Choosing Your Beer

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Whether at your local Payless Liquor store or at a bar or restaurant, choosing one beer from a sea of endless choices can be a daunting task. We’ve put together this guide to help you along, and you will be a champion beer chooser in no time. You can use your skills to impress friends and choose the perfect beer for them, as well. Don’t fear the beer wall anymore.

Process of Elimination

First, by knowing what types of beer you like or types of beer you don’t like, you can eliminate a vast majority of the choices. Once you determine what type you like or don’t like, choosing one will be much easier. Here’s a quick rundown of the various popular categories of beer and some safe options in each category that you can use as a reference point.

American Lagers

Lagers are defined by their fermentation process. They are fermented from the bottom at cool temperatures. American lagers are known for their golden, straw-colored light bodies. They have a mild hops flavor, so they go down quickly and easily. They have relatively low alcohol content compared to some of the other types of beer on the market. A good lager is consistent, simple, cheap, and refreshing.

There are about 25 different types of lagers, with American lagers making up a small portion of these beers. The most widely known American lagers are Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. Light American lagers are just the light forms of those—Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. These are the safest options when you just don’t know what to go for.

Amber or Dark Lagers

Chances are you want to branch out and try something other than the usual suspects (American Lagers). German-style amber and dark lagers are characterized by an amber to reddish-brown hue and a thick, white head. Some of the most widely known lagers include Yuengling Traditional Lager, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Heineken, and Dos Equis. Corona Extra is also a lager but is characterized as a pale Mexican lager.

Ales

Unlike lagers, ales are fermented from the top and at warm temperatures. These beers are more robust and have higher alcohol content. They don’t go down quite as easily as lagers, but many people have developed a taste for them all the same. Ales are darker than lagers and have a cloudier body. Their flavor is bitter, and they have a strong hops flavor. There are more than 70 different types of ales, including the most popular, English India pale ale (IPA), as well as American ales, Belgian ales, imperial ales, and double India pale ales. Also in this category are stouts, porters, and many others.

Some mainstream ales that you may have tried include Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, Guinness (the most popular stout beer), and SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale. This category is where you can really branch out, sampling the hundreds of IPAs and other subcategories. IPAs and other pale ales are all very similar in taste to the untrained palette. Once you develop a taste for the different styles, though, you will be able to discern one from another if you enjoy the bitterness these beers are known for.

Visit or contact Payless Liquors today to learn more about the categories, brands, and character traits of the different beers available. Payless Liquor staff members are knowledgeable about the different subcategories and can help you choose the perfect beer for you.