Beer for dummies

by Caitlin Hart

I used to think there was just beer, no subcategories just the beer you see in commercials. Beer was simple and either you liked it or you didn’t.  Then I discovered the wonderful world of craft beer. There are not one, but many types of beer. (Shocking, right?!) Allow me to elaborate.

Lager: This is your starter beer. Mild in flavour and typically low in alcohol content this is what most people think of when they think beer. This beer is ideal accompaniment for sitting on a patio in the middle of summer.

Beer for dummies (2)
Cheers to giving beer its credit

Ales: This encompasses a wide variety of beers from wheat to Belgian. There are ales to go with every mood from sweet to face-puckeringly bitter. What are the main types of ales? Well I’ll tell you…

  • Stout: Dark in colour and rich in flavour this is a good hearty beer that’s ideal for colder weather. Stouts can come in a variety of flavours from peppermint to coffee. For those who like more kick to their beer, try an imperial stout. What makes a stout imperial? Higher alcohol content, typically over six percent.
  • India Pale Ale (IPA): Like grapefruit? This is the beer for you. IPAs are for those who like things bitter. Tastes can range from grapefruit to pine. For a twist you can also have an imperial IPA or a black IPA which has both bitter and malty characteristics. For some real fun you can have a black imperial IPA, but be warned this flavour is the kind that punches you in the face.
  • Wheat Beer: This golden beer is perfect for those who don’t like their beer bitter or too heavy. Wheat beers often have toasty qualities and are a very easy drinking beer. Wheat beers have a fuller flavour than a lager, but still make for an excellent summer beer.
  • Belgian Ales: These are for the beer connoisseur. Belgian ales are typically quite high in alcohol content often starting around six percent and going up to 12. Belgian beers have a lot of complexity in flavour and are therefore better to sip and enjoy over time. These beers are not for chugging.  
  • Sour Ales: Beer that is as refreshing as lemonade and often very low alcohol content. My personal favourite style of sour beer is a Berliner Weisse. This beer hits the spot whether it’s a hot July day or a chilly one at Oktoberfest.