Beer Styles

Altbier | Munich maltiness takes second place to hop bitterness. Sometimes copper orange, other times brown. Can be a lager or an ale. Altbier originated in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Amber Ale | An American-style of ale, close in flavor to that of many light English ales.

Barley Wine | Amber- to dark-colored beer, with a caramel fruitiness reminiscent of port wine. Loaded with hops and malt, barley wines are served at cellar temperatures.

Belgian Ale | Any of the strong, sweet-sour beers made throughout Belgium. These beers are as distinct as the regions from which they originate.

Belgian White Ale | These white beers (witbier) are known for a sweet orange taste and a dry spiciness, usually from coriander. This is a delicious unfiltered specialty beer.

Belgian-Style Quadruple

Berliner Weiss | Called the “Champagne of the North” by Napoleon’s troops. This lively, carbonated beer is low in alcohol content and has an unusual sourness. Because of this beer’s sourness, it is often served with raspberry syrup or essence of woodruff.

Biere de Garde | Malty, rich and complex, “beer for keeping” is a farmhouse French ale. Traditionally brewed at the end of cool weather, this beer was created to survive the summer heat.

Bitter Ale | MunichA highly hopped, low-carbonated beer ranging from gold to red in color. This beer is usually served on draught.

Black Beer | A malty, dark-roasted lager originating in Germany, now quite popular in Japan.

Bock | A darker, lightly hopped beer with a rich, malty flavor. “Bock” in German means “billy goat” or “ram.”

Brown Ale | A strong ale associated with the north of England, often quite hoppy with a malty sweetness.

Cider | Though not actually a beer, cider, made from the fermented juice of apples, is grouped in the same category. It is characterized by a crisp, fruity taste.

Cream Ale | A cream ale, also referred to as a “creamer,” is related to American lagers. They are generally brewed to be light and refreshing with a straw to pale golden color.

Dopplebock | Meaning “double bock,” this beer is strong, but not quite twice as strong as a bock. Originally made by Franciscan monks for fasting, this rich, chewy beer was known to them as liquid bread.

Dortmunder | A classic European-lager style developed in Dortmunder, Germany.

Dry | A Japanese-style lager filtered to remove many of the berry flavors and hop notes.

Dry Stout | Originating in Ireland, this is a dry, dark beer often with a burnt, coffee-like flavor.

Dunkel | Dunkel means “dark.” Similar to Hefewiezen, these wheat beers are brewed to darker versions. Complex malts, low balancing bitterness with the usual clove and banana characters.

ESB | Aggressive and more balanced bitterness, both in alcohol and hop character, but nothing overpowering. Color ranges from dark gold to copper. Malts in this beer tend to be more pronounced. Try the standard, Fullers ESB, and go from there.

Gueuze/Gueze | This fascinating beer has some complex, unique aromas: oaky, fruity and musty. Made with wild yeast and typically high in alcohol, guezes are known for their bite.

Helles | Similar to a pilsner, yet sweetier and nuttier, with milder hop tones. A clean, clear, golden beer, created in Munich in 1895 to compete with pilsners.

Imperial Stout | An extremely, strong, fruity stout originally made for the drinking pleasure of the Russian czars, this beer has a wine-like character.

India Pale Ale (IPA) | This beer style has a unique history. During the British occupation of India, it was found that regular mild ale would not last the long journey from Great Britain to India. Because of this, brewers increased the alcohol content and added extra hops (a natural preservative), giving this potent beer its trademark hoppy bitterness.

Koelsch | Another of pilsner’s cousins with a fruitier finish. This beer’s mother city Is Koln (Cologne), Germany. Only European hops need apply.

Lager | From the German “work to store,” lagers represent a major family of beers. They have a longer and cooler fermentation period than ales, and are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast. Most German and North American beers are lagers.

Lambic | A small but distinct family of spontaneously fermented ales made in a particular region of Belgium. Many times fruit (raspberry, peach, cherry or berries) is added during its long storage process, making it a tasty dessert beer.

Mead | Smooth and wine-like, mead is neither a true beer nor wine. This beer is traditionally made with honey, water and yeast. A melomei is a mead with fruit added; cyser is apple mead; and braggot (bracket) is a mead mixed with ale.

Mild Ale | Typically lighter in alcohol than most British ale, “mild” presently refers to the light hop bitterness that contrasts its “bitter” cousin. In the past, “mild” may have denoted a young beer lacking the sourness of an aged ale. A malt-accented beer with a drinkability and alcohol level that allows for consumption of more than one glass, the mild is a fine “session” beer.

Oatmeal Stout | An English-style stout, dark in color with a silky-smooth body and a hint of nuttiness in its roasted flavor.

Oktoberfest | Amber-colored, strong lager characterized by bittersweet maltiness. Named also “marzen,” “Marz” (German for “March”) is typically when this historic lager is brewed.

Old Ale | Rich, with a dark amber color. After tasting a sweet maltiness and fruity background, an alcoholic warmth knocks on the door.

Pale Ale | The bottle’s cousin to bitter ale. Characterized by clean and yeasty fruitiness with a dry finish.

Pilsner | The most popular beer style in the world, invented in 1842 in Pilsen, Czechslovakia. It is a well-hopped, crisp, thirst-quenching beer. Major American breweries produce an even lighter version of this style.

Porter | An extremely dark, almost black beer, with a roasted malty flavor and creamy head.

Rauchbier | Meaning “smoked beer,” this is a specialty from Bamburg,Germany. The malts used in its brewing are smoked over local beechwood, giving this style an unusually hearty, smoky flavor, which makes it great for cooking.

Saison | “Beer of the season” is a unique style of Belgian ale. Golden in color, these tart, spicy beers are meant as thirst quenchers, while still strong and sustaining.

Scotch Ale | Once a very strong, full-bodied ale from Scotland, now more reminiscent of a bitter ale. True Scotch ales are not associated with Belgium or France.

Steam | Known also as California common beer and unique to the West Coast, this lager is gold or amber in color and has both a malty and hoppy showing. Anchor Steam is a trademark name.

Trappist Ale | A strong ale made by Trappist monks in Belgium and the Netherlands. Sometimes flavored with secret herbs and spices, this distinctive style often has characteristics of port wine. Trappist ales are served at room temperature.

Weiss or Weizen | This is a wheat beer associated with southern Germany. It carries a refreshing, fruity palate, with notes of clove and banana. This style, often served unfiltered (Hefeweizen), is the “breakfast” or “Sunday” beer in Germany.