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Different Types of Beer

Different Types of Beer

Last updated on 9/23/2021

There are over 9,000 craft breweries in the United States, proving that craft beer is bigger than ever. If you're interested in opening a bar or starting your own brewery, it's important to understand the different types of beer and their unique flavors. We break down the most popular beer types so you can talk about craft beer like a pro, make recommendations, and brew your own styles.

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Click below to learn about the different types of beer:
  1. Pale Lager and Pilsner
  2. Dark Lager
  3. German Bock
  4. Brown Ale
  5. Pale Ale
  6. India Pale Ale
  7. Porter
  8. Stout
  9. Belgian-Style Ale
  10. Wheat Beer
  11. Wild & Sour Ale
  12. Specialty Beer

Types of Beer

Here are some of the most common types of beer you'll encounter:

  1. Pale Lager and Pilsner
  2. Dark Lager
  3. Brown Ale
  4. Pale Ale
  5. India Pale Ale
  6. Porter
  7. Stout
  8. Belgian-Style Ale
  9. Wheat Beer
  10. Wild & Sour Ale
  11. Specialty Beer

Beer Styles

The types of beer can be broken down into hundreds of different styles, all with unique flavors, colors, and aromas. Two characteristics that are used to describe styles of beer are alcohol by volume (ABV) and international bitterness unit (IBU).

What Is ABV?

ABV stands for alcohol by volume and represents the percentage of alcohol in the beer. The amount of alcohol in the brew can actually affect the taste of the beer. Beers with a higher ABV have a more bitter flavor. In very strong beers, the alcohol can numb the tongue and neutralize the taste, so additional flavors are added to compensate. Brewers use ABV to achieve the perfect balance between sweetness and bitterness.

What Is IBU?

IBU stands for international bitterness unit and is a measurement of the number of bitter flavor compounds in a beer. The IBU scale starts at zero and has no upper limit, but most beers fall between 5 IBUs and 120 IBUs. Anything higher than 120 can't be detected by the average palate.


Types of Beer List

Below, we identify the different types of beer and offer tips for food pairings. Don't forget to choose the right beer glass for each style so you can enhance the drinking experience for your guests:

Types of Pale Lagers and Pilsners

Pale lager and pilsners are golden-colored beers that are light in flavor and low 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 it's 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 degrees Fahrenheit

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 degrees Fahrenheit

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: Troegs Sunshine Pils, Sierra Nevada's Nooner Pilsner
  • Pairs With: German cuisine, poultry, fish, spicy cheese
  • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

  • 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 degrees Fahrenheit

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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, beef, cheddar
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      Oktoberfest

      Oktoberfest beer in a pint glass

      Named for the Oktoberfest 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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

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      Types of German Bocks

      German 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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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: Troegs Troegenator Double Bock, Samuel Adams Double Bock
      • Pairs With: Heavy foods like red meat, pork, or ham, sharp cheeses
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, poultry, chocolate
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

      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%
      • IBU: 20-38

      • Examples: Capital Maibock, Hofbrau Maibock, Smuttynose Maibock
      • Pairs With: Italian and German cuisines, fish, shellfish, asiago, Swiss cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

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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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

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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, blue cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

      American Pale Ale

      American Pale Ale in a mug

      American pale ale is a medium-bodied beer with a noticeable 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:Seafood, poultry, cheddar cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, English cheeses
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

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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 contents.

      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, gorgonzola cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, sharp cheddar
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, parmesan cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

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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, asiago cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, fontina cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit

      Robust Porter

      Beer mug of a robust porter

      Robust porters are stronger and more bitter than a brown porter and feature 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, colby cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

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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, brie cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 F

      • 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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, Troegs Java Head Stout
      • Pairs With: Meat, shellfish, chocolate, Camembert cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit

      Milk Stout

      Pint glass full of milk stout beer

      Lactose sugar adds a smooth sweetness 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, cheddar
      • Serving Temperature: 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

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      Types of Belgian Styles

      Belgian beers are known for their spiced fruity flavors and high alcohol content. Despite their high ABV, 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, tangy cheeses
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, Limburger cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit

      Belgian Tripel

      Belgian Tripel beer

      Belgian tripels 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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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'Etre
      • Pairs With: American cuisine, barbecue, blue cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, parmesan cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

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      Types of Wheat Beers

      As you might have guessed, wheat beers use wheat as their malt. They're 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 has 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, mozzarella cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, soft cheeses
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, soft cheeses
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, goat cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, brick cheeses
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

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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 the bacteria used in the fermentation process.

      • ABV: Varies
      • IBU: Varies

      • Examples: Samuel Adams American Kriek, Weyerbacher Riserva
      • Pairs With: Fruit, strong cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, soft cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, cheddar cheese
      • Serving Temperature: 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

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      Types of Specialty Beers

      Beers made with additional spices, flavorings, or fruits are called specialty beers. Any lager or ale can be made into a specialty beer by adding ingredients to enhance the flavor.

      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, chocolate
      • Serving Temperature: 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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, Yuengling Hershey's Chocolate Porter
      • Pairs With: Varies
      • Serving Temperature: 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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. Many pumpkin spice and seasonal fall 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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 degrees Fahrenheit

      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 cheeses
      • Serving Temperature: 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit

      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: American cuisine, spicy food
      • Serving Temperature: 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit

      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: 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit

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      Lager vs Ale

      Most types of beer are classified as either lagers or ales. 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. Besides the yeast used to make lagers and ales, there are spontaneously fermenting yeasts, which produce wild or sour beers.

      Pale Ale vs India Pale Ale

      Although often confused with each other, pale ales and India pale ales have some distinct differences. Pale ales tend to have a softer less-bitter taste, while India pale ales usually have a strong hoppy taste. Additionally, India pale ales tend to have a slightly higher alcohol content than pale ales do, further contributing to their stronger taste.

      Top Fermenting Beers

      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. IPAs, stouts, and wheat beers are all examples of top fermenting ales.

      Bottom Fermenting Beers

      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. Pilsners, bocks, and Okerberfests are all examples of bottom fermenting lagers.

      Spontaneous Fermentation Beer

      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. The American sour, Belgian gueuze, and Flanders red ale are all examples of spontaneously fermented beers.

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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.

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