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Understanding Different Types of Beer: From Lagers to Ales

Beer is one of the oldest and most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. It has been brewed and enjoyed for thousands of years, and today there are countless types and styles of beer available. In this blog, we will explore the different types of beer, their characteristics, and how to serve them.


Lagers are the most popular type of beer worldwide. They are made with bottom-fermenting yeast and are typically brewed at cooler temperatures. Lagers are known for their crisp, clean taste and refreshing finish. Some popular types of lagers include pilsners, bocks, and amber lagers.

  • Pilsner is a light, crisp, and refreshing beer originating in the Czech Republic. Pilsners are known for their light body, clear appearance, and bitter finish.
  • Bock: a darker, maltier lager that originated in Germany. Bocks are typically higher in alcohol content and have a slightly sweet, nutty flavour.
  • Amber lager: a medium-bodied lager with a light amber colour and a slightly sweet caramel flavour.


Ales are made with top-fermenting yeast and are typically brewed at warmer temperatures than lagers. Ales are known for their complex flavour profiles, with fruity, spicy, and hoppy notes. Some popular types of ales include pale ales, stouts, and porters.

  • Pale ale: a hoppy, bitter beer that originated in England. Pale ales come in various styles, including American, India pale ales (IPAs), and Belgian.
  • Stout: a dark, full-bodied beer with a creamy texture and a slightly bitter taste. Stouts are typically made with roasted malt or barley, giving them a distinct chocolate or coffee flavour.
  • Porter: a dark, malty beer that originated in England. Porters have a similar flavour profile to stouts but are typically lighter in body and alcohol content.

Wheat beer:

Wheat beers are made with a significant proportion of wheat and barley malt. They are typically light-bodied and cloudy due to the beer’s wheat proteins. Wheat beers are known for their fruity, spicy flavour profiles with banana, clove, and citrus notes. Some popular wheat beer types include hefeweizens, witbiers, and American wheat beers.

  • Hefeweizen: a German wheat beer with a cloudy appearance and a distinct banana and clove flavour profile. Hefeweizens are typically light-bodied and refreshing, with a slightly tart finish.
  • Witbier: a Belgian wheat beer with a spicy, citrusy flavour profile. Witbiers are typically brewed with coriander and orange peel, giving them a unique flavour and aroma.
  • American wheat beer is a lighter, crisper version of wheat beer popular in the United States. American wheat beers typically have a lower alcohol content and a milder flavour profile than their European counterparts.

Sour beer:

Sour beers are brewed with wild yeast or bacteria, giving them a tart, acidic flavour profile. Sour beers are typically light-bodied and have a refreshing, effervescent quality. Some popular types of sour beer include Berliner Weiss, lambic, and Flanders red ale.

  • Berliner Weiss: a German sour beer with a light, effervescent body and a tart, citrusy flavour profile. Berliner Weiss is often served with a sweet syrup to balance out the beer’s acidity.
  • Lambic is a Belgian sour beer spontaneously fermented with wild yeast and bacteria. Lambics are typically aged for several years, giving them a complex flavour profile with sour fruit and oak notes.

Belgian beer:

Belgian beer is a category that includes a wide range of beer styles that are brewed in Belgium. Belgian beers are known for their complex flavour profiles, with fruit, spice, and yeast notes. Some popular types of Belgian beer include strong Belgian ale, Dubbel, and Tripel.

  • Belgian strong ale: a high-alcohol beer with a complex flavour profile that often includes fruit, spice, and yeast notes. Belgian strong ales are typically aged for several years to enhance their flavour and aroma.
  • Dubbel: a dark, malty beer with a rich, complex flavour profile that includes notes of caramel, chocolate, and dark fruit. Dubbels are typically brewed with Belgian yeast, giving them a distinctive flavour and aroma.
  • Tripel: a strong, golden ale with a fruity, spicy flavour profile. Tripels are typically brewed with a large amount of malt and hops, giving them a complex and balanced flavour.

How to serve different types of beer:

When it comes to serving beer, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  1. Temperature: Different types of beer should be served at different temperatures. Lagers and pilsners should be served at a temperature between 40-45°F, while ales and wheat beers should be served between 45-50°F. Sour and Belgian beers should be served slightly warmer, around 50-55°F.
  2. Glassware: The right glassware can enhance the flavour and aroma of your beer. For example, a pilsner glass is tall and narrow, which helps to showcase the beer’s clarity and carbonation. A tulip glass is ideal for Belgian beers, as it helps to trap the beer’s aroma and showcase its complex flavour profile.
  3. Pouring technique: Different types of beer require different pouring techniques. For example, a wheat beer should be swirled gently before pouring to ensure an even distribution of the yeast in the beer. A stout should be poured slowly and at an angle to create a creamy head on the beer.


Understanding the different types of beer and how to serve them is essential for anyone working in the beer industry or looking to expand their knowledge of this beloved beverage. Whether you’re a fan of crisp lagers, complex ales, or sour beers, there’s a type of beer out there for everyone to enjoy. Cheers!

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