Varieties of Beer

Kriek, a variety of beer brewed with cherries. While there are many types of beer brewed, the basics of brewing beer are shared across national and cultural boundaries. The traditional European brewing regions—Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Austria—have local varieties of beer. In some countries, notably the USA, Canada, and Australia, brewers have adapted European styles to such an extent that they have effectively created their own indigenous types.

Michael Jackson, in his 1977 book The World Guide To Beer, categorised beers from around the world in local style groups suggested by local customs and names. Fred Eckhardt furthered Jackson's work in The Essentials of Beer Style in 1989.

Lambic Lambic, a beer of Belgium, is naturally fermented using wild yeasts, rather than cultivated. Many of these are not strains of brewer's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and may have significant differences in aroma and sourness. Yeast varieties such as Brettanomyces bruxellensis and Brettanomyces lambicus are common in lambics. In addition, other organisms such as Lactobacillus bacteria produce acids which contribute to the sourness.

Stout Stout and porter are dark beers made using roasted malts or roast barley, and typically brewed with slow fermenting yeast. There are a number of variations including Baltic porter, dry stout, and Imperial stout. The name Porter was first used in 1721 to describe a dark brown beer popular with the street and river porters of London.This same beer later also became known as stout, though the word stout had been used as early as 1677. The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined.

Wheat Wheat beer is brewed with a large proportion of wheat although it often also contains a significant proportion of malted barley. Wheat beers are usually top-fermented (in Germany they have to be by law). The flavour of wheat beers varies considerably, depending upon the specific style.


Cask ale hand pumps with pump clips detailing the beers and their breweriesAles are normally brewed using a warm fermentation, and a strain of brewers' yeast (most commonly Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that clumps and rises to the surface; because of this they are often referred to as "top cropping" or "top fermenting"—though this distinction is less clear in modern brewing with the use of cylindro-conical tanks, where the behaviour of lager and ale yeast are quite similar. The important distinction for ales is that they are fermented at higher temperatures and thus ferment more quickly than lagers.

Ale is typically fermented at temperatures between 15 and 24°C (60 and 75°F). At these temperatures, yeast produces significant amounts of esters and other secondary flavour and aroma products, and the result is often a beer with slightly "fruity" compounds resembling apple, pear, pineapple, banana, plum, or prune, among others.

Before the introduction of hops into England from the Netherlands in the 15th century, the name "ale" was exclusively applied to unhopped fermented beverages, the term beer being gradually introduced to describe a brew with an infusion of hops. This distinction no longer applies. The word ale may come from the Old English ealu, in turn from the Proto-Indo-European base *alut-, which holds connotations of "sorcery, magic, possession, intoxication".

Real ale is the term coined by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in 1973 for "beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide". It is applied to bottle conditioned and cask conditioned beers.


Lager is the English name for cool fermenting beers of Central European origin. Pale lagers are the most commonly consumed beers in the world. The name "lager" comes from the German "lagern" for "to store", as brewers around Bavaria stored beer in cool cellars and caves during the warm summer months. These brewers noticed that the beers continued to ferment, and to also clear of sediment, when stored in cool conditions.[89]

Lager yeast is a cool bottom-fermenting yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus) and typically undergoes primary fermentation at 7–12 °C (45–54 °F) (the fermentation phase), and then is given a long secondary fermentation at 0–4 °C (32–39 °F) (the lagering phase). During the secondary stage, the lager clears and mellows. The cooler conditions also inhibit the natural production of esters and other byproducts, resulting in a "cleaner"-tasting beer.

Modern methods of producing lager were pioneered by Gabriel Sedlmayr the Younger, who perfected dark brown lagers at the Spaten Brewery in Bavaria, and Anton Dreher, who began brewing a lager (now known as Vienna lager), probably of amber-red colour, in Vienna in 1840–1841. With improved modern yeast strains, most lager breweries use only short periods of cold storage, typically 1–3 weeks.