“Beer” is the casual term used to describe a cold refreshing alcoholic beverage made of malt and hops. However, for those with more than a passing interest in the drink, a single word is far from sufficient to describe it.

When it comes to types of beer, there are many, many options to choose from. The amount of differing characteristics that can be found is surprising, with most people having a favorite type even if they are not aware of it. You’d be surprised at how a pilsner can differ from a porter, or how a stout stands out from a cider.

The method of brewing tends to be somewhat similar for most commercially produced beers. However, the names given to different styles of beer generally reflect individual characteristics of the product, such as where it originated. Taste, appearance and aroma are just some of the qualities that make different beers unique.

Some common favorites include these:

Lager: Some of the world’s most popular beer brands are lagers. These include American styles including basic lager, all-malt lager, light lager, double pilsner, malt liquor and low-alcohol or “light” beers. Popular international choices include Czech, European, Japanese and German lagers.

Ale: This includes brown ale, American amber, porter and wild ales. Also falling under the category of “Ales” are Chile Beer, Pumpkin Ale, Belgian and French ales, English, German, Irish, Finnish, Scottish and Russian ales.

Cider: While not an official beer, cider is still enjoyed by many beer drinkers. Favorites include standard cider, New England cider and many specialty ciders.

Hybrids: This term refers to experimental brewing methods and ingredients. Sub-categories include smoked, spiced, fruit and vegetable beer.

Those are the essentials that every serious beer drinker should have already ticked off their beer list. Remember that variety is the spice of the life; you’re severely limiting yourself by always being loyal to one brand. Next time you’re in a beer drinking mood, try something different!.

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