Whether you’re a seasoned drinker or someone who just turned 21, beer is generally the most diverse, cheapest, and best drink to enjoy year round. With there being so many types of beers out there, it can sometimes be hard to choose. If you’re thinking about throwing a party, or bringing a cooler to a tailgating party, you can use this reference list of 5 Types of Beer to create an awesome cooler. If we’ve missed any of your favorite types of beers, be sure to add them in the comments below.
The beauty about Ales is that of all the types of beers on our list, Ales have been around for the longest. People in 15th century England were sitting around enjoying Ales. So what is it about Ales that make them so good? Well when the Ale is brewed it doesn’t convert as much sugars into alcohol. What does that do to the beer? Well it gives it a sweeter and fruitier taste.
What does an Ale go well with? Pretty much everything, our beer experts agree that Ales are an excellent type of beer for any occasion, whether you’re grilling up steaks, or enjoying a tray of Nachos.
Editors pick: Try an IPA, when I was a young beer drinker, I thought that IPA was a different type of beer, but really, IPA’s are an ale. IPA means Indian Pale Ale, IPA’s still retain the sweet fruity flavor of Ales as well as an added Hops flavor.
Others to try: Redhook ESB, Widmer Hefewiezen, Pyramid Snow Cap, Redhook Chinook, Alaskan Summer Ale
Whether or not you know it, you’ve probably drank a type of beer Lager at some time. Lagers make up most of the mass produced American Labels, like Budweiser and Coors. Most Lagers have a significant amount of carbonation and a crisp taste. Lagers generally range from very light to very dark depending on the brewer and what type of an environment they’re brewed in. A good microbrew lager (not a domestic lager) is an excellent way to introduce yourself into the world of gourmet beers.
What does a Lager go well with? Lagers go excellent with Spicy Foods, Mexican food, Indian food, and pizzas.
Editors Pick: Your local Microbrew. While this may be seen as a cop-out answer, by far the best Lager is going to be the local microbrew in your area. Living in San Francisco I’ve found some excellent microbrew lagers. So just be adventurous.
Others to try: Creemore Springs Premium Lager, St. Nicholaus Bock Bier, Yebisu Black Beer, Haffenreffer Private Stock, Black Bavarian
While Porters are a very strong and delicious type of beer, in recent centuries their popularity has pretty much sunk. They originated in England in the 1700s and were a favorite by men who worked as porters, hence their names. As the centuries trudged on, porters became less and less popular while ales and lagers started to proliferate in the market. But then in the 1970s and the 1980s due to the rise of home micro brewing, Porters started to make a come back. So why should you go out and pick up a porter? Well Porters are dark, strong, and have a bitter hops flavor infused with a hint of chocolate.
What does a Porter go well with? Porters go well with any meat dish (beef, chicken, lamb, pork, etc). They also go excellently with desserts.
Editors Pick: Hands Down it’s the Sierra Nevada Porter. This is an excellent porter with a strong taste, a delicious malty flavor to it and it’s not too heavy or strong.
Others to try: Black Butte XX, Black Earth Porter, Smuttynose Robust Porter, Devil Over A Barrel – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Imperial Oatmeal Porter, Alaskan Smoked Porter
It’s hard to imagine a top 5 Types of Beer list without putting a stout on it. Stouts origin is quite muddled, but it can’t be argued that Stouts are essentially the beer of my homeland, Ireland. Stouts are a very dark full-bodied type of beer, they’re very thick and can have a flavor very similar to coffee, but they can also take on many other flavors including sweet, bitter, milk, and even oatmeal.
What does a Stout go well with? Stouts are generally a meal in and of themselves. They are so thick and strong it’s hard to imagine eating anything for a while after enjoying your first stout. Though it should be noted for the brave that a stout goes excellent with a gourmet hamburger.
Editors Pick: Every Stout. Stouts, much like snowflakes are going to be completely different, not only from distributor to distributor but just from production day to production day. Don’t believe me? Go to your favorite Irish Bar and order a Guinness (make sure it’s from the tap). Then go back the next day and ask them if they’ve switched out the keg from last night, and order a Guinness again. Notice the subtle differences from yesterday’s beer and today’s beer. So if you’ve had a “Bad Experience” with a stout in the past, go to your local bar and try a stout again. I can almost guarantee that you’ll enjoy the stout today.
Others to try: Oyster Stout, Samual Smith’s Double Chocolate Stout, Guinness, Alesmith Speedway Stout, Russian Imperial
Pilsners, originated from a town that is now part of the Czech Republic. The beer has a Golden color, they are clear, and sparkly. Pilsners have a very strong hoppy full flavor generally more overpowering than your standard lagers. Pilsners are soft and easy to drink because Pilsners don’t have a thick body.
What does a Pilsner go with? Pilsners are best enjoyed with meats, excluding beef. Pilsners go well with mild cheese as well. Lamb burgers anyone?
Editors Pick: While Pilsners are not my favorite type of beers, my friends swear by Pilsner Urquell – Bohemian Pilsner. If you can’t find this type of beer in your local grocery store/ Liquor stop, try out one of the other assortments of Pilsners out there. If you can’t find one just grab another case of Guinness.
Others to try: Flensburger Brauerei’s, Bitburger, Wernesgrüner, Fürstenberg, Schwelmer Pils
Hopefully this article has been helpful for you. There’s an entire world of beers out there, depending on where you go or where you live you can create a list of your personal favorite beers. This can also be used as a crib sheet for your next party. Instead of buying 3 cases of Budweiser or PBR, try picking up a couple different types of beers off this list and casually explain to your party goers how diverse a Stout’s flavors can be. If we’ve missed any of your favorite types of beers, be sure to add them in the comments below. Cheers and remember, drink responsibly.
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