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Learn about Beer Styles

What establishes a beer style? Centuries of accumulated wisdom and trial and error, in most cases. Ever since early settled Homo Sapiens discovered that damp grains started to ferment under the right circumstances, the production of beer has been refined and formalized into styles. For many craft brewers, writers, and the industry in general, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to the late, great student of beer, Michael Jackson, the famous English beer writer and broadcaster, for lucidly illustrating all of the world’s classic beer styles in their cultural context. The World Guide to Beers, first published in 1979, inspired a generation of new breweries and beer importers.

Below are about 60 conventionally accepted and classic styles. It should give you a grasp of the essential character of virtually any beer style, barring re-created examples of ancient Sumerian sour bread beer or any other such oddities.

Click on the links to see descriptions of each style:

Belgian & Continental
Style Ales
British & North
American Style Ales
Abbey Dubbel
Abbey Single
Abbey Tripel
Belgian Style Amber Ale
Belgian Style Blonde Ale
Belgian Style Golden Ale
Belgian Style Red Ale
Belgian Style Strong Ale
Biere de Garde
Flemish Style Brown Ale
Amber Ale
American Ale
Barley Wine
Black & Tan
Cream Ale
English Style Brown Ale
India Pale Ale
Irish Style Ale
Mild Ale
Pale Ale
Winter Ale
Scottish Style Ale
Strong Ale
Amber Lager
Black Beer
Dark Lager
Dry Beer
Ice Beer
"Light" & Reduced Calorie Lager
Malt Liquor
Munich Helles
Non Alcoholic Lager
Pale Lager
Vienna Märzen
Stouts & Porters Wheat Beers Specialty Beers &
Hard Ciders
Dry Stout
Flavored Porter
Flavored Stout
Imperial Stout
Oatmeal Stout
Sweet Stout
Flavored Wheat Beer
Weizen Bock
Weizen Dunkel
Weizen Hefe
Weizen Kristall
Wheat Ale
White Beer
Draft Cider
Fruit Beer
Herb Spice Beer
Lambic Faro
Lambic Fruit
Lambic Gueuze

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