Beer Styles and Types 101

Sometimes, a beer menu can seem intimidating with all of its options. Choosing the right among many beer types can be complex and confusing if you don’t know the differences between lager vs. ale, IPA vs. pale ale, or even IPA vs. lager.   

Do these differences give you a headache, and all you want to do is drink good beer? If that’s the case, we’re here to help you. We’ll teach you how to read the beer menu like a pro. After reading this beer differences guide, you’ll be the one your friends ask for advice regarding choosing among various beer types.   

Different Types of Beer  

You’ve probably come across a lot of beer types when going through a beer menu, and you probably didn’t know what most of them are. The days when you only had one option, without any other types, are long gone. There are many types of beer with their sub-categories and complex notes.   

Different types of beer can be either an ale or a lager, depending on the fermentation process of the beer and the yeast used.   

The fermenting process of an ale beer is done at warmer temperatures, and yeast gets settled at the top of the bear. And with a lager beer, the fermentation process is done at cooler temperatures, and the yeast settles at the bottom of the beer.   

Ale types of beer are IPA, pale ale, porters, stouts, wheat, and Belgian beer style. After a lager or ale has been produced, they can have many different beer types due to their flavors. Some styles you may know, while others you probably don’t. And lager types of beer are Pilsner, German Helles, and dark American lagers.   

And what to choose; lager vs. ale, IPA vs. pale ale, or IPA vs. Lager? Don’t worry; we’re about to make your life way easier.

Most common types of beer:   

  • Lager  
  • Pilsner  
  • IPA   
  • Pale ale   
  • Stout beer   
  • Porter   
  • Wheat beer   
  • Sour beer  
  • Belgian beer  


Even if you don’t know what a lager is by definition, you’ll probably have it more than once in your life. Lager is a classic beer that’s light in taste and has a typical malty smell. If you like a classic that’s not too fancy, doesn’t have a complex flavor, and can go great with anything, you should choose a lager. And if by any chance you never had a beer before, it is also a good starting point.   


There’s a possibility that you’ll come across something that’s called a Pilsner. It’s one of the beer types that’s actually a lager, and it’s originally from the Czech Republic. Today a popular option of a pilsner is a German one. The Czech one is a bit more bitter and darker, while the German one has a crisp flavor and warmer tones. So, if you are thinking about lager vs. ale, and you don’t want to experiment, then a pilsner is a good choice.   


IPA stands for India Pale Ale, and it’s one of the ale beer types. However, there isn’t just one IPA beer available in the market; numerous ones can be different in flavor. The main characteristic of all IPA beers is the fruity and citrusy flavors. The intensity of the flavors varies, and they can be milder, bitter, spicy, or completely citrusy.   

The most common IPA styles are British IPA, New England Style IPA, and West Coast IPA. The British one is slightly bitter, while the New England one is milder and fruitier. West Coast IPA is the best option if you want a well-balanced beer because it’s not too bitter, not too citrusy, and not too light.   

But to know which one you’ll like the most, you’ll have to try every IPA-style beer and see it for yourself. At least now you can see the beer differences in an IPA vs. lager comparison.  

Pale ale   

And what about IPA vs. pale ale? What is the difference between these two styles? Pale ales are excellent for those seeking a beer with lower alcohol content. Often IPAs can carry a high alcohol content, but pale ales don’t. If you are looking for something easy to drink, perfect for when you go out, this medium-bodied beer style is for you. You can choose from English pale ale, American pale ale, American amber ale, and blonde ale.   

Stout beer  

Light beer is a standard, but what about dark beers? Have you ever tried one or seen one on a beer menu? If you haven’t, then you should try a stout beer. Stout beer is a dark beer with a slightly sweet flavor and low bitterness. This beer originated from Ireland and England, and you’ve probably heard about the world’s most famous stout beer. If Guinness came to your mind, you are right. The world-famous Guinness beer is stout.   

There aren’t many beers like stout beer, with its unique characteristics. This beer is, in fact, an ale beer that has a sweet flavor and creamy texture. You’ll get hints of a decadent dessert when drinking a stout beer or cup of intense espresso with cream.  

American stout beers are a bit different from the original ones, and they are a bit more bitter and have a highly roasted flavor. If you like strong beers with high malty aromas, you should try an American stout beer.   


Another dark beer is a porter, and its origins are also from the UK. But there are beer differences between the two types. A porter has an intense aroma of chocolate and a bit of roasted coffee. It’s creamy, sweet, and delicious, and you have to try it.  

Wheat beer 

Wheat beers are popular in Europe and are perfect for when you want to chill in the sun and hang out outside with your friends. The name says the main ingredient in these beers is wheat, which provides a light color and exciting texture. Depending on the style of a wheat beer, it can be extremely light and even resemble bread in flavor, or it can have a tangy and unique aroma.  

Sour beer  

Have you ever seen a sour beer on a beer menu? And how did you feel about it? If you didn’t like it first, we recommend you think twice. Sour beers are one of the most exciting types, and you should try one at least once. Yes, they are tart but so flavorful. They are fruity and can have various flavors. Some of the best sour beers have cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and peach flavors. There are also many more options, and if you want to try a unique beer, try a sour one. You’ll be able to find Belgian-styled ones, Flander ale, or Berliner Weisse as sour beers.  

Belgian beer 

And what about Belgian beer? Europe is known for its beer culture, and Belgium too. And one of the best beers in the world does come from this European country. You can come across Belgian-style pale ales, dark ales, fruity beers, and sour. The beers are unique, spicy, and with sweet and fruity aromas. Belgian-style beers are not bitter and have high alcohol content. 

The Best Beer Selection in Town 

Now that you know what’s available and how to distinguish the main differences, we believe that you finally have a clear picture of which beer you’d like to try next. And if you are guessing where to go, don’t hesitate and visit Public Square. Call to reserve your table and enjoy our prestigious beer selection.

Comprehensive Guide to IPA’s

In today’s day and age, IPA beers have it like that. You either love them, or you hate them! Most haters have this opinion only because they never gave this type of beer a chance it deserves. And they should.

People disregard new sorts of beers without researching anything about them. So, how can you not like it when you can’t answer the question of what is an IPA? We are here to change that.

Hopefully, with a little bit of beer education, even the most stubborn beer drinkers will let a little hop come into their lives. 

So, keep reading and learn about the IPA meaning and what so many people enjoy about this drink. We’ll show you different IPA drinks and explain the difference in their flavors. Maybe one of them will be your new favorite beer in the future.

What Is an IPA? 

Besides the IPA meaning, knowing what the drink actually is, is the most important thing to do before ordering yourself a pale ale. Well, what is an IPA?

The IPA Meaning answer hides behind its name. As it is an acronym, the name for this beer style should be pronounced as I-P-A. The letters stand for Indian Pale Ale. Now, let’s explain each word.

You’ve probably seen people ordering ale in movies. Most likely, those films were set in the past, somewhere in Great Britain. That makes sense since ale is a synonym for fermented beer that the Brits have always been the best at making. 

The “Pale” part of the name comes from the drink’s color. As most beers used to be of a bit darker brown color, the IPA beers appeared pale compared to them.

To avoid a long history lesson, we’ll stick to the short explanation of why the pale ales were called Indian. British troops enjoyed ale, and some of them were stationed in the east, where they couldn’t brew any beer because of the heat. The solution was in a special kind of pale ale with more hops and higher alcohol content, later known as IPA beers.

IPA Drink Vocabulary

Learn IPA vocabulary before you go to your local pub, and order yourself a pale ale just the way you like it.


A session means your beer of choice will have less alcohol than regular IPAs. If you plan on drinking for a longer time, stick to sessions to avoid getting tipsy too early. Keep in mind that these beers will have a thinner body, so the taste isn’t going to be the same as usual.

Usually, a session will have less than 4% alcohol, but lately, we have seen modern session beers rise almost to 5% ABV (Alcohol by volume).


If you love beer but need something strong, these types of beer are the perfect combination. Double and Imperial mean the same thing in the IPA world – a more potent drink. Or, to be more technical, a higher hop concentration. 

To balance it all and still make the beer enjoyable, breweries use more malt for beers of this sort. More malt is what leads to a higher ABV. Usually, alcohol levels in Imperial beers are above 7%, which will get you drunk quite quickly. So, be careful when you’re ordering doubles.


If you appreciate the aroma of beer, going with a dry-hopped IPA might be the choice for you. By soaking hops in fermenting beer instead of adding them to the boiling liquid, brewers perform a process called dry-hopping. 

This process creates a unique style of beer with an enhanced odor. So, if you enjoy the piney or fruity notes of hoppy beers, give dry-hopped a chance. And, you don’t have to worry about the flavor either. On top of smelling amazing, this beer-making method doesn’t add any bitterness, and you’ll be able to enjoy your drink with ease.


The name pretty much tells the whole story behind this style of beer. Most IPAs come from various hops mixed to create a unique flavor. In this case, it’s only one sort of hop. 

For example, a Centennial single-hop IPA is brewed using only centennial hops through all the brewing phases. This beer style is a good option for people that have found their favorite hop and wish to enjoy the full richness of its flavor.


The name is once again self-explanatory. If you manage to get the hops to the brewery in less than 24 hours, you can create a fresh-hopped beer. Doing this is only possible during the harvesting season, making these ales a limited edition. 

Fresh-hopped beers are a seasonal sort, so even if you aren’t a fan, give them a shot once a year to see if your taste has changed. The flavor changes over time, so get them while they’re fresh! Only during late August and early September can you get fresh-hopped IPA, so put a mark in your calendar.

IPA Styles

Changing the ingredients or the brewing technique leads to a different finished product. That’s how we get separate IPA styles. Check out the most famous ones and see what makes them unique.

New England Style IPA

If you are into fruity beers, give this one a shot. Many people want to drink stronger beers but wish to avoid the bitter flavor. That’s why this style is probably the most popular IPA drink on the market.

You get a beverage that looks like orange juice, smells like the best fruits you’ve ever tasted, and gets you drunk easier than a regular beer. What more can you ask from a drink?

British IPA

These aren’t as popular as they used to be but are worth mentioning because of their place in history. British IPA is more on the bitter side, so stay away from this style if you prefer the fruiter notes.

West Coast IPA

Give West Coast a shot if you wish to taste both the bitterness of the hops and the recognizable fruity flavors of an IPA. This sort of beer was the first to combine the two tastes and create something most of us love.

West Coast IPAs are a balanced mix of flavors most beer drinkers get accustomed to quite quickly, which is why they are quite popular worldwide.

Belgian IPA

If you like Belgian tripels, you’ll most likely enjoy their IPAs as well. Beers of this style are often described as a mix of British pale ale and a Belgian tripel. This type of beer gets its flavor from the Belgian yeast, making it sweet and bready.

Most would consider these a “winter beer,” so next time you’re skiing in Belgium, give them a shot. 

Get a Beer With Us

Visit us at Public Square restaurant if you find yourself in the Miami area. We’ll serve you an IPA and a meal that pairs perfectly with it.

Also, visit our website and check out the rest of our menu.