Eight styles: Thousands of beers

The craft beer market is comprised of hundreds of documented beer varieties and a handful of organisations with their own unique classifications, but beers primarily fall into one of three types: bottom fermentation beers (lagers); top fermentation beers (ales); and spontaneous or wild fermentation beers.

Within each of these categories there are many sub-groups but the main styles available today are dark ales; pale ales; stouts; wheat beers; strong ales; lagers; sour beers; and non-alcoholic beers.

Pale Ale
Dark Ale
Strong Ale


CATEGORIES: Lager, Pale Ale, Wheat Beer ABV: 0% SERVE TEMPERATURE: 4-8°C TASTING NOTES: Clean, honey, spritzy, refreshing

There is a growing market for Non-Alcoholic Beer, which include Lagers, Pale Ales and Wheat Beers.

Probably the best Non-Alcoholic Beers are Wheat Beers. Rothaus’ beer has something of the banana and clove character of a classic golden Weissbier, while the likes of Paulaner and Erdinger also make good versions of this style.

Low-alcohol beers (beers of 3% and less) have a long history, but beers with no alcohol at all probably date back to the Prohibition era in the United States (1920-1933), when drinks with more than 0.5% alcohol were banned.

To survive, breweries produced ‘Near Beer’ - a non-alcoholic version of what had existed before.

These beers can be produced in a number of ways. The easiest is by boiling the beer after fermentation, because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water (78.3°C).

This heating will affect the flavour of the beer, so some brewers use vacuum distilling, whereby the boiling point of alcohol is lowered - so you don’t have to heat the beer up so much. Then there’s reverse osmosis, which uses filtering and distillation. Whichever process is used, the resulting beer is then artificially carbonated.

Wheat Beer
Sour Beer