What is Beer?


You’re sitting at a bar, when the bar tender comes up to you asks you what you would like to drink. Well the answer is obvious to you. “I’ll have a beer.” And she responds with,


“What kind?”


What kind of beer will you have? To make an informed decision, you have to know what kinds of beers there are. And my friends there are very many types of beer. Not only are there different brands of beer that add there own distinct signature to their brews but there are different ways to make beer that can create a different taste and colour or hew.


Lagers and Ales

There are Lagers and Ales and they both branch off into even more categories.  Lagers are your typical beers that are generally simple in taste and don’t have much in terms of percentage of alcohol. Lagers are also beers that are generally offered as light beers with less alcohol and less calories, for example Budweiser and Bud Light.  Another branch of the lager is called Pilsner. A Pilsner is a European style lager and is generally a little bit stronger in taste. One could say that it would taste a little bit “breadier”.  Generally Lagers wont have that much of an after taste or lingering taste. Ales on the other hand are usually a bit stronger in taste and generally have a higher percentage of alcohol. They generally do have a distinct after taste or lingering taste and depending on the beers you’ve tried you can find a beer that you really enjoy. I personally really enjoy the taste of Ale, but lagers are a safe bet for any one first trying beer.

The Colours of Beer

Next we will break down the basic colorings or hues of beers. There are four general hues of beer that you can classify that fall under both lagers and ales.  The four hues are white, gold/blonde, amber/red and dark. Each of these colours has a different flavour.

White beer, also known as a wheat beer, is blondish in colour and is cloudy or murky looking. They’re generally sweeter than most beers and tend to have a hint of citrus or vanilla taste.


Gold or Blonde beer is your well-known, classic yellowy-gold looking beer with no added or varied flavours. Golden beers are generally the most popular.

Ambers or red and dark beers have a very different colour and taste to them. Amber is stronger than a blonde beer, and a dark beer is the strongest and most acquired tasting of the beers. An amber beer will look red or coppery, and will have hints of caramel or in the smell and flavour. A dark beer is a dark brown colour and can have a vast number of aromas and flavours ranging from coffee, nut, and chocolate or a much stronger caramel than an amber beer.

Go on a Beer’venture

Now that you know the very different types of beer and the different colours they come in, you can make that informed decision on what you would like at the bar. Don’t be afraid to go to the Beer Store or LCBO and buy a variety of different types of beers from different countries, brands, and colours. You’ll be surprised with what you find, and you may find your self a new favourite.



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