42% of American drinkers favor beer over other types of alcohol, and the more you know about beer, the less surprising that is. There are styles of beer to suit a variety of tastebuds, and learning about beer styles can help you decide which one is for you.

If you’re looking to find the beer types that might be right up your street or you’re just interested in learning more about your favorite beverage, let’s take a look at the various styles and the brewing methods of each.

The Broad Categories: Ale and Lager

While there are over 100 styles of beer, there are two broad categories that generally encompass them all: ale and lager.

The difference is in the fermentation process. Ales use top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures (between 60 and 70 Fahrenheit), and lagers use bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures (between 35 and 50). 

Although they both use yeast, ales tend to have a higher alcohol content because the yeast thrives in warmer temperatures. 

Lagers tend to taste crisp and light, whereas ales are more likely to be fruity and often bitter.

Ale: Breaking It Down Further

There are more ales than lagers, with the different beer types under this category including:

  • Brown ales
  • Old ales
  • Pale ales
  • Scotch ales
  • Stout

IPAs have seen a huge surge in popularity recently, but your personal preference will very much depend on your tastes and how much alcohol you want in your drink. If you want to get a buzz on quicker, ale, in general, is much better than lager — but it’s also heavier and most people just getting started with beer will find lagers easier to swallow.

The Different Types of Lager

Lager has much fewer options, with around 25 different types available including:

  • Pale lager
  • Dark lager
  • Vienna lager

Of course, there are many sub-types under each. Coors Light, Budweiser, Corona, and Michelob Ultra are all very popular lagers that are easy to find around the US and for casual at-home drinking, tend to be the most popular choice.

How to Find Your Beer

With all the different types of beer, it could be a daunting task to try and find the right one for you. Those who want to be more adventurous and try out some different flavors are likely going to gravitate towards ales, which have more types and more varieties.

This is despite the popularity of lager, which is mostly due to people sticking to what they know.

Try Different Beer Styles to Find Something New

If you’re a beer fanatic or just looking to explore the different beer styles, the best thing you can do is get out there and try things. Breweries are great places to go because it’s easy to taste a variety and you can learn more about the actual process of making them amongst like-minded people.

If you live in North Carolina or are taking a trip through the state, visit our brewery and pub. At Fortnight Brewing, we brew many styles of beer, old favorites alongside new and experimental styles. There’s bound to be something for you!