There are many styles of beer out there and it is important to remember that not every beer fits neatly into a category. These are just general guidelines to help give a sense of the wonderful varied world of beer.
Ales are the oldest beers in the world. They are “top fermented,” meaning the yeast rises to the top of the brew during fermentation. Ales are generally stronger than lagers, with a more intense taste, because of their relatively fast and warm fermentation. In England, ales are served at room temperature.
In the 1980s, craft brewers in the United States began developing uniquely American ales. American ales are similar to their British cousins, but usually maltier and more aggressively hopped, with a fruity or citrusy rather than a grassy aroma. IPAs are stronger and more fragrant than pale ales.
Classic Belgian ales have a higher alcohol content and have been brewed for centuries by Trappist monks. Other ales include Hefeweizen, a traditional type of wheat ale.