Beer guide: get to know your IPA  from your pilsner


Beer guide: get to know your IPA from your pilsner

Heard of all these different types of beer but still have no idea what they are and how they are different? Here is a guide to the different types of beers and what you can expect in terms if taste. Also find out what food goes well with them and a bit of beer lingo to really impress everyone with your knowledge. The next round you will be sure to know what you are talking about.

Types of beer

All beers fall into these two types; Ales and lagers. This is determined by the type of yeast and not the colour, strength or flavour.

This is the most main stream type, being so popular for its light, crisp and clean taste. Beers include Heineken, Victoria Bitter and Toohey’s New. Chances are that most of the well-known beers you know are lagers.

They go well with most meals and atmospheres, so you can’t go too wrong when choosing a lager. If you did have to choose what would go best with a lager you can’t skip summer foods such as seafood and fish and chips.

Lager’s mild, crisp taste comes from it being bottom-fermented. This allows it to ferment at a colder temperature than an ale or other beer types, meaning that it produces less ‘esters’, which are in simple terms are flavour compounds. This is what makes a lager a lager and not an ale.

Type of lager


PilsnerSignature flavour comes from the use of locally grown Saaz hops and pale malts. This leads to a floral bitterness and a crisp maltiness.
DoppelbockA malty, strong lager, which is typically dark.

Ale is top-fermented, which is what sets it apart from a lager. The rich and complex flavours which make up an ale are due to this quick top-fermenting process at a hotter temperature. Therefore producing more 'esters' and therefore stronger flavours.

Type of ale


IPA (India Pale Ale)Strong citrus and floral hop aromas, usually with an above average alcohol level. Hop flavours are balanced with sightly dried and roasted pale malts.
Pale aleThe increased use of yeast produces a passionfruit fruitiness in most cases.
Dark aleThe dark colour comes from the use of dark malts, creating flavours such as caramel, chocolate, roast and toasted.
Porters and stoutsThis velvety beer has dark roasted flavours of bitter sweet chocolate, roasted coffee and smokey notes, which are caused by the dark toasted malts used.

Food and beer matches

What's the perfect beer without the perfect food to go along with it. Here are a few food suggestions to get you started.

Beer type


PilsnersCrisp, spicy or salty food such as chicken, nachos and seafood.
DoppelbockSimilar to porters, it goes well with rich foods such as chocolate.
IPACreamy and spicy foods such as cheese, curry and pasta.
Pale aleFresh food such as seafood with lemon.
Dark aleLike red wine, dark ale goes well with red meat dishes such as steak.
Porters and stoutsRich foods such as chocolate.

Beer lingo

If you want to really impress your friends the next time you go out then you might want to learn a little bit of beer lingo. Here is a short and sweet beer glossary to get you started.



HopAdded in the middle stage of fermentation to add flavour and aroma.
MaltCereal grains that have been dried (usually barley).
FermentationBreakdown of a substance by yeast.
YeastA type of fungus that can convert sugar into alcohol.

Westfield does not condone excessive consumption of alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

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