Beer types

Beers may be classified into types on the basis of the nature of the raw materials, the microbial agents used in the fermentation step(s), and the processes used to convert the starting materials into a beverage ready for consumption. Although there is much overlap, it is possible to use these criteria to identify the unique points of difference of the major beer types. As will become evident from the discussion, some of these distinctions are becoming increasingly tenuous in the modern industry. Examples of representative beer styles are shown in Table 2.1.

With regard to nomenclature, the names applied to some beers have changed their meanings. For example, 'lager' derives from the German lagern, to store or rest. This refers to the lengthy low-temperature maturation phase that is a characteristic of the manufacture of traditional lager beers. As will be discussed in later chapters, a major

Table 2.1 Classic beer types.



Fermentation system


Pilsener (archetype -

Bohemia, Czech

Bottom fermented

Pale highly hopped lager

Pilsener Urquell)


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