The Beginners Guide to Beer

Are you ever confused by the many names that beer can come under? Beer, lager ale, craft, stout, bitter, smooth, IPA, porter, pilsners, the list is endless!

Worry no more, this infographic can help you to understand, everything you need to know.

Two Types of Beer

The main thing to remember is that beer can be split into either lager or ale. The difference between the two is the fermentation process.

The process for making ale uses top fermentation, which means the yeast ferments at warmer temperatures and settles at the top of the beer.

The process for making lager is longer and under cooler temperatures, the yeast tends to settle at the bottom. 


Types of beer inforgraphic


Craft Beer and Real Ale

You may notice that craft beer and real ale are not included here, that is because they are not actually a type of beer. These two are more about the method of production.

Craft Beer

Craft beer has different definitions in different countries. The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) provides a definition for what a craft brewery is in the UK:

  • Produces less than 20 million litres a year (0.12 million UK barrels or 0.4% of beer sales)
  • Is a truly independent brewer and not a subsidiary of a larger firm with other attendant or subsidiary brewing interest.

But, with some of the larger breweries buying up craft breweries, does this mean their beer is no longer considered craft beer?

Real Ale

Real Ale or cask ale is the method of creating an ale. So any of the different styles of ale could be classed as real ale, as long as it meets the production criteria.

Real ale is a beer that has fermented in the vessel from which it is served. The carbonation is entirely natural, not forced.

Most real ale is served from a cask via a hand pump in the pub.

In Summary

Remember, all beers begin life as either an ale or lager. They are then grouped further dependent on their specific style and flavour. Craft beer and real ale are more about the method of production.