what you need to know about different types of beer

There are hundreds of different types of beer, especially on the craft beer market. It can be very hard, or even impossible to keep up with all of the varieties, names, and styles. With different breweries popping up all the time and trying their hand at the different types, you could spend years trying new beers and never try them all!

At Brew-EZ, we want to try and simplify it just a little bit for you. By using our app, you can find out what types of beer breweries around you are carrying, and read what other users are saying. Not only can you find helpful tips, but you can earn free beer! Download today on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

A beer’s type is determined by a wide range of factors including its ingredients, region of origin, brewing method, and others. Today, our goal is to provide you with a list of common beer varieties along with some of the key characteristics of each. But first, we must explore the two overall categories that brews fall into: lager and ale.


Lagers are made with bottom-fermenting yeast that has a lower tolerance to alcohol. Traditional lagers taste light and sometimes malty. Classic examples of lagers include Miller High Life, Budweiser, and Coors.


Ales are made with top-fermenting yeast which has a higher tolerance to alcohol and ferments at warmer temperatures. Ales are generally darker in color than lagers and can provide more range in taste. Popular examples of ales are Newcastle Brown Ale and Fat Tire.

Within the overarching categories of ale and lager is where the confusion starts to take place. This list will help you keep up with some of the different kinds of beer, and maybe even guide you towards a new variety to try!


India pale ales, better known as IPA, encompasses several styles of beer. They get their characteristics mainly from a powerful flavor of hops, herbal, and bright citrus or fruit flavors. They are generally more bitter than other beer and can contain high alcohol levels. Some different IPA styles include West Coast IPA, British IPA, and New England IPA. Some brewers like to really go wild with and make Imperial IPAs, also known as Double IPA. These drafts have an even stronger flavor and higher bitterness from hops. They also contain higher levels of alcohol than normal IPAs.

Pale Ale

Pale ales are like the younger brother of the IPA. While they are often hoppy in flavor, they are not usually as bitter as an IPA. Pale ales range from American amber ale, American pale ale, and blonde ale. Pale ale is known to be one of the easiest-drinking beers.

Pale Lager

Pale lagers are the most popular style of beer in the world by sales. This is because quite a few of the top-selling beer companies brew primarily pale lager. Pale lager is often mistaken as a pilsner. Pale lagers are characterized by their traditional hoppy aroma and drier flavors.


As mentioned above, the pilsner is repeatedly mistaken for a pale lager. They are very similar in color and taste, but pilsners usually have a higher concentration of carbonation and feature fuller scents and flavors.


The dark color of stouts can suggest bitterness, but the unfermented sugars found in them normally offset the bitterness for smooth, deep flavors. Stouts are sweet, full-bodied ales that can have coffee or sweetened espresso type flavors.

Milk Stout

Brewed with lactose sugar, milk stouts add sweet caramel and chocolate flavors to the already rich taste of a traditional stout.

Oatmeal Stout

As the name suggests, oatmeal stout is brewed with oatmeal in the malt blend. Oatmeal stouts are often easier to drink and sweeter than standard variety stouts.


Porters and stouts are mistaken for one another constantly, but porters are usually more chocolatey and less coffee-like than stouts. They are not usually as sweet as stouts, and porters boast a maltier flavor and higher alcohol content.

Dark Lager

Sometimes referred to as black lager, dark lagers are one more variety that’s often mistaken for stouts or porters. But dark lager is the hoppiest, or most bitter of the three.


Belgian beers are pale ales that are known for their spiced, sweet, and fruity flavors with high alcohol content. Despite the alcohol content, belgians are normally low in bitterness.


Wheat beers are some of the oldest beers in the world. Wheats are normally lighter and are perfectly suited for spring and summer months. They are usually fruity and have a thick head of foam.


Sour beers have gone way up in popularity in the U.S. over the last few years. They are very tart, and are normally flavoried with various kinds of fruit like cherry, raspberry, and peach. Sour beers combine sweet and sour flavors, and provide a wholly new experience to the traditional beer experience.

Brown Ale

With malty overtones, brown ales have toasty caramel flavors and colors. They are usually mid-ranged in alcohol content and bitterness. Brown ales offer full-bodied profiles.

German Bock

Standard bock beers have lower alcohol level, but can move up the alcohol scale when choosing doppelbocks, weizenbocks, and maibocks. German bocks are heavy on the malt flavor, so they are more sweet and nutty in flavor.


The Oktoberfest beers are named after the celebration in Munich, and brewed toward the beginning of fall for the festival. Oktoberfest beers are full-bodied with a darker color, and feature a rich flavor.

Blonde Ale

Blonde ales are balanced in flavor, and they often have a very fruity aroma. They are among the lightest colored beers, and are usually fairly easy to drink.

English Bitters

English pale ales and bitters are named for their very bitter flavors and high hop content. They have some fruity flavors and low alcohol content. The bitter notes can sometimes be balanced by sweet malt.


Hefeweizen beers are light in color and have a very crisp and biting taste. Sometimes it has notes of apple or clove flavors.


The darker big brother of hefeweizen, dunkelweizen beers have more of a malty flavor. Dunkelweizen can have banana tasting notes as well.

It can be exhilarating and daunting to dive into the world of craft beer. Our growing community is here to help! The Brew-EZ app is here to connect you to the best breweries in your area. Find awesome new brews, or stick to your favorites. No matter how you choose to enjoy your drafts, you can build up points and earn yourself free beer! Download our app today for iPhone or on Google Play.


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