If you’re new to craft beer or simply want to know more about what you like, here are the most popular types of craft beer today (excerpt from and thanks to Upstreambrewing.com):
American Pale Ale
American pale ale is one of the most popular types of beer. It’s also the craft beer style more responsible than any other for popularizing the craft brewing scene. American pale ale’s distinctive flavor of hops differentiates it from many European craft beers. It’s more closely aligned with British ales. And its strong taste pairs well with sweeter and fruitier flavors, such as caramel and grapefruit.
If you’ve seen “IPA” thrown around in your local craft beer bar, it stands for India Pale Ale, which are the most popular American craft beers.
Kolsch & Blonde
Kolsch and blonde are craft beer styles originally from southwest Germany. These are produced by taking Pils or pale malt, hops and yeast to create a crisp, clean taste.
They’re matured in relatively cool brewing conditions over several weeks to produce a clear drink. The result is an honorary lager featuring a subtle ale yeast fruitiness. For those new to craft beer, Kolsch and blonde are great options because they’re light and easy to drink. They’re also the perfect craft beer styles to sip on a sunny summer day.
Belgium Pale Ale
Belgium is famous for its many styles of beer, with many popular craft beers originating in the small European country.
Belgium pale ale is a good example. Brewed from pilsner or some pale malts, the profile of the beer is fruity and mildly spicy. The taste of Belgian ale yeast only adds to the unique flavor. Like Kolsch and blonde varieties, Belgium pale ale is also easy to drink. The addition of Saaz, Styrian or English hops often offers subtle floral, herbal or spicy undertones.
Saison & Farmhouse
Saison and the closely related Farmhouse ales also originated in Belgium. These beers were first believed to be drunk in the 19th century. In recent years, as sustainability and ecological factors grew more important to craft beer drinkers, these ales became more popular. Today, consumers who seek greater authenticity and production proximity in their craft beers turn to options like Saison and Farmhouse ales.
The best description of Saison and Farmhouse ales is they’re rustic and refined at the same time. They offer an expressive yeast character and moderate hopping, with a dry-yet-quenching finish.
Hefeweizen is a popular craft beer offering from Germany. With its distinct wheat flavor, this craft beer style shares a lot of similarities with American wheat ale, another popular flavor. Oddly, the German version is often said to have bubble-gum or banana undertones. But while German Hefeweizen and American Wheat Ale share a gentle lightly bready flavor due to their focus on wheat, that’s where the similarities stop.
The main differences between these two craft beers are how yeast and hops are used in their manufacture.
Porter & Stouts
If you sample both porter and stout craft beers, you’ll find the two are very similar. Porters were introduced to Britain in the late 1700s and the influence of the British Empire during the 19th century increased their impact.
Stronger porters were known as stout porters and were soon shortened to stouts. Today, they both boom in the world of craft beer. Many love the strong and distinct taste they offer.
Brown ales also originated during the 19th century, although modern brown ales taste a lot different from how they once did. Many experts argue brown ales are a 20th-century development because the difference in taste between the centuries is so strong. They bear little resemblance to the historical variations.
Flavors differ between countries too. Modern English brown ales taste quite mild in comparison to American brown ale. They also have caramel-focused malt undertones and lack the roasted style American browns feature.
Amber (Red) Ale
Amber, or “red” ale as it’s also known, is smooth and easy to drink. Developed early in American craft brewing, it’s designed to provide a balanced and easy-to-drink option for those new to craft beer. Amber ale originally gained popularity along the West Coast. With time, it became a staple in breweries across the country.
And if you’re want to brew craft beer, it’s reasonably easy to make. Depending on tastes and location, it can be either mild or strong. The red IPAs tend to be the strongest in hoppy flavors.