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.

1.Ales5 Types of Beer to Have in Your Cooler or Fridge

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

2. Lagers5 Types of Beer to Have in Your Cooler or Fridge

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

3.Porters5 Types of Beer to Have in Your Cooler or Fridge

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

4. Stouts5 Types of Beer to Have in Your Cooler or Fridge

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

5. Pilsner5 Types of Beer to Have in Your Cooler or Fridge

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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19 Responses to “5 Types of Beer to Have in Your Cooler or Fridge”

  1. David on September 8th, 2008 9:57 am

    I love Chimay, What an awesome list…great job Mark.. Loved the article. Next time I drink I’ll use this as a reference.

  2. Johnathan on September 8th, 2008 10:02 am

    I don’t care much for the fruit flavored ales or the creamy wheats. I just get thirsty for the lagers. Give me a stein and a cold lager and I’m satisfied. Great list. It’s bookmarked.

  3. Marie on September 8th, 2008 10:45 am

    great read. can i suggest beers to have in the fridge if entertaining women? blue moon, stella and pinot noir, opps, i guess that last one isn’t a beer, but having wine around is a good idea too. :-D

  4. Liza on September 8th, 2008 10:52 am

    I don’t even like beer, and I found this interesting. Nice job, Mark.

  5. markcondon on September 8th, 2008 3:02 pm

    @Marie, I like the idea about beers to have when entertaining women, I think it would make an interesting sister article to this one.

  6. Celticdawg on September 8th, 2008 6:07 pm

    Excellent article. Unfortunately most of the beers we get here in South Korea are light lagers. Hite, OB and such. I do like Cafri. They serve a lemon Cafri that tastes a lot like Corona.

    Marie, maybe you might try a lambic like Lindemann’s.

  7. Steve on September 9th, 2008 5:19 am

    A Helles, Marzen or Schwarzbier would be at the top of my cooler list.

  8. Mike Calimbas on September 9th, 2008 9:50 am

    My Top 5 beers (readily available) in no particular order:

    Duval, Stella Artois, Dirty Dog, Chimay, Hoegaarden

    Hmm… I guess I have a preference for Belgians.

  9. Shannon on September 9th, 2008 11:00 am

    Great article! I’ve never had beer types broken down for me like this. Good info!

  10. reegsta on September 9th, 2008 3:16 pm

    as long as its cold ima drink it. how about top 40oz ploomy??

  11. Roland Bautista on September 10th, 2008 9:44 am


  12. Alano on September 11th, 2008 10:24 am

    I love trying out new beers. For all you beer junkies that happen to be in the San Francsico Area, there is a place called Toronado Pub in the Haight/Ashbury area. They have a great selection of beers to try.

    Baller on a budget choice beers: Natural Ice, PBR, and any 40oz.

    Anyone know what ever happened to the brand Crazy Horse 40oz? I miss it…

  13. Alexandros on September 16th, 2008 9:33 am

    Come on… Don’t you know “Weissbier” (search wikipedia).

    Preferably Paulaner or Franziskaner… Try and you won’t regret it, for sure! :)

  14. markcondon on September 16th, 2008 9:46 am

    @Alexandros Of course I know about Weissbier, no Wikipedia Searches needed ; ) And as much as I like Weissbier, I sadly had to axe it from my list (it was #6) Though I do have many fond memories of downing those one & a half liter beers in Ireland.

  15. beertard on October 6th, 2008 3:43 pm

    Awesome list. this is a great help for those like me that like to drink beer, but don’t know anything about it. now i’ll be slightly less of a dumass when it comes to know what beer i might want.

  16. justonemore on December 31st, 2008 8:44 pm

    Generally good info, but I think the classifications are misleading. It’s not really 5 types here. The porters and stouts are ales, and the pilsners are lagers. So, there are only two catagories that all beer falls into. I would suggest changing the “ales” catagory to pale ales, American pale ales, or India pale ales, for example. Same for the lagers: the light yucky ones that the huge American brewers make, like the mentioned Bud and Coors, or some of the dark lagers from Germany (dunkel), for instance. Or, for a “type”, how ’bout fruit beers, or Belgians, or cream ales (a hybrid). The list is endless. Jeeez, so many beers, so little time…

  17. Kyle on September 22nd, 2009 1:29 am

    As a home brewer I have to agree with justonemore. Pilsners are Lagers and the rest are ale’s

  18. The Guy on June 23rd, 2010 3:18 pm

    I agree with the last two post.

    The article while good is misleading since there are only two types of beers: ales and lagers.

    Pilsners are lagers and everything else in the article are ales but other than this, I thought it was a good article!

  19. Greg on December 8th, 2010 6:24 pm

    Actually not a good guide at all. The first two items on the list encompass the entire rest of the list since all beer is either an ale or lager. Furthermore Stouts and Porters are extremely similar styles since Porters are actually an offshoot of Stouts with a slightly more specific taste, however most of them derive their flavors from the same darker malts. A better list would be more like this:

    1. Witbier – The lightest in color of all beers. Taste is extremely different from the American Adjunct Lagers that are so popular in America (Miller, Coors, Bud, any other beer you’ve seen on TV except Sam Adams). These beers are brewed with wheat in addition to the traditional barley and flavored with orange and coriander giving it an extremely light and distinct taste. These beers are very easy for someone who has never really enjoyed beer before to start getting into quality craft brews. They’re also distinct in that they are unfiltered and appear cloudy compared to other beers. It opens up a ton of new varieties in taste when you try your first Witbier. Witbiers are Ales meaning they are brewed with top fermenting yeasts at warmer temperatures and should be stored and enjoyed between 50 and 55 degrees.

    Recommended: Hoegaarden, St. Bernardus

    2. IPAs – While the style is hit and miss with many people it remains one of the most popular styles, and if you don’t know this style you won’t get very far in beer conversation. Furthermore it is a great way to start learning the difference between the two main flavors in a beer: hops and malt. Hops provide the bitterness and malt the sweetness. An IPA is amongst the hoppiest of beers and trying one will help you more deeply understand the differences between beers. IPAs are also ales and should be stored and enjoyed around the same temperature as a Witbier, perhaps a few degrees cooler.

    Recommended: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    3. Stouts – A stout is more the opposite side of a beer to an IPA. A stout is the maltiest and darkest of ales. This brew opens up a lot of exciting possibilities a non-beer-drinker has never ventured into before. Stouts are often flavored with malts that don’t exist in other styles such as caramel, coffee and even chocolate. You can’t say you love beer if you haven’t tried at least a few different Stouts. Serve and store between 40 and 50 degrees.

    Recommended: Guinness, Sam Adams Imperial Stout

    4. Pilsner – A Pilsner is the Lagers take on a hoppy beer. It tastes very different from an IPA, but still focuses primarily on the hop flavors. They also tend to add a bit of a citrus zest and they are an excellent way to get acquainted with the hoppy side of lagers. Serve and store between 50 and 55 degrees.

    Recommended: Pilsner Urquell, Victory Prima Pils

    5. Bock – A Bock is the lager equivalent to a Stout and often includes the same types of malt, however they can range anywhere from black to a pale brown color. These are generally the darkest and maltiest of lagers, but often tend to have a smoother taste than a Stout and should be enjoyed between 45 and 50 degrees.

    Recommended: Troegenator, Sam Adams Winter Lager

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