Americans love beer and the most commonly consumed beers in the US are “American-style” lagers – but there are an array of beer choices for every gathering, meal and atmosphere. The “style” of a beer will tell you what you can expect in the color, flavor and intensity of your selection. Here are brief descriptions of beer styles currently available at Wines and More!

Ale – This term denotes a broad category of beer, rather than a style, as ales can be found from light to dark in color and the taste can be bitter or sweet, depending on the variety. They are fermented and served at a higher temperature which generally results in a more intense flavor profile that features flavors derived from yeast. Ales feature a wide range of spicy/fruity flavors depending on the variety. Popular ales include India Pale Ale, Lambics and Porters.

Lager – This is a broad category also includes beers that range from light to dark color and bitter to sweet flavor. These beers are fermented and served at a lower temperature than ales resulting in a clean-tasting beer with notable flavors of grain and hops. Popular lagers include pilsners, bocks and dunkels.

Trappist – These beers are made with three times the malt used to make a simple ale. This golden yellow beer, with a fluffy head has a complex taste and light body. The alcohol content ranges from 8%-12% alcohol by volume.

Wheat – These beers are made with a high proportion of wheat. They have a delicate sweetness that can be enhanced by the addition of citrus peel or spices. This beer is a lighter variety and is a welcome treat on a hot day. These beers can be identified by “wit”, “witbier”, “witte” or “hefeweizen” in their name.

Bock – This strong, malty style of beer is traditionally enjoyed in the colder months of the year and has a higher alcohol content – at least 6% by volume. Even stronger varieties of bock include Doppelbocks (double Bocks) with a minimum of 7% alcohol content and Eisbocks with a minimum of 8%.

Stout – This, typically, dark beer is made using roasted malt or barley, hopes water and yeast. Stouts are typically dark beers, such as Guiness – but they can also be found in blonde varieties. While considered to be strong beers, the alcohol content of stouts can range from under 4% to 11% alcohol by volume.

Trappist – Authentic Trappist beer is brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery under the responsibility and control of monks. There are seven Trappist breweries, six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. The monks produce strong ales with a re-fermentation in the bottle. Some varieties have a rummy flavor which comes from the use of candy-sugar in the brew-kettle.

Pilsner – This is the most commonly consumed style of beer world-wide. Also referred to as “pils”, pilsner is a very blond, clear and moderately effervescent lager. This beer is often strongly hopped with an assertive up-front bitterness bite.