Outdoor parties call for cold brews! When it comes to beer, the flavor possibilities are endless — but there’s something for nearly everyone. To get you started, here’s an overview of some of the most popular styles of beer, plus serving tips to bring out the best in each one.
Lager: All beers fall into two categories, depending on the yeast used: ales and lagers. Lagers can be pale, full and rich, or dark. Some styles you’ll see often are American (crisp and light), European (fuller with more hops) and German (bitter and dry).
Pilsner: These popular brews are a particular style of lager — bitter, dry and pale, often with a malt taste. Some have a slight effervescence, too.
Pale Ale: Amber in color, pale ales are known for their bitter hops and strong flavors. American pale ales have citrusy notes, while India pale ales are drier and hoppier — and higher in alcohol — than other versions.
Belgian Ale: These sweet, yeasty beers tend to be complex and unique, not easy to generalize. One notable type is the rustic Saison, a strong farmhouse brew.
Brown/Amber Ale: True to the name, amber ales are distinguished by their red hue. Brown ales have a nutty, malty, slightly sweet flavor.
Porter: These dark-colored brews have malt characters and roasted flavors of coffee and nuts.
Stout: Creamy, dry and bitter, stouts are low in alcohol with coffee-like flavors. Imperial stouts are particularly robust, with higher alcohol levels and intense, dark, bitter flavor.
Wheat Beer: Germany is famous for its wheat beers, including the popular Hefeweizen, a sweet-tart, full-bodied beer with a subtly spicy note. American and Belgian wheat beers are also common; the former are golden-hued and straightforward, while the latter are fruity, refreshing and a little spicy.
Pour beers from a bottle or can into a glass to bring out the aroma, flavor and effervescence of each variety. From light, aromatic pilsners to hoppy ales and rich stouts, the shape of a glass can help you appreciate your favorite kind of beer.
from left to right:
American Pint Glass: There’s a reason these glasses are a bartender’s standard: They’re a good fit for just about any beer, from lagers to IPAs.
Wheat Beer Glass: Tall and slender, these glasses are designed to showcase a wheat beer’s amber color and allow a foamy head to develop.
Beer Mug: Usually used for American, English and German lagers, a generously-sized beer mug has a handle that lets you hold it without warming the beer.
Stemmed Pilsner Glass: This elegant glass helps retain the effervescence and captures the aromas of light lagers such as Pilsner-style beers.
Imperial Pint Glass: Originally designed for English pubs, the ridged design provides a secure grip and leaves just enough room for dark ales’ distinctive, creamy foam.