ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY

Summer has finally kicked into full gear, which means it’s time to grab a couple of beers and hang out on a snazzy patio. Knowing which brewski to order can be intimidating though, especially if you’re a newbie to the game. Understanding the different styles of beers and their characteristics is a good place to start — next time you head to the bar, you’ll be able to order your new favourite giggle water with confidence.


 

Blonde ales are most approachable with their golden appearance and mild taste. The best thing about blonde ales is their simplicity — they are crisp, dry, and non-bitter. Blonde beers may also have slight notes of honey, fruit, and spices, depending on the brew.

Examples: Amsterdam Natural Blonde, Flying Monkeys Antigravity, and Mill Street Stock Ale

Browns, stouts, and porters are a bit more complex. They range from medium to heavy body, meaning that they’re dense, and can have a dark amber to brown appearance. Beers such as these have a bold taste and may come off as both bitter and slightly sweet. Flavour notes include caramel, chocolate, coffee, and nuts. It is important to note that oatmeal stouts tend to be creamier and, thus, sweeter.

Examples: Amsterdam Downtown Brew, Guinness, and Brasserie Dupont Monk’s Stout

Wheat beers have a pale to light amber appearance and a light body. German hefeweizens tend to have strong notes of bananas and cloves, highlighting their spicier notes. Other wheat beers, like American and Belgian varieties, are more mild, and boast citrus and spice flavours. This beer’s mild and crisp taste makes it a perfectly refreshing drink for the summer.

Examples: Schneider Weiss and Allagash White

India Pale Ales (IPAs) have a pale complexion with a light body. These beers, often fruity and floral, have slight notes of citrus, which is evident in their strong, bold aromas. IPAs are bitter and sweet but tend to remain closer to the bitter side.

Examples: Bell’s Two Hearted and Union Jack

Lagers are another type of beer with a light body and golden hue; they tend to be on the crisp, dry side. However, they can also have more of a bittersweet taste. Pilsners, a type of lager, are crisp and flavourful. Depending on the beer, some may have more of a citrus taste, while others may have a fruitier flavour.

Examples: Corona Extra, Steam Whistle and Stella Artois

Saisons make for great summer beers, as they have a light body and are packed with flavour. These beers tend to be fruitier and non-bitter, while still remaining crisp and refreshing. Saisons are highly carbonated and spicy. Because of their flavourful, fruity profile, they are perfect for those who do not like the typical taste of beer.

Examples: Saison Dupont and Whole Hog Raspberry Saison

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