Every beer you’ve ever had was either a lager or ale. That’s right, Pilsners and Bocks are part of the lager family, and your favorite stout is technically an ale. With dozens of subcategories, these two styles encompass the entire world of beer and we’re here to tell you what makes them different so next time you want to order that fancy beer with the long German name, you might know what to expect.
Originating in Germany, traditional lagers are fermented and matured in cold temperatures. They are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast, giving them a light or golden yellow color and a crisp, smooth finish.
· Pilsner: a crisp and bitter beer with a light or pale color (Stella Artois, Beck’s, Pilsner Urquell)
· Bock: amber in color with a malty flavor often with caramel or fruity notes (Shiner Bock, Michelob Amber Bock)
Ales are typically brewed at warmer temperatures with top-fermenting yeast. Ales can have colors ranging from pale, to reddish-brown to dark brown. Most have hearty, robust or fruity flavors. However some can be more bitter and hoppy or malty.
· New Castle
· Blue Moon
· India Pale Ale: an extra hoppy flavor with a robust and bitter flavor (Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, Harpoon)
· Stout: an exceptionally dark and heavy appearance, often brewed with roasted barley, chocolate and oatmeal (Guinness)