So many types of beers... so confusing... our very quick guide!!!

Ale, India Pale Ale, Lager, Pilsner… the list goes on. But what the hell are they and what differences are there between them??!!

Here’s our simple guide:

1) Ale

Simple - beer made from malted barley and they come in a variety of styles - pale, brown, cream, etc. Varieties of ales come about through the degree and type of malt (red ales, etc) and also from the addition of hops (India Pale Ale).

2) Lager

Lighter in flavour and colour than ales and tend to be more carbonated and effervescent. The main difference in production method is the fact that they are bottom fermenting as opposed to top fermenting (applicable to ales). ie yeasts used in ales tend to rise to the top of the brewing vessel to do their thing and lagers’ yeasts do the opposite.

3) Stout

Dark and rich. They come about by roasting unmalted barley. Stout tends to be stronger than Porter - see below.

4) Porter

Again dark but comes about by unroasted malted barley. A little less alcohol generally than stout.

5) Pilsner

These are just a type of lager (bottom fermenters - remember)! They originate in Czech republic and can have a spicy note from the hops.

6) Weissbier

This is translated as “white beer” and is very popular in Germany and are renowned for their sweetness. Made with malted wheat rather than malted barley and are cloudy in nature.

7) Lambic

These are beers fermented by exposure to wild yeasts. These wild yeasts give the beers their distinctive flavours: dry, vinous and cider with a sour after taste.

Richard Finney