What Are the Main Types of Beer?

We’ve probably all seen words like lager or stout written next to a name of a beer on a bar’s menu. Let alone the fact that some of those names might be utterly impossible to read or pronounce because a lot of the beers are international, if these main variations of beer don’t mean much to you, you’re in big trouble – you don’t know what you’re ordering. And even if you do know the basics, wouldn’t it be cool to surprise your friends by pulling out some advice when they want something new but don’t quite know what to get? Here’s what you need to know about the main types of beer out there to be an educated bar visitor.


Let’s start which is most common, most diverse and truly loved everywhere in the world. In terms of beers, those would be ales. This very generic term includes many variations, but all of them are characterize by the warm temperature in which it is fermented. To make sure the process is short, the brewers include a specific type of yeast, which ferments on the top of the brew. This method dates back to antiquity and is the most accessible one for all small breweries. The four main types of ale include:

  • Blonde ale – refreshing, includes slight hits of malt sweetness, pale in colour.
  • Brown ale – more substantial notes of chocolate and citrus, rich flavours and darker colours.
  • Pale ale – English-made ale that is fruity yet strong enough to go with spicy foods, famous for its colour that resembles copper.
  • India Pale Ale – probably the most popular ale, widely known as IPA, bitter in taste, hints of raisin and pine.


It also technically belongs to the category of ales based on brewing methods but has made a name for itself. Stout is a pretty serious beer that is usually rich in notes of coffee. The distinct flavour is the result of a sort of spice up of its wort – roasted and unmalted barley is added into it. Creamy on the top of a beer glass, they are a delicious go-to for many bar-goers. A great example is the famous Ireland’s Guinness.


Just like stout, porter is a type of ale with its own thing going on. Porters tend to be a lot sweeter and fruity in taste. They also have a distinct aroma that offers pleasant roasted malt smell. Porters are some of the darkest beers out there, almost black in colour because they are well-hopped and are made out of brown malt. Interestingly though, there is no thick line between a stout and a porter, and it is quite easy to mistake one to the other if you don’t quite know what you’re drinking. A porter vs stout tasting could be a cool idea for a night out!


It’s loved by those who are into a light drink when they go out with their friends. Hazy and smooth, wheat beers are the perfect drink on a hot summer night. They oftentimes have an aftertaste of spices, exhibit notes of citrus and are usually drank unfiltered.