Beer Styles: What Makes Beer Different?
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
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!
4 Tips on How to Enjoy Your First Beer Festival
While the beer industry took a hit during the height of the pandemic in 2020, it actually increased in 2021 as things started to make a comeback.
As events start to pop up around you again, you might be interested in going to your first beer festival. Whether you turned 21 in quarantine or you’ve been drinking for years and simply want to try something new, an event like this can be the perfect place to get started. What can you expect, though?
Read on for five of the best tips.
1. Hunt Down the Water
We all know staying hydrated while drinking is important, but there are other reasons it matters at a beer festival.
You only get one cup to sample from, and tastes can get jumbled up if you don’t have a place to rinse your glass. That’s why it’s important to immediately scan for water stations when you enter the event.
2. Try New Things
Don’t be afraid to try new things.
You might not like lagers in your day-to-day, but you shouldn’t assume you simply dislike them all. You might end up enjoying the second one you try, or even the tenth you try five beer festivals from now. The point is to branch out.
It’s easy to stick with what you’re comfortable with, but it’s beneficial (and even fun) to get out of your comfort zone at times. You have nothing to lose at a beer festival, so it’s the perfect place to do it.
3. It’s OK to Pour it Out
If you don’t end up enjoying a brew, though, don’t be afraid to pour it out. It might sound like blasphemy, but it isn’t going to make a difference.
You can also offer it to your friends if you don’t enjoy the taste, but it’s OK to dump one or two if nobody ends up biting.
4. Scan the Scenery
It’s easy to linger at the first few booths the entire time, but you’ll end up missing out on a lot of different tasting opportunities. To play things safe, grab a beer at the beginning and then take a stroll to check out the rest of the booths.
This will help you eye out some of the options you’d like to try, and it’ll help you end the potential FOMO you might’ve been feeling over missing beers.
Ready for Your First Beer Festival?
Your first beer festival is an exciting thing — especially if you live in an area with a big craft beer scene. It’s the perfect place to try new things and learn more about the beer scene around you. It can feel nerve-wracking if you’re going with people who avidly attend events — they know all the lingo and can talk about distinct flavors for hours, so why would you belong?
That doesn’t matter, though. What matters is having fun and enjoying yourself. Take a look at our events calendar to find the next beer festival to check out.