just filling your back bar cooler or refrigerator with beer, liquor, an

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