What’s not to love? It’s a beverage that’s as old as human civilization itself, and it’s been around in all sorts of different forms or another since its first discovery back in the ancient times before written language was even first formed. In fact, it’s even been suggested by historians that the reason for writing, to begin with, was because it was necessary to write down the different recipes for beer and to keep up with how much beer was being produced by what grains. Which of course was very important when it came to your wheat when you needed to make a decision to either eat it or drink it.
Which is why it’s no big surprise that Beer is big in the United States. Oh, don’t make any mistake of that either. Heck, in 2012 it was estimated that Americans drank more or less 6.3 BILLION gallons of beer (1). That’s a lot of brew to down let me tell you that much.
But the thing about beer is that since its creation in ancient times, Beer has more or less become a sort of umbrella term for drinks that are made the same way, but with different ingredients and brewing times, can produce a wide variety of different drinks. Heck, you can get one type of beer and have it taste nearly like a fruit juice, or get another type of beer and have it taste like chocolate, or even have another kind that tastes malty and bitter.
It’s even gotten crazier the more that the Microbrew business started to take off in the United States too, with every year more and more different Microbreweries opening up to produce and sell all sorts of different kinds of Beer(2). Beer that ranges from the classical Lagers and Ales, to more fancy names like Brandy Ales, Chocolate Stouts, Porterhouses, and more. Heck, there’s an estimation that there might be even a few thousand different kinds of beers that are out there under different names and different brewing styles.
Now, that’s all well and good if you’re the sort of person who likes to try something a little bit different now and then, and explore the vast world of Beer and all that it has to give. But what about the kind of Beer that’s common in the United States? The kind that’s produced by mega-corporations such as Budweiser, Coors, and other companies? What kind of beer are they exactly, plus the different kinds of beer that you tend to see people just buying up because it has a massive following and a large part of the market share?
Well let’s take a quick run down of the 5 common beer types that you’ll definitely see in the United States
• 1) Pale Lager
What’s a Pale Lager you ask? A Lager is a type of Beer that’s brewed at a low, cold temperature rather than a hot one. It’s usually defined as having a crisp, highly carbonated taste that’s not unlike Soda, but tasting bitter because of the amount of hops that went into the brewing process. Typically, it’s also defined by how thick the “head” (or foam) can be when agitated, hence why most Pale lagers come in a tall mug. Typically, they’re also very light and amber in color. So far if you can guess it, it’s one of the most common types of beer you’ll find in the United States because it’s the type that Budweiser and others are.
• 2) Pale Ale
So what’s the difference between a Pale Ale and a Pale Lager? Mostly the brewing process. Lagers are brewed at a colder temperature, and that coldness is what makes the amber color. Pale Ales are the opposite, brewed mostly in warmer temperatures, giving the appearance of the beer a sort of darker, redder color while making the flavor of the Beer spicy, and very aromatic. Pale Ales are quickly starting to become one of the most popular types of Microbrews that you’ll find stocked even in major convenience stores.
• 3) IPA’s
IPA’s, also known as “Indian Pale Ales”, are almost like a cross between Pale Lagers, and Pale Ales in comparison to their hoppy, crispy taste. What’s the difference between the second item on the list? Mostly in the fermenting process, how Indian Pale Ales are brewed without as many sugars into the brew to prevent deterioration of the alcohol in the drink, which is why IPA’s are often considered extremely Soda like, mostly because of the carbonation in the drink itself.
• 4) Stouts
Thick, heavy, dark, and often brewed with all kinds of malts, sugars, and grains that are traditionally roasted before the brewing process. It’s said that drinking a stout is like drinking a sweet loaf of bread. But because of the different sugars and grains that go into the brewing mixture, Stouts tend to have heavy, sugary, sweet tastes that offset the bitterness of the Beer and are generally a favorite of people who prefer full flavors to their Beer. Most commonly in the United States, you’ll find Guinness Stouts that are drunk by fans of the Beer type.
• 5) Brown Ale
Brown Ale is sort of a cross between a Pale Ale, and a Stout. It’s often dark red in color, and rather than being made with a lot of grains in it that would normally give it a darker color (like stouts above), it’s instead made with mostly sugars in it that give it a sort of malty, caramel color flavor, much like a bitter candy in a way. While Pale Ales tend to dominate the American Market, Brown Ales typically are produced by major Beer companies in smaller batches as a holiday set, such as around Halloween, Christmas, or Oktoberfest, or even around Easter.
And there you have it, some of the most popular different beer brands that you’ll find in the United States.