What Are The Two Main Beer Styles?

If you’re an avid beer drinker, you’ll know that there’s no such thing as ‘just a beer.’ This beverage category encompasses a whole range of brews with different aromas and intricate flavour profiles, offering a variety of options that appeal to different taste palettes.

Let’s take a look at the two major beer styles (Lagers & Ales) so that you can find the perfect drink for you. It might even lead to you trying something new the next time you feel like a cold (or, depending on the beer, room temperature) one!

Different Beer Styles

Beers fall into two categories: lager and ale. While the two are typically created using the same four base ingredients (yeast, malted barley, hops, and water), they differ in how they are made.

Lagers are created using cooler temperatures, with the yeast falling to the bottom of the brew and the length of the fermenting process being quite long. Ales, on the other hand, are made using higher temperatures. The yeast sits at the top of the beer when making ales, and the fermenting process is shorter. 

Most beers begin as either a lager or an ale. From there, breweries can add and adjust flavours and styles to create different types of beers.



This lager is a refreshing beer that is light in colour. It is characterised by a distinct bitterness combined with a sweet flavour retained from the malt. Pilsner is a popular beer in Europe and originates from Pilsen, a city in the Czech Republic . Today, Pilsners do vary slightly from country to country. Czech Pilsners tend to be very bitter and somewhat darker in colour, while German Pilsners are crisper and come in a gold hue.

Try: Cavalier Pilsner, a Czech-style Pils brewed in Melbourne, Australia


This dark brown beer is known for having intense malt flavours. Unlike other lagers, Bock doesn’t have the hop bitterness that different varieties possess. It typically has an alcohol content of 5.5-5.75% and is the perfect complement to a steak dinner.

Try: La Trappe Trappist Bockbier

Blonde Lager

Lager is easily recognisable by its crisp golden appearance and high carbonation. Lagers are typically light, floral and alive with citrus notes. Bira’s Summer Blonde Lager is sparkling, fresh and vibrant with a crisp finish. Crafted with premium two-row barley, it attains a delicate balance of bitterness and dryness, making it the ideal accompaniment for spicy, flavoursome meals. The Summer Lager pours clean with a rich, warm hue and summery citrus, melon and passionfruit aromas. It is easy drinking and the perfect choice for a long afternoon session.   .  

Try: Bira 91 Blonde Summer Lager


Indian Pale Ales

Indian Pale Ales, or IPAs, have experienced a rise in popularity in recent years. The term refers to a broad range of beers known for fruity, herbal, or citrus flavours. IPAs vary significantly from brand to brand, depending on how much hops are used and what flavours have been added.

Try: Bira 91 IPA with Pomelo


Dating back to 18th Century Britain, the Porter ale remains a popular choice throughout England and the world.  It is generally black or dark brown in colour with hints of chocolate, licorice, or caramel. The perfect beer for a cold night!

Try: De Molen Tsarina Esra


Stout is another beer with a long history, originally coming from Ireland. Given its dark colour, this beer is often thought to be quite heavy; however, it also comes in light varieties. Stouts are typically a smooth beer, with American and English types sweeter than the traditional Irish version.

Try: Cavalier Imperial Stout

Check out the Heron range of quality international & local beers today.

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