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pale ales
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Choose Your Beer
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Choose Your Beer

Ever walk in to the beer section of your local supermarket and feel overwhelmed? You're not alone. Herein lies a path to helping your understanding of beer. Beer. It can be overwhelming. Bocks, Dopplebocks, Stouts, Pale Ales, India Pale Ales, Hefeweizens, Blonds, Browns, Ambers, Reds, Porters. Oy! You can get a headache just trying to wrap your head around all of the different types of beer this wonderful world has to offer. And let's not forget the headache you can get from all the beers this wonderful world has to offer.

Truth is, figuring out the beer riddle is not as hard as you might think. In fact, it's quite simple.

Lagers and Ales

When it comes down to it, there are really only two types of beers; Lagers and Ales. Now, within these two categories is a rich and wonderful world of varieties, tastes, complexities that can range from light, sweet, refreshing and crisp to dark, bitter and robust.

Ales tend to be somewhat stronger in complexity and alcohol content. Lagers, on the other hand, while they can certainly get very complex, generally tend to be lighter and more refreshing with a cleaner, crisper taste.

Most of the mass produced domestic beers in the United States such as Budweiser, Coors and Miller fall under the Lager category. These are very easy drinking beers that are refreshing and mild on the palette.

Ten Classic Beer Styles to Try Before You Die Homebrewers should visit Gentile's, The Wine Sellers Beer Tour of Portland, Oregon Explosion of "Craft" Breweries In recent years there has been an absolute explosion of smaller, independent breweries across the United States. It's no coincidence that this massive outcropping of smaller breweries, catering to beer drinkers who enjoy their pints with a little more complexity and depth, has corresponded almost hand in hand with the boom in specialty coffee shops.

Ale Houses Everywhere Recently, chain restaurants have started to cater to the micro brew community, with some restaurants offering over 100 beers on tap. Check your local restaurant listings for "Ale Houses". You might be surprised how many are within your area!

While it would be nearly impossible to explain the full range of flavors that can be found in the world of beers, there are definitely certain styles of beer under the categories of Lagers and Ales. The following list will provide an overview of each category and the styles that exist within those categories.

As you go down each list, the style of beer will become more complex, but not necessarily darker. A beer's color is not generally an indicator of its complexity. A Brown Ale, for instance, is dark in color but nowhere near as complex or strong at an Imperial Russian Stout, which is also dark.


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