Beer Style Guide

It’s only when you dive into the world of beer with gusto that you realize the number of beer styles available is staggering, exciting, and also a little intimidating! Fear not, as the BeerMaps Style Guide will show you how to tell a brown ale from a German Dunkelweisen and to have fun exploring and tasting in the process. In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on color, aroma, taste, ABV, IBU (bitterness), and even the appropriate glassware to drink your chosen brew from. Stick with us and you’ll be a beer aficionado in no time.

But before diving into the complexities of individual beer styles, lets explore some beer basics.

Beer Colors

As humans, we are very visual and use our eyes to give us quick feedback on what is going on in our world. In the world of beer, color is as just as important to a brewer as flavor, aroma, IBU, ABV and all of the many factors that go into creating a fantastic beer. In fact, the color is the first impression of a beer that a brewer can get during the brewing process. As it flows into the glass, the color is the very first gauge of what can be expected from the beer. Other factors, such as lacing, retention and the color of the foam are also important at this stage.

Just as there are measurements for bitterness and alcohol, there is also an official measurement scale for color. It’s called SRM and stands for Standard Reference Method. Used to measure the color intensity of beer (it does get a little more technical, but we’ll stick with that explanation for now) SRM was adopted by the American Society of Brewing Chemists in 1951. In Europe, a different scale is used to measure beer color, called the European Brewery Convention (EBC).

The SRM of a beer is measured with a number, ranging from an SRM of 2 to an SRM of 40. For example, a paler beer such as a pilsner may have an SRM of 2, while an imperial stout may have a rating of 40.

2 Pale Straw
3 Straw
4 Pale Gold
6 Deep Gold
9 Pale Amber
12 Medium Amber
15 Deep Amber
18 Amber-Brown
20 Brown
24 Ruby Brown
30 Deep Brown
40 Black

Take a look at the table below to get an idea of how your favorite beer rates in color.

Pilsner 2 – 7
Witbier, Berliner Weisse 2 – 4
Belgian Strong Ale 4 – 7
Maibock 4 – 10
Vienna Lager 7 – 14
Oktoberfest 4 – 12
American Pale Ale 6 – 14
Pale Ale 5 – 14
English Golden Ale 4 – 8
Bavarian Weizen 4 – 10
Bitter, ESB 8 – 14
Märzen 7 – 15
Imperial Pale Ale 5 – 11
Bière de Garde 6 – 13
Dunkel Weizen 9 – 13
Amber Ale 11 – 18
English Brown Ale 12 – 22
Bock 15 – 30
Porter 20 – 40
Oatmeal Stout 25 – 40
Baltic Porter 17 – 40
Foreign Stout 30 – 65
Imperial Stout 50 – 80

Alcohol By Volume (ABV%)

So, we can’t really have a beer guide without talking about the alcohol that your beer contains. The alcohol content in beer is important for a number of reasons. For one, before you reach for that second bottle of beer, you might want to know how much alcohol it is packing. But alcohol content isn’t only important from a beer buzz point of view; it can also affect the flavor, mouthfeel and overall body of your brew.

Alcohol is created during the fermentation process and is a byproduct of yeast reacting and turning fermentable sugars into CO2 and alcohol. The alcohol in your beer will depend on the type of yeast used, the fermentation method and the amount of sugar that is digested.

Most beers generally fall between 3.0 – 13.0 percent ABV. However, some can be weaker and even stronger. The ABV indication on a beer bottle will tell you how many ounces of alcohol are in the beverage. So, if a 12-ounce bottle of beer says that it contains 5.0 percent alcohol, that means that 0.6 ounces of the liquid is pure alcohol.

International Bittering Units (IBU)

You’ll often see the term IBU thrown around as a trendy stat on beer descriptions and beer bottles – hey, we’ve also included them in our guide to beer styles below – but what does it mean and why should you care?

Well, first things first, IBU does not make a beer better or worse. The term stands for International Bitterness (or Bittering) Unit and was invented to make it easier to measure the bitterness level of a beer. More specifically, the IBU scale was first introduced in the early 20th century as a way to quantify or put a number to, how bitter beer was when it was ready to drink.

Want some science? We have you covered!

IBUs are a chemical measurement of the specifically oxidized and isomerized alpha acids, bittering compounds, polyphenols and a number of other bittering chemicals that all work together to give your beer its bitter taste. Almost every beer you have ever had will have an IBU measurement of 5 – 120. Most beer styles sit between a lower range of 15 – 80.

Warm Beer? Cold Beer? Getting the Serving Temperature Just Right

If country songs, bar signs, and Super Bowl ads are to be believed, beer should always be served ice cold. While that may be true for many beers, there are many more that just won’t give their best being served in a frosty mug.

Temperature, you see, can have a very profound impact on your tastebuds. Deep within a beer are chemical compounds that are responsible for releasing a myriad of flavors and aromas. These compounds are reactive to temperature, and will either be activated or suppressed depending on the temperature the beer is served at.

There is a reason that red wine is served at room temperature, white wine is best served ice cold and your coffee is steaming hot. Quite simply, they all taste and feel better this way. The same is true for beer. Different beer styles taste better at different temperatures. Here is a rough guide to how certain styles should be served. You’ll also see recommended serving temperatures for each individual beer in our beer styles guide.

  • Mass-market light lagers: 35–40°F (2–4°C)
  • Czech and German Pilseners, wheat beers, Kolsh and Munich Helles: 40–45°F (4–7°C)
  • American pale ales, IPAs, stouts, and porters: 45–50°F (7–10°C)
  • Belgian ales, Bocks, sour ales, English milds and bitters, Scottish ales: 50–55°F (10–13°C)
  • Barleywines, Belgian strong ales, Doppelbocks, and imperial stouts: 55–60°F (13–16°C)

Glassware

These days, good beer establishments have almost as many glasses as they have beer styles. But what’s in a glass and does it really matter which glass you drink your beer from?

The short answer is a resounding yes! In the right glass, the color, aroma, and head are at their very best and as the brewer intended them to be. That means before you even take the first sip of your chosen beer, your senses and anticipation will be heightened. In the right glass, your beer will show off its characteristics, stay carbonated for longer and ultimately deliver the best experience possible.

The Perfect Delivery System

The shape of a beer glass is proven to impact a number of elements including retention and head development. The development of the head is important as it is used as a delivery system for aroma compounds that evaporate on contact with the air.

Beer glasses come in a number of shapes and styles, many of which you may be familiar with and many of which are similar to each other. So which is the right glass to choose for which beer? Our beer style guide below includes the recommended glass type for each style of beer. However, it’s important not to get overwhelmed with the choice or to throw your hands up in disgust if you are served your beer in the wrong glass. The most important thing is that your glass is clean and your beer good.

The Classic Pint Glass (aka Shaker, Nonic, Tumbler or Becker)

Perhaps the most common beer glass there is, the classic pint glass has a wide mouth and a slight taper to its cylindrical shape. They actually come in two different sizes – the Nonic is the most popular 20-ounce size and the straight-sided Tumbler is the most common 16-ounce size. You might notice that the Nonic has a slight bulge at the top and wonder what this is for. Well, not that we’re calling beer drinkers sloppy, but this bulge acts as a handy grip for when the glass gets slippery when wet. The bulge is also designed to prevent the rim from becoming chipped and helps with stackability. Originally, the glass was called “no nick” and eventually evolved into “nonic”.

This glass is best suited to ambers, reds, stouts, browns, pale ales, IPAs, and porters. You should never see a Belgian beer served in a classic pint glass!

The Goblet (aka the Chalice)

There is something very regal about drinking out of a goblet, but before you call for your horse and toss your glass over your shoulder, let’s look at the science behind the shape. Goblets have stems which help with the promotion of a constant and even stream of bubbles. This helps to form a consistent head while the wide opening provides plenty of space for taking big sips and taking in the aroma of the beer.

This glass is best suited to Berliner Weiss and most Belgian beers, including Dubbels, Tripels, and Quads.

The Pilsner Glass

This slender, tall and tapered glass usually holds 12 ounces and is designed to showcase the effervescence (that’s a fancy word for bubbles) of the beer and to promote a consistent head. This is a glass that is used for lager and perfect for highlighting the clarity that is the hallmark of this style of beer.

Best suited to all types of lagers.

The Mug (aka Stein)

This is the glass for the serious beer drinker. Dimpled, chiseled and heavy set, it’s the perfect container for medium-dark and dark beer styles. It’s great for socializing, too! Its heavy and thick construction makes it perfect for hearty “cheers-ing” and “clinking”, while the sturdy handles are designed to allow the glass to be wildly waved in the air. You couldn’t do that with a goblet!

This is the glass of choice during Oktoberfest celebrations and can be used for just about any beer style.

The Snifter

Originally designed to maximize the aromas found in brandy and cognac, some bright spark realized the same could be achieved with deep, dark and complex ales. The wide and deep bowl is perfect for swirling the brew which in turns helps to release the aroma and flavor compounds hidden deep within the brew.

Best suited for imperials, strong ales, gueuzes, Flanders red, lambics, scotch ales, and dark Belgian styles.

The Tulip Glass

With its bulbous bowl, the tulip is very similar to its counterpart the snifter. However, the tulip tapers outward at its top, helping to promote beer styles with foamier and larger heads. Many beer lovers favor the tulip over the snifter simply because the glass helps to promote the head while also releasing aroma compounds.

This glass is ideal for imperial and double IPA and most Belgian beers, including Biere de Garde, Saison, lambic, gueuze and scotch ales.

The Weizen Glass (aka Vase)

Don’t clink these babies together too hard. While these tall and curvy glasses may look sturdy, they are typically thin-walled and designed to show off the color of the beer. The tapered design and narrow bottom help to promote the release of bubbles in a uniform way which in turn helps to maintain a foamy head.

Unsurprisingly, these glasses are best suited to wheat bears, including Dunkelweizen, Hefeweizen, Weizenbock, Kristalweizen and American wheat ales.

Tips for Using Glassware

Now you know a little more about beer glassware, here are a few tips that will help you to maximize your enjoyment no matter which glass you sip from:

  • Avoid chilling your glassware. The condensation that is created will dilute your beer as the glass warms up.
  • If using your own glassware, make sure it is washed well. Residual grease or fat can kill head retention. Wash glasses in hot water.
  • Avoid using a dishwasher if you can. Dishwashers can often leave a cloudy residue on glasses and this can affect flavor, aroma and head retention. If you do use a dishwasher, use mild dishwasher soap and rinse all glasses thoroughly with hot water. Hand washing is always best. Your beer will thank you for it!
  • Getting the right pour. Always hold your glass at a slight angle and pour directly into the bottom of the glass and not against the side of the glass. When a nice head starts to build, straighten the glass. Patiently, allow some of the foam to subside and then top off with the remaining beer.

Beer Families – A Guide to the Main Types of Beer

Pale Ales

You’ll no doubt experience pale ales incredibly quickly on your foray into the beer world. However, while very popular, this style is not as simple as it may first appear. For example, not all pale ales are actually that pale. What makes a pale ale stand out from other beers is its moderate hoppiness. It’s a beer that is interesting and approachable and which allows the drinker to discover different elements on each sip — a bit like one of those Magic Eye posters from years ago. There are many styles available, but the key here is a balance between malt and hop aroma and flavor.

Popular pale ale styles include:

  • American Amber Ale
  • American Pale Ale
  • Blonde Ale
  • English-Style Bitter
  • English-Style Pale Ale (ESB)

Dark Lagers

Dark lagers are something of an enigma. There are people who love this style of beer and others who have a mental block against any lager that isn’t gold in color and bright in clarity. However, unlike their darker counterparts, stouts and porters, dark lagers are surprisingly clean in taste and there is no roasted character to them at all. Well worth a try!

Popular dark lager styles include:

  • American Amber Lager
  • German-Style Dunkel
  • German-Style Marzen / Oktoberfest
  • German-Style Schwarzbier
  • Vienna-Style Lager

Brown Ales

Brown ales are significantly darker than their paler cousins due to the treatment and choice of malts used. Typically, brown ales have a maltier flavor profile that delivers chocolate, toffee, biscuit, and nutty elements. Hops and fruity esters also play their part here, but it’s more of a supporting than a lead role.

Popular brown ale styles include:

  • American Brown Ale
  • English-Style Brown Ale
  • English-Style Mild

India Pale Ales

IPA surely has to be the best-loved acronym in the world of craft beer (well, besides ABV and IBU, perhaps!). So, what makes an IPA stand out so much? The short answer is hops. Over the years, for a number of reasons, India Pale Ale has evolved into the hoppiest beer style of them all. If you are a fan of bitter, citrusy, fruity, floral and earthy notes, you’ll love IPA. What’s more, there are more and more styles emerging all the time giving you an almost never-ending beer tasting bucket list to compose!

Popular styles of IPA include:

  • American IPA
  • English-Style IPA
  • Imperial India Pale Ale
  • New England IPA

Wheat Beers

If there is one beer that is perfect for beer novices, it is wheat beer. Why? Because it immediately dispels any preconceptions that beer should be bitter or brown. In fact, for drinkers of Prosecco or Champagne, wheat beer offers a pleasant transition from the world of grape to the domain of grain. Wheat beers are usually made up of 30 to 60 percent wheat and come in a variety of styles. Give the Belgian Witbier a try for its cilantro, orange peel, and oaty flavor.

Popular styles of wheat beer include:

  • American-Style Wheat Wine Ale
  • American Wheat
  • Belgian-Style Witbier
  • Berliner-Style Weisse
  • German-Style Dunkelweizen
  • German-Style Hefeweizen

Strong Ales

When you’re looking for a robust ale that is rich in history as much as it is rich in flavor and aroma, welcome to strong ale territory. This type of ale, which usually sits between 5 and 11 percent ABV, spans a number of different beer styles including barley wine and old ale. You’ll find strong ales brewed throughout Europe and beyond, including Belgium, England, and the U.S.

Popular styles of strong ale include:

  • American Barley Wine
  • American Imperial Red Ale
  • British-Style Barley Wine Ale
  • English-Style Old Ale

Belgian Styles

If there is one thing that can be said about the Belgians it is that they love their beer. And rightly so! When a nation has taken centuries to perfect it, there is a lot to love. When it comes to complexity and flavor, it’s worth taking a dive deep into the world of Belgian beer. From the deep color and voluptuousness of the Belgian Dubbel to the stronger impact of Belgian dark ale, there is certainly an adventure waiting for you.

Popular styles of Belgian beer include:

  • Belgian-Style Blonde Ale
  • Belgian-Style Dubbel
  • Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale
  • Belgian-Style Pale Ale
  • Belgian-Style Quadrupel
  • Belgian-Style Saison
  • Belgian-Style Tripel

Hybrid Beers

No matter what you might hear elsewhere, all beer is either lager or ale. Which route a beer will take all comes down to the type of yeast a brewer uses: ale yeast or lager yeast. However, there are a number of beer styles today that have been brewed using methods common in lager brewing but which have been fermented using ale yeast, and vice versa. These are known as hybrid ales or beers.

Some popular hybrid styles include:

  • American Cream Ale
  • French-Style Biere de Garde
  • California Common
  • German-Style Altbier
  • German-Style Kolsch
  • Irish-Style Red Beer

Porters

If you’re a lover of Guinness, it might surprise you to learn that porters were actually popularized by Arthur Guinness himself. He started out brewing porters before creating his stronger stout masterpiece that we know and love today. Sitting at the darker end of the beer spectrum, porters are a joy to explore, not least for their complex flavors, such as bittersweet chocolate, toffee, caramel, and toast.

Popular porter styles include:

  • American Imperial Porter
  • Baltic-Style Porter
  • English-Style Brown Porter
  • Robust Porter
  • Smoke Porter

Stouts

Dark, smooth and creamy, most people know stout thanks to the popularity of Guinness. However, stout is so much more than the output of one brewery. Stout is essentially a porter but with more depth, strength and malt character. You won’t taste much of a malty profile with stout, but what you do get is the flavors of coffee, chocolate and toffee and low carbonation that results in a finer, creamier mouthfeel.

Popular stout styles include:

  • American Imperial Stout
  • American Stout
  • English-Style Oatmeal Stout
  • English-Style Sweet Stout (Milk Stout)
  • Irish-Style Dry Stout

Bocks

“Bock” is a centuries-old word that originates from the place that it was first made —Einbeck in Germany. It was originally brewed in the 14th century and started life as an ale. It later evolved into the lager when lager yeast was first introduced to Germany, and the rest is history. There are many different bock styles available, but if you remember one thing about this style, remember this —bock = strong beer!

Popular styles of bock include:

  • German-Style Bock
  • German-Style Doppelbock
  • German-Style Maibock
  • German-Style Weizenbock

Wild/Sour Beers

Wild and sour ales are becoming increasingly popular in the beer community. Also known as American sours, this style of beer originated in Europe, but you’ll find plenty of American variations to keep your tastebuds busy. But what is a wild beer anyway? Well, it’s just a beer that has been fermented with a bit more than yeast. Other ingredients might include wild Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and pediococcus. The variation of different ingredients means that the range of styles is very wide.

Popular wild and sour styles include:

  • American Brett
  • American Sour
  • Belgian-Style Flanders
  • Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic
  • Belgian-Style Lambic/Gueuze
  • Contemporary Gose

Pilseners and Pale Lagers

The pilsener style of beer has a rich and well-documented history. In fact, some origin stories trace back to the time of Good King Wenceslas. The style has traveled throughout Europe and America and offers a flavor profile that is spicy, floral and softly malty. There is also that refreshing bitterness that brings a nice, clean finish, especially on a hot day.

Popular pilsener styles include:

  • American Lager
  • Bohemian-Style Pilsener
  • European-Style Export
  • German-Style Helles
  • German-Style Pilsner

Specialty Beers

Thanks to creative brewers and adventurous ingredients, there are just some beers that don’t fit into any particular category. Fortunately, these wonderful oddballs of the beer world have a home thanks to the specialty beer category. From the experimental, goofy and memorable to the bold, loud and loveable, specialty beers are those that have flouted convention and gone down the own route, often to wild acclaim. Specialty beers are typically classic beers, but with new flavors added. These flavors may include fruits, spices, herbs, and even smoke or hot pepper.

Popular specialty beers include:

  • American Black Ale
  • Barrel-Aged Beer
  • Chocolate Beer
  • Coffee Beer
  • Fruit and Field Beer
  • Gluten-Free Craft Beer
  • Herb and Spice Beer
  • Honey Beer
  • Pumpkin Beer
  • Rye Beer
  • Session Beer
  • Smoke Beer
  • Specialty Beer

Beer Styles

American Adjunct Lager

These highly carbonated and light-bodied lagers became popular in America following Prohibition. They have low bitterness, moderate alcohol, and thin malts. Popular examples include Miller High Life, Coors Banquet and Budweiser.

  • Color: Light gold
  • ABV: 4% – 6%
  • IBU: 8 – 18
  • Aroma/Flavor: Light hop bitterness and aroma. The flavor will depend on the grains used.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to clear
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45°F
  • Glass: Pilsner

American Amber Ale

As with most amber beers, American amber ale gets its name from its glorious amber to golden color. Amber ales typically ferment at warmer temperatures than other lager-style beers.

  • Color: Copper to reddish brown
  • ABV: 4.4% – 6.1%
  • IBU: 25 – 45
  • Aroma/Flavor: Citrus-like character with malt undertones of caramel.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American Amber Lager

You’ll find American amber lager widely available almost everywhere. This is a session beer that is medium-bodied with a caramel-like or toasty malt character. On the hop bitterness scale, this one can range from low to medium-high.

  • Color: Gold to copper
  • ABV: 4.8% – 5.4%
  • IBU: 18 – 30
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness, aroma and flavor is very low to medium-high. Aromas of caramel and toasted malt.
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American Barley Wine

American barley wine has a complex toffee and caramel aroma and flavor and ranges in color from gold to deep red. Fruity-ester character in this brew is quite high, while the lower levels of age-induced oxidation create a harmony with the malty flavors. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find vintage versions available.

  • Color: Gold to deep red or copper
  • ABV: 8.5% – 12.2%
  • IBU: 60 – 100
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness is high. Hop flavor and aroma are medium to very high. While American hops are usually used in this style, it isn’t a necessity. Malt flavors are bready, sweet and caramel.
  • Clarity: Clear to brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Snifter

American Black Ale

American black ale is characterized by dark roasted malt aromas and flavors. Often called black IPA or Cascadian dark ale, this beer delivers a hop aroma and flavor that is medium-high. Other flavors you’ll find here are floral, herbal, fruity, citrus, and piney.

  • Color: Very dark to black
  • ABV: 6% – 7.5%
  • IBU: 50 – 70
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness is medium-high. Hop flavor and aroma are medium to high. The malt delivers a toasted and caramel flavor and aroma.
  • Clarity: Clear to opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American Blonde Ale

American Blonde Ale was created by the craft beer movement to appeal to lager-loving customers. It is very approachable and offers high carbonation, moderate to low alcohol and maximum refreshment. It’s the perfect starter beer for a hot day and a little more flavorful and complex than lager.

  • Color: Pale yellow to deep gold
  • ABV: 4% – 5.5%
  • IBU: 15 – 28
  • Aroma/Flavor: Malt and hops are low to moderate. A biscuity maltiness gives way to lager-like clean crispness.
  • Clarity: Clear to brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

American Brett

American Brett is one of the most unique beers you can find. Its leathery, goaty, and acidic fruity character is created by the Brettanomyces organisms present, while the color often takes on the hues of fruits and other ingredients added into the mix.

  • Color: Varies
  • ABV: Varies
  • IBU: Varies
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness ranges from low to high.
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American Brown Ale

With its deeply intense roasted caramel-like and chocolate characters, American brown ale sits somewhere between a porter and English brown ale.

  • Color: Deep copper to very dark brown
  • ABV: 4.2% – 6.3%
  • IBU: 25 – 45
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness is medium to high. Hop flavor and aroma are low to medium while the malt flavors deliver a chocolate, caramel and toast finish.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American Cream Ale

This light-bodied, pale and mild ale is made using a combination of cold lagering and warm fermentation. Most American cream ales have no hop aroma present or if they do it is very low to low.

  • Color: Pale straw to gold
  • ABV: 4.3% – 5.7%
  • IBU: 20 – 22
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness is also very low to low. The malt delivers a grainy and fresh flavor.
  • Clarity: Brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Flute

American Imperial Porter

American imperial porter has a cocoa-like sweetness and medium caramel aroma and flavor. A good variety should have no black malt or roasted barley characters.

  • Color: Black
  • ABV: 7% – 12%
  • IBU: 35 – 50
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low to medium-high while hop bitterness is medium-low to medium. The malt delivers a dense chocolate aroma and flavor.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American Imperial Red Ale

American hops are used in American imperial red ale and deliver a medium hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness. This is a beer that offers a great balance of malty sweetness and hop bitterness.

  • Color: Deep amber to dark copper or reddish brown
  • ABV: 8% – 10.6%
  • IBU: 55 – 85
  • Aroma/Flavor: Balanced hop, aroma and bitterness, and a medium caramel malt character.
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American Imperial Stout

When it comes to alcohol strength and body, American imperial stout holds the title over other stouts. Rich in flavor and black in color, this is a robust beer with a medium bitterness.

  • Color: Black
  • ABV: 7% – 12%
  • IBU: 50 – 80
  • Aroma/Flavor: A medium hop aroma and flavor balanced with citrus, floral or herbal aromas. The malt delivers coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and cocoa.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Snifter

American Imperial Pilsner

The American imperial (or American double) pilsner offers an intense hop bitterness and dry floral aroma. This is a beer with a robust malty backbone and notable carbonation. This is a great session or starter beer, especially on those hot days of the year when you are looking for a beer to quench your thirst and hit the spot.

  • Color: Pale straw to amber
  • ABV: 4% – 5%
  • IBU: 30 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma, and a sweet malty flavor and aroma.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to clear
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45°F
  • Glass: Pilsner

American IPA

American IPA is now the top-selling craft beer in liquor stores and supermarkets across the U.S. and for good reason. Fruity, floral, piney and resinous, it’s all about hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness with this brew.

  • Color: Gold to copper, red or brown
  • ABV: 6.3% – 7.5%
  • IBU: 50 – 70
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor is strong and hop aroma high with citrus-like and floral characters. The malt delivers a biscuit, caramel, and bready flavor and aroma.
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American Lager

While American lager may not have much malt or hop character to offer, this golden carbonated beer delivers a clean, crisp and enjoyable beverage.

  • Color: Straw to gold
  • ABV: 3.2% – 4%
  • IBU: 5 – 15
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor is strong and hop aroma high with citrus-like and floral characters. The malt delivers a biscuit, caramel, and bready flavor and aroma.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to clear
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Flute

American Light Lager

Light lagers are generally lighter versions of a brewery’s premium lager offering. They are usually lighter in carbohydrates and calories as well as alcohol. High amounts of cereal adjuncts such as corn and rice are usually used to lighten the lager as much as possible.

  • Color: Pale straw to amber
  • ABV: 2.5% – 5%
  • IBU: 8 – 12
  • Aroma/Flavor: Light hop bitterness and aroma. Malt flavors are citrus and biscuit-like.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to clear
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45°F
  • Glass: Pilsner

American Pale Ale

American pale ale has earned its place in the American classic beer hall of fame. Inspired by English pale ale, the American take replaces herbal and earthy hops with gold pine-like and citrus American varieties.

  • Color: Deep golden to copper
  • ABV: 4.4% – 5.4%
  • IBU: 30 – 50
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is medium to medium-high with fruity, citrus-like and floral characters. The malt delivers a biscuit, caramel, and bready flavor and aroma.
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American Sour

American sour is known for its acidity, usually in the form of acetic, lactic and other organic acids that have developed in the mash.

  • Color: A range of colors and may take on different hues depending on ingredients
  • ABV: Varies
  • IBU: Varies
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is medium to medium-high with fruity, citrus-like and floral characters. The malt delivers a biscuit, caramel, and bready flavor and aroma.
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

American-Style Wheat Wine Ale

American-style wheat wine ale is a member of the “strong ale” family. The wine in the name is nothing to do with grapes. Made from at least 50 percent wheat malt, this beer delivers candy and bready flavors and has a malty sweet finish. Oak-aged varieties are also available.

  • Color: Gold to light brown
  • ABV: 8.5% – 12.2%
  • IBU: 45 – 85
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is medium to medium-high with fruity, citrus-like and floral characters. The malt delivers a biscuit, caramel and bready flavor and aroma.
  • Clarity: Slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Snifter

American Wheat

American wheat can be made using lager or ale yeast and has a light appearance. American wheat beer is generally hoppier than its German cousin and is usually served unfiltered.

  • Color: Straw to light amber
  • ABV: 3.5% – 5.6%
  • IBU: 10 – 35
  • Aroma/Flavor: The malt gives American wheat its grainy wheat aroma and flavor. Hop flavor, aroma, and bitterness are low to medium.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Flute

Belgian Dark Ale

Belgian dark ale offers a huge range of characters in one glass. Most ales in this style have low bitterness, while the aromas can deliver traces of yeast, malt, floral attributes, and spices. Flavors can range from sweet and malty to spiced and dry. Dark ale is often brewed with dark Belgian candy sugar and have a deceptive strength.

  • Color: Amber to deep garnet
  • ABV: 4.5% – 7.5%
  • IBU: 15 – 25
  • Aroma/Flavor: Perceived hop flavor and aroma is low to medium, while the malt delivers complex fruity aromas and an intense malt flavor which is creamy, sweet and rich.
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50°F
  • Glass: Goblet

Baltic-Style Porter

This cold-fermented, cold-lagered beer is smooth and delivers complex fruitiness and alcohol flavors.

  • Color: Very deep ruby to garnet to black
  • ABV: 7.6% – 9.3%
  • IBU: 35 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are very low. Hop bitterness is low to medium-low. Malt aromas include licorice, chocolate, dark sugar, and caramelized sugar.
  • Clarity: Clear to opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

Barrel-Aged Beer

Any beer that has been aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel can be called a barrel-aged beer. These beers might include ales, lagers or hybrid beers. The beer is aged in a barrel to allow the unique woody notes to permeate the beer. Different wood types give different flavors and may include apple, alder, hickory or oak, to name a few.

  • Color: Varies
  • ABV: Varies
  • IBU: Varies
  • Aroma/Flavor: Varies
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Blonde Ale

Perfect for session drinking, Belgian-style blonde ale offers a low bitterness and a low malt aroma. It delivers the perfect balance between spice, sweetness and fruity ester flavors.

  • Color: Pale to light amber
  • ABV: 6.3% – 7.9%
  • IBU: 15 – 30
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are almost absent. Hop bitterness is very low to low.
  • Clarity: Clear to brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Dubbel

If you haven’t already guessed, “dubbel” means “double” in Belgian. The Belgian-style dubbel beer delivers rich and sweet aromas and is often bottle-conditioned.

  • Color: Brown to very dark
  • ABV: 6.3% – 7.6%
  • IBU: 20 – 35
  • Aroma/Flavor: Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are low and hop bitterness is medium-low to medium. The malt finish is caramel, toast, and chocolate.
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic

Fans of Belgian beer may know Belgian-style fruit lambic as cassis, framboise, peche, or Kriek. The fruit used in fruit lambic will determine the color and flavor, and varieties range from sweet or dry or clear or cloudy, depending on the fruit used.

  • Color: The color reflects the fruit used
  • ABV: 5% – 8.9%
  • IBU: 15 – 21
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma and bitterness are rated as not perceived to very low. Sweet malt characters are not perceived.
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Flanders

For those looking for a Belgian beer that delivers balance and character in one, you can’t go wrong with Belgian-style Flanders. Malty sweetness and cherry-like flavors result in a cocoa-like flavor and medium-low bitterness. Some varieties are matured in oak barrels, creating a woody character.

  • Color: Copper to very dark
  • ABV: 4.8% – 6.6%
  • IBU: 5 – 18
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma not perceived. Bitterness is very low to medium-low. Roasted malt aromas offer a degree of malty sweetness and a cocoa-like character.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic

Fans of Belgian beer may know Belgian-style fruit lambic as cassis, framboise, peche, or Kriek. The fruit used in fruit lambic will determine the color and flavor, and varieties range from sweet or dry or clear or cloudy, depending on the fruit used.

  • Color: The color reflects the fruit used
  • ABV: 5% – 8.9%
  • IBU: 15 – 21
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma and bitterness are rated as not perceived to very low. Sweet malt characters are not perceived.
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F

Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale

Those seeking a complex, fruity and stronger Belgian beer can conquer their quest by choosing Belgian-style golden strong ale. Belgian yeast produces a spiciness and dry finish that is refreshing and satisfying.

  • Color: Pale to copper
  • ABV: 7% – 11%
  • IBU: 20 – 50
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor, aroma, and bitterness are medium-low to medium-high. The malt creates a strong toasted and dry flavor.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Lambic/Gueuze

Deriving from the wild and sour class of beers, Belgian-style lambic and gueuze beers contain a high amount of fruit esters and a yeasty sourness. They are traditionally dry, although sweet varieties are also available.

  • Color: Gold to medium amber
  • ABV: 6.2% – 8.1%
  • IBU: 9 – 23
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor, aroma and bitterness range from not perceived to very low and may deliver floral or even cheesy notes. Sweet malt aromas or flavors are not present.
  • Clarity: Brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Pale Ale

Characterized by its gold and copper color and toasted malt and caramel flavor, Belgian-style pale ale is a very drinkable session beer.

  • Color: Gold to copper
  • ABV: 4% – 5%
  • IBU: 20 – 30
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor, aroma, and bitterness are just noticeable. The malt delivers a toast and caramel finish.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Quadrupel

The Belgian-style quadruple or quad as it is also known as is relatively light in body despite its alcohol strength. It is also sometimes referred to as Belgian strong dark.

  • Color: Amber to dark brown
  • ABV: 7.2% – 11.2%
  • IBU: 25 – 50
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor, aroma, and bitterness are just noticeable. Malt flavors and aromas include caramel and dark sugar.
  • Clarity: Slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Saison

Belgian-style Saison is usually bottle-conditioned and often has a high carbonation and yeast character. Many contain specialty ingredients such as spices or fruits and are sometimes referred to as “farmhouse ales”. Look out for limited editions containing unusual seasonal ingredients.

  • Color: Gold to amber
  • ABV: 4.4% – 6.8%
  • IBU: 20 – 38
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low to medium. Hop bitterness is medium to medium-high. Malt character is low.
  • Clarity: Slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Tripel

While Belgian-style tripels often sit at the higher end of the ABV spectrum, they are very drinkable and will suit most palates. These beers are often dry in finish and bottle-conditioned.

  • Color: Pale to light amber
  • ABV: 7.1% – 10.1%
  • IBU: 20 – 45
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are not perceived to low, while hop bitterness is medium to medium-high. The malt offers a very low sweetness.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Belgian-Style Witbier

Brewed using unmalted wheat, barley or oats, Belgian-style witbier is unusual in that it is spiced with orange peel and cilantro. This is a beer style that dates back hundreds of years and which is enjoying a renaissance on the American market. Witbier means white beer.

  • Color: Straw to pale
  • ABV: 4.8% – 5.6%
  • IBU: 10 – 17
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are not perceived to low, while hop bitterness is also low. Malt flavor and aroma are very low to low.
  • Clarity: Hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Berliner-Style Weiss

Berliner-style weiss beers are refreshingly tart, low in alcohol and often served with a flavored syrup. This style is becoming more popular in the U.S. where brewers add exotic and traditional fruits into their recipes. Many styles of this beer contain no hops and therefore have no bitterness.

  • Color: Straw to pale
  • ABV: 2.8% – 3.4%
  • IBU: 3 – 6
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are not perceived to low, while hop bitterness is also low. Malt flavor and aroma are very low to low.
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Goblet

French-Style Biere de Garde

Biere de Garde means “beer for keeping” in French and it most certainly is. You’ll find this style bottle-conditioned and growing in popularity in the U.S. Colors can vary from blond to red.

  • Color: Light amber to red
  • ABV: 4.4% – 8%
  • IBU: 20 – 30
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are not perceived to low, while hop bitterness is also low. Malt flavor and aroma are very low to low.
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Blonde Ale

Blonde ale is a very easy beer to drink and offers a smooth and rounded flavor. This American classic is known for its golden or blonde color and its no-nonsense simplicity. Some styles have spices, honey or fruit added and can be fermented with ale or lager yeast.

  • Color: straw to light amber
  • ABV: 4.1% – 5.1%
  • IBU: 15 – 25
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low to medium-low. Hop bitterness is low to medium-low. The malt produces biscuit, wheat, bread and toast flavors.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Bohemian-Style Pilsener

Originating in 1842, this slightly sweet pilsener has a bready, biscuit-like malt character and is higher in final gravity and darker in color than its German counterparts.

  • Color: Straw to light amber
  • ABV: 4.1% – 5.1%
  • IBU: 30 – 45
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low to medium-low, while hop bitterness is medium. The malt offers a bready, toasted, biscuit-like flavor.
  • Clarity: Clear to brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Flute

British-Style Barley Wine

British-style barley wine is one for sipping, not quaffing. It’s in the family of strong ales and will rival the complexity and strength of some of the most celebrated beverages in the world. Enjoy in front of an open fire with your favorite book.

  • Color: Tawny copper to deep garnet
  • ABV: 8.5% – 12%
  • IBU: 40 – 60
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is very low to medium, while hop bitterness is low to medium. The malt offers a nutty, biscuit, caramel flavor.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Snifter

California Common

California common, also known as “steam beer”, was made famous by the Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco. It’s brewed with lager yeast and delivers a caramel malt flavor. Look out for variants brewed with Northern Brewer hops – these deliver an interesting mint and woody flavor.

  • Color: Light amber to medium amber
  • ABV: 4.6% – 5.7%
  • IBU: 35 – 45
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low to medium-low, while hop bitterness is medium to medium-high. A caramel malt flavor should be noticeable.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

Chocolate Beer

Chocolate beers are becoming more popular in the U.S. with many craft brewers adding them to their repertoire. This type of beer can be a lager or an ale and can be made with any type of cocoa or chocolate. However, you’re more likely to find chocolate added to beers in the porter and stout families.
Color: Light brown to black

  • ABV: 2.5% – 12%
  • IBU: 15 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low to medium-low, while hop bitterness is medium to medium-high. A caramel malt flavor should be noticeable.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Snifter

Coffee Beer

Coffee plus beer? What’s not to love? While we don’t recommend using coffee beer in place of your morning cup of joe, we do recommend you try one of the many varieties available when you get the chance. This beer is made by steeping beans in water to impart their flavor.

  • Color: Pale to black
  • ABV: 2.5% – 12%
  • IBU: 15 – 45
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma will depend on the underlying style of beer used. Many coffee beers are accented by medium-low to medium malt sweetness.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

Contemporary Gose

Contemporary Gose is straw to medium amber in color and gets its cloudiness from suspended yeast. Aromas can vary, but often include floral, fruity, spice and herbal notes. This is a beer that bites back with refreshing sourness.

  • Color: Straw to light amber
  • ABV: 4.4% – 5.4%
  • IBU: 5 – 15
  • Aroma/Flavor: No hop aroma or flavor with this beer. The malt delivers a grainy finish.
  • Clarity: Cloudy or hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Flute

Dry Stout

This black beer has a dry-roasted character and a coffee-like taste and aroma. By far, the most famous of all dry stouts is the Irish dry stout, Guinness. First brewed in 1979, Guinness is the perfect example of how a dry stout should be – a medium to medium-high hop bitterness with roasted malt aromas.

  • Color: Black
  • ABV: 4.2% – 5.3%
  • IBU: 30 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Medium to medium-high hop bitterness, aroma and flavor with a coffee-like malt flavor.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

English-Style Bitter

The malt-driven style and lower-alcohol content of English-style bitter make it very moreish and drinkable. A great session beer, this bitter is usually cask-conditioned and offers a low malt sweetness.

  • Color: Gold to copper
  • ABV: 3% – 4.2%
  • IBU: 20 – 35
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma may be present depending on the discretion of the brewer. The malt delivers a low to medium residual sweetness.
  • Clarity: Clear to brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

English-Style Brown Ale

A classic in the world of English beers, English-style brown ale is an icon in its own right. Robust, toasty and with a hint of malty chocolate, English brown ale is almost a meal in a glass. The best thing? There are plenty of different variations to keep fans happy for a very long time.

  • Color: Amber to dark brown
  • ABV: 4.5% – 5%
  • IBU: 15 – 25
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma, flavor and bitterness and low. The malt flavors include nuts, caramel, and toffee.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

English-Style Brown Porter

English-style brown porter, unlike its more robust counterparts, delivers a sweeter, softer and more caramel-like flavor.

  • Color: Medium to dark brown
  • ABV: 4.5% – 6%
  • IBU: 20 – 35
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are not perceived to medium. Hop bitterness is also medium. The malt delivers bready, toffee, chocolate, nutty and caramel flavors.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

English-Style Mild

English-style mild can feature caramel, malt, licorice, and roast malt tones as part of its flavor and aroma profile. In the U.S., brewers often make lighter-colored versions in addition to darker variations. These beers are traditionally low in alcohol.

  • Color: Reddish brown to very dark
  • ABV: 3.2% – 4%
  • IBU: 10 – 24
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low to very low. The malt can deliver a wide variety of flavors including chocolate, coffee, licorice, caramel, molasses, and raisin.
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

English-Style IPA

If you’re expecting English-style IPA to be the same as American IPA, you’re in for a surprise. The difference is all down to the English hop character which delivers an earthy and floral aroma and flavor and also an increased alcohol content.

  • Color: Gold to copper
  • ABV: 5% – 7%
  • IBU: 35 – 63
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is medium to high. The malt flavors include caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit and bready.
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

English-Style Oatmeal Stout

The oatmeal in English-style oatmeal stout produces a smooth and rich body and darker malt flavors. Coffee-like flavors and aromas are also present.

  • Color: Dark brown to black
  • ABV: 3.8% – 6%
  • IBU: 20 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma will depend on the brewer’s discretion and are optional. The malt flavors include roasted and coffee-like.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

English-Style Old Ale

The unique selling point of English-style old ale is that the yeast is aged over a very long period, often years. This results in a wine-like and very rich sweet concoction and a mid to high alcohol content.
Color: Copper red to very dark brown

  • ABV: 6.3% – 9.1%
  • IBU: 30 – 65
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma can range from not perceived to medium. The malt delivers a caramel-like sweetness.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Snifter

English-Style Sweet Stout (Milk Stout)

Often called milk or cream stout, English-style sweet stout is black in color. It has a caramel and chocolate flavor profile and a medium bitterness. It gets its name from the milk sugars used to create body. Those with lactose intolerance will need to avoid this one.

  • Color: Black
  • ABV: 3% – 6%
  • IBU: 15 – 25
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are not perceived. Hop bitterness is low to medium-low. Chocolate, caramel and malt sweetness should dominate the flavor profile.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

European Pale Lager

European pale lagers were first brewed in Europe following the success of the German Helles style. They are very similar to the beer they pay homage to and offer a significant hop flavor and bitterness and a solid malt body.

  • Color: Pale to medium brown
  • ABV: 4% – 6%
  • IBU: 18 – 25
  • Aroma/Flavor: Moderate hop bitterness and aroma. Malt flavor is strong and sweet.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55°F
  • Glass: Pilsner

European-Style Export

European-style export, also known as Dortmunder export, has the bitter base of a German-style pilsener and the sweetness and flavor of a German-style helles. Look out for spicy floral hop aromas and toasted malt flavors.

  • Color: Straw to deep golden
  • ABV: 5.1% – 6.1%
  • IBU: 23 – 29
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are low to very low. Hop bitterness is medium. Malt flavors should be on the low sweet side and not caramel-like.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Flute

Foreign Export Stout

This special style of stout can be found throughout the tropical regions of the world. You’ll experience high roasted malt and grain flavors with chocolate, coffee, and a slightly burnt character.

  • Color: Dark brown to black
  • ABV: 5.5% – 8%
  • IBU: 30 – 70
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low while the malt flavor delivers coffee, lightly burnt grain and chocolate notes.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

German Bock

German bock is a type of lager that typically takes extra months of cold storage to smooth out what starts as a strong brew. Incidentally, did you know that the word “lager” is the German word for storage or warehousing? Bock beer is generally stronger than regular larger and has a deep amber hue and robust malty flavor. Oh, and bock means goat in German. You’ll be fluent in no time!

  • Color: Dark to very dark brown
  • ABV: 6.3% – 7.6%
  • IBU: 20 – 30
  • Aroma/Flavor: Medium hop bitterness with a high malt character. The aroma of toasted nuts.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

German-Style Altbier

German-style altbier originates from the Düsseldorf region of Germany and strikes a fine balance between malt and hop flavors and aromas. Some variants can have peppery or floral aromas or fruit esters. The word “alt” translates to “old” in German.

  • Color: Copper to dark brown
  • ABV: 4.6% – 5.6%
  • IBU: 25 – 52
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are low to medium, while hop bitterness is medium to very high. The malt provides a biscuity and light caramel flavor.
  • Clarity: Brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

German-Style Doppelbock

Those who understand a little German will probably know that “doppel” means “double”. This bock style is German bock’s older and stronger brother. It was originally brewed by monks in Munich and has a malty sweetness and full body. It’s very food friendly and goes especially well with cheese and German chocolate cake.

  • Color: Copper to dark brown
  • ABV: 6.6% – 7.9%
  • IBU: 17 – 27
  • Aroma/Flavor: Low hop flavor and bitterness. Aromas are fresh and reminiscent of lightly toasted malt.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

German-Style Dunkel

German-style dunkel is a classic beer from the dark lager family. In fact, the word “dunkel” is German for “dark”. It’s a very popular beer in its home country and is a great accompaniment to grilled meats and ginger cake. Malt flavors include caramel, bread crust, and chocolate.

  • Color: Light brown to dark brown
  • ABV: 4.8% – 5.3%
  • IBU: 16 – 25
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are not perceived and hop bitterness is low. The malt delivers roasted malt, chocolate-like, biscuit-like and bread-like notes.
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Vase

German-Style Dunkelweizen

The German-style dunkelweizen is often considered a cross between a hefeweizen and a German-style dunkel. It’s best known for its chocolate character and sweet maltiness, but some variations can have banana, clove and even bubblegum notes.

  • Color: Straw to amber
  • ABV: 4.8% – 5.4%
  • IBU: 10 – 15
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are not perceived and hop bitterness is low. The malt delivers bready, grainy and chocolate-like notes.
  • Clarity: Slightly hazy to hazy
  • Glass: Vase

German-Style Hefeweizen

The German-style hefeweizen is brewed with at least 50 percent malted wheat and is straw to amber in color. The yeast provides much of the flavor, but you’ll also experience clove phenols and banana esters.

  • Color: Straw to amber
  • ABV: 4.9% – 5.6%
  • IBU: 10 – 15
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are not perceived to very low. The hop bitterness is also very low. Malt sweetness is very low to medium-low.
  • Clarity: Hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Vase

German Maibock

German Maibock, is more “hoppy” and pale in color than other bock beers. It has a bready malt and lightly toasted character. It is also known as “heller bock” meaning pale bock.

  • Color: Pale to light amber
  • ABV: 6.3% – 8.1%
  • IBU: 20 – 38
  • Aroma/Flavor: A medium to low hop aroma and flavor. Bready malt and toasted aroma are also present.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Goblet

German Rauchbier

Rachbier is an old German style of beer that can be traced back to the 1500s. Typically amber to dark in color, this beer is brewed with green malts that have been dried over an open beechwood fire. This process imparts a unique smokiness which gives the beer its name – ‘rauch’ is German for smoke.

  • Color: Amber to dark brown
  • ABV: 4.8% – 6%
  • IBU: 20 – 30
  • Aroma/Flavor: Restrained hop bitterness, flavor and aroma, and a toasty-rick and smoky malt flavor.
  • Clarity: Brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50°F
  • Glass: Nonic Pint

German Roggenbier (Rye Beer)

Rye gives German roggenbier its intense and assertive flavor. It’s been a fairly quiet contender in the American craft beer scene for a while now but is making something of a comeback. Roggenbier translates to ‘rye beer’ and is typically brewed using at least 50 percent malted rye. This ingredient gives it its characteristic spicy and grainy flavor as well as yeast characters of vanilla, citrus, and even bubblegum.

  • Color: Pale straw to deep gold
  • ABV: 4.5% – 6%
  • IBU: 10 – 20
  • Aroma/Flavor: A clean hop character with a pronounced sour-like and spicy rye flavor.
  • Clarity: Brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50°F
  • Glass: Nonic Pint

German-Style Helles

“Helles” means “pale in color” and is a good description of this German beer as the color is often golden. It is a little fuller-bodied and rounder than light lagers and delivers a touch of sweetness. Crisp and clean, this is a refreshing beer with a little spice and light bitterness.

  • Color: Pale to golden
  • ABV: 4.8% – 5.6%
  • IBU: 18 – 25
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is not perceived to low. Hop bitterness is very low to low. Malt notes of toasted malted barley.
  • Clarity: Clear to brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Flute

German-Style Kolsch

The German-style Kolsch is incredibly drinkable. With its light color and malt character, you’ll be glad you chose this beer if you are planning a lengthy drinking session. Ale yeast is used during the fermenting process, although some brewers also use lager yeast in the bottle process.

  • Color: Straw to gold
  • ABV: 4.8% – 5.3%
  • IBU: 18 – 28
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low and hop bitterness medium. Malt adds a very soft and low sweetness.
  • Clarity: Brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Flute

German-Style Marzen

The German-style Marzen offers a clean, crisp, hop bitterness and a biscuit-like malt flavor. You’ll find festival versions being tapped in October for Oktoberfest.

  • Color: Pale to reddish brown
  • ABV: 5.1% – 6%
  • IBU: 18 – 25
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is low to very low. Hop bitterness ranges from medium-low to medium. The malt delivers toast flavors.
  • Clarity: Brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Flute

German-Style Pilsener

The German-style pilsener is quite possibly the most iconic of all the world’s beers. This exquisitely balanced lager might seem like a simple beer, but it is actually one of the hardest for brewers to get right. Light in color, refreshing in taste and crisp in finish, it’s easy to see why German pilseners are loved the world over.

  • Color: Straw to pale
  • ABV: 4.6% – 5.3%
  • IBU: 25 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma is medium to high. Hop bitterness is also medium to high. Malt delivers a sweet and malty aroma.
  • Clarity: Brilliant
  • Serving Temperature: 40 – 45 °F
  • Glass: Flute

German-Style Schwarzbier

Also known as black lagers, German-style schwarzbiers are dark, dry and delicious. They have a mild roasted malt character, but surprisingly, no bitterness. Fans of the German-style dunkel may notice some similarity here.

  • Color: Very dark brown to black
  • ABV: 3.8% – 4.9%
  • IBU: 22 – 30
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are very low to low. Hop bitterness is low to medium. The malt sweetness is low to medium with notes of bitter chocolate or coffee.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Flute

German Weizenbock

Those looking for a richer bock that is full-bodied and low on bitterness might like to try the German Weizenbock. Flavors with this style include dark fruits like raisin, plum and grape, and bready malt. Carbonation is higher with this style.

  • Color: Gold to very dark
  • ABV: 7.0% – 9.5%
  • IBU: 15 – 35
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness is very low. Flavors of nutmeg, caramel, plums, vanilla, raisins, grapes, cocoa, rum, and brandy. Medium sweetness.
  • Clarity: Cloudy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

German Zwickelbier (Kellerbier)

German zwickelbier is a very old and quite rare German beer style that dates back to at least the Middle Ages. The beer is unfiltered and matured in deep vaults while the beer is exposed. The final beer is naturally cloud, smooth and rich in yeast vitamins. Look out for kellerbier which is similar to zwicklebier, but not as pronounced.

  • Color: Amber to dark gold
  • ABV: 4% – 7%
  • IBU: 20 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness, flavor and aroma is high.
  • Clarity: Hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55°F
  • Glass: Mug

Gluten-Free Craft Beer

Is it really possible to make a good gluten-free craft beer? You better believe it is, and with 2 million Americans suffering from celiac disease, there is one hell of a market for it, too! Oats, barley, wheat, and rye are the ingredients commonly favored by gluten-free brewers, and some are starting to experiment with buckwheat and sorghum.

  • Color: Varies
  • ABV: Varies
  • IBU: Varies
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma will vary depending on the brewer. Wheat, malted barley and other gluten-rich grains should not be perceived.
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: Varies
  • Glass: Flute

Herb and Spice Beer

This is an interesting beer that contains flavors derived from seeds, roots, flowers, fruits or vegetables. The hop character is usually low and the aroma will depend on which ingredients have been added. You’ll find some interesting variations available in both lager and ale varieties.

  • Color: Depends on the underlying style
  • ABV: 2.5% – 12%
  • IBU: 5 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma isn’t so important with this style and may be present at low levels. The most important character is that of the herb or spice. Malt varies.
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Honey Beer

Ales and lagers are both great carriers for honey flavors. Generally, the honey character should not dominate, but be evident.

  • Color: Varies
  • ABV: 2.5% – 12%
  • IBU: 1 – 100
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness can range from very low to very high. Malt varies.
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Imperial India Pale Ale

If you are looking for a stronger and more robust version of India pale ale, meet Imperial India pale ale. Imperial IPA is darker, hoppier and more bitter than American IPA and offers many different variations for IPA fans to sample.

  • Color: Gold to light brown
  • ABV: 7.6% – 10.6%
  • IBU: 65 – 100
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness is very high. Hop aroma and flavor is also very high, but should not be too harsh. Malt is medium to high.
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Irish-Style Dry Stout

The roasted barley in Irish-style dry stout delivers a dry-roasted character and coffee-like aromas and flavors. You’ll often find this beer being dispensed via nitrogen gas taps, a method that results in a creamy and smooth body.

  • Color: Black
  • ABV: 3% – 8.5%
  • IBU: 30 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness is medium to medium-high. Hop flavor and aroma range from not perceived to low. The malt delivers light caramel flavors that give way to a coffee-like, dry-roasted bitterness.
  • Clarity: Clear to opaqu
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

Irish-Style Red Beer

If you’re a fan of American craft beer, Irish-style red beer is one you’ll appreciate. Known for its unique malty character and approachable hop bitterness, this is a beer that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

  • Color: Copper red to reddish brown
  • ABV: 4% – 4.8%
  • IBU: 20 – 28
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and bitterness are medium. Hop aroma is not perceived. Malt is low to medium and can deliver a candy-like sweetness.
  • Clarity: Clear to hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

New England IPA

Plenty of hop flavor and aroma here without the bitterness. A popular take on American IPA, New England IPA is bursting with tropical, juicy hop character and can often include wheat and oats in its list of ingredients.

  • Color: Pale amber to golden
  • ABV: 6.3% – 7.5%
  • IBU: 50 – 70
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor are medium-high to high and can often be described as juicy in character. The malt delivers grainy and biscuit notes.
  • Clarity: Hazy
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

Pumpkin Beer

Few things signal the start of fall better than pumpkins and craft beer. You’ll find many pumpkin beers available all year round, but they somehow taste better when the leaves start falling and there is a crispness in the air. Everything seems to be “pumpkin spiced” at this time of year, but if you hunt around, you’ll find plenty of IPAs, amber ales, and stouts that contain all the flavor of pumpkin without the unnecessary pizzazz.

  • Color: Depends on underlying style
  • ABV: 2.3% – 12%
  • IBU: 5 – 70
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness is low to medium-low. Malt sweetness ranges from low to medium-high.
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Tulip

Robust Porter

Robust porter sits somewhere between brown porter and stout when it comes to bitter and roasted malt character. You’ll experience a roast malt flavor much like cocoa with this style and a sharp bitterness courtesy of the black malt.

  • Color: Very dark to black
  • ABV: 5.1% – 6.6%
  • IBU: 25 – 40
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are very low to medium. Hop bitterness ranges from medium to high. The malt delivers bready, toffee, chocolate, coffee, grainy and caramel sweetness.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

Rye Beer

Rye beer can be made using either lager or ale yeast. The addition of rye during the brewing process adds a pumpernickel or spicy character to the finish and flavor.

  • Color: Straw to dark brown
  • ABV: Varies
  • IBU: Varies
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are low to medium-high. Hop bitterness ranges from low to medium. Malt delivers cocoa, chocolate, and aromatic toffee character.
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Vase

Russian Imperial Stout

Russian imperial stout was actually first brewed in England for Russian emperor, Peter the Great. It’s stronger than traditional English stouts and has a rich, full-bodied and complex flavor and aroma with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and dried fruit.

  • Color: Dark brown to black
  • ABV: 8% – 12%
  • IBU: 50 – 90
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop character can range from low aggressive. The malt delivers dry-roasted flavors of coffee and chocolate.
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Snifter

Scotch Ale

If you are looking for a beer with a dominant and rich malt flavor and aroma, Scotch ale is a great choice. Styles can range from caramel to light smoked peat in flavor and are considered similar in style to English-style barley wine.

  • Color: Light reddish brown to very dark
  • ABV: 6.2% – 8%
  • IBU: 25 – 35
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop flavor and aroma are not perceived. Hop bitterness is low. Malt has a caramel-like aroma or flavor.
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Serving Temperature: 50 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Thistle

Session Beer

So, what exactly defines a session beer? Well, the most important consideration is the drinkability factor. Session beers are not defined by aromas or flavors and are lower in alcohol strength than described in style guidelines. For a beer to be defined as a session beer, the ABV should not exceed 5 percent ABV.

  • Color: Varies
  • ABV: 3.5% – 5%
  • IBU: 10 – 35
  • Aroma/Flavor: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: Varies
  • Glass: Varies

Smoke Beer

When you kiln malt over an open flame, an amazing thing happens – the smoked malt infuses with the beer giving it a flavor that can range from delicate wisps of smoke to a roaring campfire. Any style of beer can be smoked.

  • Color: Varies
  • ABV: Varies
  • IBU: Varies
  • Aroma/Flavor: Varies
  • Clarity: Varies
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 55 °F
  • Glass: Nonic pint

Vienna-Style Lager

The color of Vienna-style lager can range from copper to reddish brown. The beer is characterized by slight malt sweetness and malty aroma.

  • Color: Copper to reddish brown
  • ABV: 4.5% – 5.5%
  • IBU: 22 – 28
  • Aroma/Flavor: Hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma are very low to low. Malt aroma should have a toasted character. Malt flavor should be sweet.
  • Clarity: Brilliant to clear
  • Serving Temperature: 45 – 50 °F
  • Glass: Flute

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