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Different Types of Beer

Different Types of Beer

With over 3,000 craft breweries in the United States, it’s safe to say that craft beer is bigger than ever. Whether your establishment already offers a dozen beers on tap or you’re thinking about adding a new beer service, brush up on your knowledge with our guide to the different types of beer. Learn everything about the styles of beer you serve, from proper serving temperature and glassware to the best food and cheese pairings, so you can please even the most knowledgeable connoisseur.

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

  • 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 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

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