Beers are either ales or lagers, depending on the type of yeast used in fermentation. Lagers are produced with yeast that ferments at the bottom of the beer mixture. The yeast used to produce ales ferments at the top of the mixture. There are also spontaneously fermenting yeasts, which make wild or sour ales. Beers are further differentiated by flavor, color, and aroma.
There seems to be an endless variety of beer. Listed here are just a few of the most common you might encounter.
American lager is light in flavor, color, and alcohol content, and is often produced in large quantities.
The bock is a malty, sweet beer with a toasty flavor and a dark copper color.
Doppelbocks are stronger than the traditional style and boast a higher alcohol content and a fuller body.
American brown ale is a dark beer without the bitterness of porters and stouts. This style boasts a dark caramel color and a medium to full-bodied profile.
American amber ale is a malty, medium-bodied beer with a caramel flavor and amber color.
Blonde ales balance the flavors of malt and hops nicely, and they often have a fruity aroma.
English bitters are named for the bitter flavor that the hops present. They have fruity flavors and lower alcohol content.
Also known as "extra special bitters," English pale ales have a strong hop flavor that is balanced by sweet malt.
American IPAs have more hops, big herbal or citrus flavors, and high bitterness compared to pale ale.
American imperial porters are dark in color, but lacking in burnt malt taste. They also boast a malty sweetness that goes well with chocolate and coffee.
English brown porter is a dark beer that's similar to the American style, but usually with a lower alcohol content and less malt sweetness.