Most Common Types of Beer
Expert Advice

Going to grab a beer at the bar isn’t that simple. From ales to pilsners, learn about the most common types of beer that you can find at your local pub.

While enjoying a cold beer is a simple pleasure that many people enjoy, there is often a lot of confusion about the distinct types of beer available. This confusion stems from the vast selection of beers out there, each with its unique flavor and brewing method.

During a tailgate, happy hour, or night at the bar, you’ve probably heard, “What kind of beer do you want?” and felt overwhelmed by all the choices. To help you decide next time you’re feeling unsure, use this brief guide to the differences in the four most common types of beer below.



Lagers are the most common type of beer around the world. They get their name from the German word lagern, meaning “to store.” Lagers are brewed at lower temperatures and for a more extended period than other types of beer, which gives them their characteristic smooth flavor.

Common lagers include Budweiser, Corona, and Heineken.



Pilsners are a type of lager that originated in the Czech Republic. They are light in color and have a slightly sweet flavor. Pilsners are usually between 3.5% and 5% alcohol by volume (ABV).

Common pilsners include Beck’s, Stella Artois, and Miller Lite.



Ales typically have fruiter and hoppier flavors. Ales have a fuller body and a higher alcohol content than lagers. The brewing process utilizes warmer temperatures than lagers, which results in a shorter fermentation process.

Common ales include Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Ballast Point, and Samuel Adams Summer Ale.


Porters and Stouts

Porters and stouts are dark, thick beers typically high in alcohol content. They get their dark color from roasted malt or barley during the brewing process. These beers often feature a strong, roasted flavor with notes of chocolate or coffee.

Common porters and stouts include Guinness, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and Sierra Nevada Porter.

Now that you know the four most common types of beer, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision next time you’re at the bar. Each type requires the brewery to use different brew tank capacities depending on the style, and crafting them requires the expertise of a brewmaster with years of training under their belt. Next time you go to grab a round, consider trying something new and enjoying the hard work and dedication that went into each beer.

The next time you’re looking to try something new, don’t be afraid to ask your bartender for a recommendation.