How to Make Spaetzle
If you're a fan of German cuisine, then you've probably heard of spaetzle. This traditional German dish is often described as a cross between noodles and dumplings. In Germany, spaetzle is a popular comfort food enjoyed during the colder months. It is also a staple at Oktoberfest parties and other celebrations. Making spaetzle from scratch may seem intimidating, but it is actually quite simple and requires only a few ingredients. Our easy spaetzle recipe is a great side dish for a variety of traditional German meals and pairs well with sauces and gravies.
What Is Spaetzle?
Originating from the Swabian region of Germany, spaetzle is German egg noodles that are similar in shape to small dumplings. The word "spaetzle" actually means "little sparrows" in German, which is a nod to its small, irregular shape. It is also commonly called spatzli, spatzen, and knopfle. Traditionally made with just a few simple ingredients, including flour, eggs, salt, and water, spaetzle is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a side or main course.
How to Pronounce Spaetzle
The German pronunciation of spaetzle is schpetz-luh. However, it is not uncommon to hear the Americanized pronunciation of spat-sl.
How to Make Spaetzle
Making spaetzle from scratch is quick and easy, which is why it is such a popular dish in central Europe. Spaetzle is made from a simple batter of eggs, flour, and salt, which is then pushed through a spaetzle maker to create small, irregularly shaped noodles. These noodles are then boiled until they are tender.
Watch our video tutorial for spaetzle or read our recipe below:
What Special Equipment Do I Need?
This spaetzle recipe can be easily made using common cooking equipment and utensils that are likely already in your kitchen. However, here are some specialty items you need to get started with this recipe:
- Spaetzle Maker: A spaetzle maker allows you to create the characteristic irregular shape of spaetzle while also ensuring consistent size and texture. It features a sliding hopper that holds the batter and distributes it evenly among the holes when moved back and forth in an even sliding motion.
- Skimmer: Use a skimmer to scoop the cooked spaetzle out of the boiling water.
Whether you're a fan of traditional German cuisine or simply looking to try something new, spaetzle is a dish that should be on your radar. Its simplicity, versatility, and comforting texture make it a central European staple. Spaetzle can be served as a side dish or as a main course with a variety of toppings. The noodles have a mild flavor since they are traditionally eaten with flavorful sauces, like gravy or cheese, and hearty German meat dishes, such as knockwurst or schnitzel.
We pan-fry the spaetzle in butter to crisp them up for an even more delicious texture, but you can skip this step if you plan to toss the noodles in a signature sauce or you want to cut back on your butter intake.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tablespoon butter
Editor's Tip: The milk can be substituted 1:1 with water.
- Bring 4 quarts water to boil.
- Combine and mix dry ingredients.
- In separate bowl, beat eggs. Pour milk into eggs.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients with whisk. Stir until it is liquidy, sticky batter. Add more milk if batter is too thick. Set aside.
- Melt butter in skillet. Brown butter if desired.
- Once water is boiling, set your spaetzle maker on top of pot. Slowly pour batter into hopper.
- Glide hopper back and forth to distribute batter evenly through holes and into boiling water.
- Boil noodles for three to four minutes.
- Use skimmer to remove and drain noodles.
- Add noodles directly to pan of hot butter. Toss few times until fully coated and slightly golden brown.
Spaetzle Recipe FAQ
We've answered some common questions that can come up when making spaetzle from scratch.
What If I Don't Have a Spaetzle Maker?
While a spaetzle maker is undeniably the quickest way to make the noodle, it is not a necessary tool to make spaetzle. You can also use a colander with round or square holes. Hold the colander over the boiling water and press the batter through with a large spoon.
How Thick Should Spaetzle Batter Be?
To achieve chewy, tender spaetzle, the batter consistency should be similar to a thick pancake batter with some elasticity so it can easily pass through the holes of the spaetzle maker.
This spaetzle recipe offers the perfect accompaniment to the rich, hearty meat dishes that German cuisine is famous for. Whether they're drenched in creamy sauces, crisped up with some butter, or used to make a traditional Kasespatzle, the German noodles are sure to please.
What Is a Beer Garden?
A beer garden is defined as an outdoor area where alcohol and food are served and consumed. Unlike other outdoor spaces that serve alcohol, beer gardens are surrounded by trees and other forms of greenery. Whether you’re just starting a bar or are trying to convert your establishment's existing patio space into something new, opening a beer garden offers many new opportunities to your business. Beer gardens give your patrons a chance to enjoy drinking outdoors in a fun new environment, allowing your establishment to create a social and community atmosphere. What Is a Biergarten? In some places, you may see the word biergarten (pronounced bee-uh-gah-ten) being used to describe outdoor drinking areas. The words beer garden and biergarten are used interchangeably because biergarten is the German pronunciation of beer garden. Any mention of a biergarten is referring to a traditional German beer garden. Origin of Beer Gardens The concept of beer gardens originated in the Bavarian region of Germany during the 19th century. Local law forbade breweries from making beer during the summer months because it was seen as a major fire hazard. To deal with the new regulations, breweries expanded their cellars to hold more beer and have enough supply to last through the summer months. To keep the temperature cooler around these beer cellars, gardens and trees were planted above ground so the shade would keep colder temperatures. Owners realized the potential of the gardens and expanded their seating to include these locations. Patrons would get beer from the cellar and enjoy it in the brewery’s new garden, giving birth to the modern concept of beer gardens. Beer Gardens in the U.S. Later in the nineteenth century, a large wave of German immigrants brought the concept of beer gardens to the United States. Beer gardens became popular fast in the United States because they offered a stark contrast to the traditional locations of saloons, taverns, and bars one would find at the time. Rather than drinking in a dark and dreary location, beer gardens provided a much more bright and cheery spot to drink and enjoy entertainment. Why Open a Beer Garden? Opening a beer garden is an attractive prospect for those looking to offer something new. Establishing a beer garden at your bar or brewery opens up new seating options and results in an increased capacity. Beer gardens are also a fantastic way to establish a new identity for your venue, offering patrons an alternative to traditional bar seating. During the COVID-19 pandemic, beer gardens were one of the top new bar trends and were vital to keeping bars and breweries open. Strict social distancing regulations meant that for some bars, beer gardens and other forms of outdoor seating were the only way to serve customers alcohol. Without opening a beer garden, many bars and restaurants would have struggled even more during the COVID-19 pandemic. How to Open a Beer Garden You may think that opening a beer garden is as simple as setting up some tables outside of your bar, but that isn’t the case at all. To properly start a beer garden, you need to have a specific type of location and layout to promote social interaction and good times. Beer Garden Locations To establish a true beer garden, a particular type of location is required. A beer garden needs to be set up in a shaded area with a lot of greenery. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many bars and restaurants have opened street seating and dubbed them “beer gardens”, but these are not traditional beer garden locations. Beer Garden Tables The tables used in beer gardens are standard picnic tables with benches on either side. These tables are designed to be open to large groups of people, helping to promote the social environment that beer gardens look to foster. Some beer gardens may also utilize bar-height tables and chairs to seat smaller parties and fill in space. Beer garden tables are placed close together to promote social interaction among different parties. A beer garden is supposed to be a social environment with lots of mingling, and the compact setup is a great way to cultivate that atmosphere. Communal seating at beer gardens is common, which encourages different parties of people to interact and socialize while enjoying the space. Beer Garden Menu Just as important as a beer garden’s location and layout are the beverages and foods that are being served. Creating a solid menu for your beer garden is vital to ensure that patrons get the maximum enjoyment out of their experience. Good food and quality alcohol can ensure that patrons frequent your beer garden and become recurring customers. Beer Garden Beverages To no one's surprise, the main beverage served at a beer garden is beer. Beer gardens serve specific types of beer, including local craft beer and international lagers. Patrons expect a diverse selection of beers and it's common for beer gardens to include styles with higher ABVs. Like most bars, beer gardens may also serve other alcohol like hard seltzer, wine, liquor, or hard cider, but the star of the menu is almost always the garden’s selection of beer. Beer Garden Food When beer gardens were first started in 19th century Germany, food was not sold on the premises. Instead, patrons would bring their own food to the beer garden to enjoy with their alcohol. Although many modern beer gardens have done away with this practice, some traditional beer gardens may still allow you to bring your own food. Today, most beer gardens serve a smattering of standard bar foods that pair nicely with beer. Some of the most common beer garden foods you’ll find are snack items and fast finger foods like pretzels and nachos. However, some beer gardens may serve traditional German dishes such as knockwurst (sausage), hendl (chicken), and sauerkraut. Indoor Beer Garden Beer gardens are defined as outdoor spaces that serve alcohol, so by definition, an indoor beer garden cannot exist. Although an indoor establishment that serves alcohol and has a German or Bavarian theme may claim to be a beer garden, it is not truly a beer garden and is instead referred to as a beer hall. For a location to be a beer garden, it must be outside and surrounded by trees and other greenery. A beer garden is a fantastic addition to just about any bar or restaurant. Not only does a beer garden allow you to expand capacity and host patrons in a new environment, but it also creates a social and community environment for all to enjoy. The trend’s popularity was accelerated into prominence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with so many overwhelming positives, it has staying power.
What Is a Das Boot Glass?
Before you throw an Oktoberfest party, you’ll want to make sure you have the bratwurst shipment in, your sauerkraut is properly fermenting, and your nice German beer boots are on display. Nothing quite sets the theme of an Oktoberfest party like a beer boot, but why are they so iconic, and why is it sometimes called a das boot? Shop All Beer Boot Glasses What Is a Das Boot? A beer boot glass, commonly known as “das boot” in America, is a beer glass shaped like a boot. Das boot (pronounced “dahs bohht”) translates to “the boat” in German, while “beer boot” translates to “bierstiefel”. Germans do not refer to a beer boot as “das boot”, but rather “bierstiefel” or simply just “stiefel”. The nickname “das boot” comes from the 2006 film Beerfest in which five friends travel to Germany and compete in an underground beer-drinking competition during Oktoberfest. While Beerfest may be fiction, you can always host your own beer festival. Das Boot Meaning The term “das boot” not only refers to the beer boot drinking glass, but it’s also the title of a novel written by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim, as well as the popular 1982 movie and 2018 television series adaptation of Buchheim’s novel. Das Boot Glass A beer boot (or das boot) glass is usually made from glass or plastic and can be as small as a shot glass or as big as 5 pints (or bigger!). Glasses can be found with or without handles, in which case the drinker should hold the beer glass at the smallest part of the glass, just above the ankle of the boot. Glasses can also be completely plain and simple, have intricate designs for a traditional German flair, or can be customized with your logo to sell merchandise in your business. How Much Beer Is in a Boot? The amount of beer in a boot differs based on the das boot glass size. The typical size of a German beer boot is 2 liters, which is approximately 5 pints. That means there are usually about 67 ounces in a das boot. How to Drink Das Boot Watch our video on how to drink beer from a boot to learn how to use this unique glass correctly. <iframe itemprop="embedURL" width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FQ-FK1GTiIc?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> How to Drink Beer from a Boot Spilling is more common when drinking from a beer boot because of its unique shape, and no one wants their favorite fall beer all down their shirt. The spilling and splashing most notably come from the toe of the glass. The shape of the glass causes an air bubble to form at the toe of the glass while drinking. Once the beer recedes to a certain point in the boot, the bubble erupts and a tidal wave of beer pours out onto the drinker. However, there is a strategic way to avoid this tidal wave of beer to the face. This is how to drink beer from a boot: Start by drinking from the beer boot glass with the toe pointing upwards. Slowly start to rotate the boot 90 degrees as you drink. Make sure the beer is at a full 90 degrees by the time the beer is almost to the ankle of the boot. Beer Boot Glass History The history behind the German beer boot has a few different tales: English Riding Club Beer Boot Origin English horse riding and hunting clubs in the 1800s created glass drinking boots to mimic their riding boots, complete with spur straps, and would drink from these beer boot mugs at their hunting lodges. The English beer boot mugs are not a highly sought-after collector’s item. While they ran out of style in the mid-late 1800s, they became popular in Germany in the mid-1800s, lost the spurs and straps, and were manufactured to hold a higher volume of beer. Prussian General Beer Boot Origin A Prussian general promised his troops that, if they were successful in their next battle, he would take off his own boot, fill it with beer, and drink out of it. Once their battle was won and sanitary issues became a concern for the Prussian General, he had a glass boot made to drink the beer out of instead. Because of the beer boot and successful battle correlation, German soldiers in WWI thought of drinking beer from boots to be good luck and turned it into a tradition before every battle. Since the soldiers did not have access to beer boot glasses, they would fill up one leather boot and pass it around to each other, flicking the boot before drinking from it for good luck, and flicking the boot again before giving it to their comrade to wish them good luck in battle, too. The love of the beer boot spread throughout the entire German military, being used to celebrate victories or used as a rite of passage. During WWII, American soldiers brought back some of these famous beer boots, which grew the beer boot’s popularity throughout America. They were displayed in bars and used as ways to market German beers, but it wasn’t until the 2006 American movie Beerfest that made Das Boot as popular in America as it is today. If you’ve now decided that you want to serve your ales in beer boots this year, then we recommend serving a lighter type of beer since beer boots can hold so much and darker lagers can be too heavy for that amount. Even though there are so many different beer glasses, there’s only one that is so iconically German.
Different Types of Beer
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. Shop All Brewery Equipment Click below to learn about the different types of beer: Pale Lager and Pilsner Dark Lager German Bock Brown Ale Pale Ale India Pale Ale Porter Stout Belgian-Style Ale Wheat Beer Wild & Sour Ale Specialty Beer Types of Beer Video Watch our video below as we go over the different types of beer. <iframe scrolling="no" width="392" height="226" src="/v/?num=12750&width=600&height=500&embed=1" frameborder="0"></iframe> Types of Beer Here are some of the most common types of beer you'll encounter: Pale Lager and Pilsner Dark Lager Brown Ale Pale Ale India Pale Ale Porter Stout Belgian-Style Ale Wheat Beer Wild & Sour Ale 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 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 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 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 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 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 Back to Top 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 Back to Top 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. Back to Top 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.