From casual baseball games to fine dining experiences, beer is one of the best types of alcohol to enjoy for any occasion. If you’re looking to take a break from a general wine list or cocktail drinks, you’ve come to the right place to scope out beer brands suitable for casual beer lovers and cicerones.
Just like there are countless types of tequila, whiskey brands, and other hard liquors, there’s also a wide variety of beer. When you order a beer at a bar, the bar staff is going to require you to be specific–perhaps by including your call drink.
Before your bartender starts pouring beer, consider the type of beer you want. Some beers can be light and crisp. Others can be dense and filling. Regardless, beer is one of the drinks every bartender should know.
Whether you’re opening a bar or simply want to learn about beer, we’ve got you covered. Below we’ve outlined the types of beer and beer brands.
Types of Beer
While there are many styles of beer, this beverage category breaks down into two kinds: ales and lagers. If you own a bar business, you’ll want to know the difference between the two.
To keep it simple, the main factors that differentiate lagers and ales are the type of yeast and brewing temperature. Ales and lagers can vary in color, ranging from lighter golden tones to darker hues.
You can’t go wrong by picking an ale from the menu (see: define menu). They are made with the same yeast as bread and ferment between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
These higher temperatures allow ales to release fruitier and spicier flavors. Common types of ales include Indian Pale Ales (IPA), wheat beers, and saisons.
Lagers are essential when it comes to stocking a bar. Lager yeasts ferment slower and at lower temperatures than ales (between 42 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit). They also enhance stronger flavors of other beer ingredients like grains and hops.
You’ll love a lager if you’re looking for something light and clean to quench your thirst. One of the main types of lager is a pilsner. Common lager beer brands are Coors Light and Budweiser.
The Best Beer Brands Across 7 Countries
Now that you know the difference between ales and lagers, it’s time to learn about the best beer brands! To keep things interesting, we’ve pulled together a list of beer brands spanning seven different countries.
German Beer Brands
Germany is one of the go-to places for everything beer. Whether you’re visiting Munich to celebrate the annual Oktoberfest or simply dining at a neighborhood pub, Germany has a beer for every occasion.
Germany specializes in certain styles of beer like Bock and Pilsners. Bock beer dates all the way back to the 14th century in the city of Einbeck.
It normally has an ABV range of 6.3 to 7.6% and a rich, creamy, and smooth consistency. A German pilsner is light and crisp, and balances herbal, spicy, and floral flavors with malty undertones.
Here are a few German beer brands worth a sip (or two):
- Einbecker Ur-Bock Dunkel
- Gaffel Kölsch
- Spaten Oktoberfest
Japanese Beer Brands
While your mind may wander to sake when thinking about Japanese types of alcohol, beer is another popular beverage in Japan. It’s actually the most consumed alcoholic beverage across the country.
Dating back to the 17th century, Japanese beer initially drew inspiration from European influences. Since then, the Japanese beer industry and culture has expanded. Now, there are countless microbreweries in Japan, crafting beers for every appetite.
Planning a trip to Japan? Consider trying one of the following Japanese beer brands:
- Kirin Lager Beer
- Asahi Super Dry
- Yona Yona Ale
If you’re used to drinking sake with your sushi, consider switching it up! Several Japanese beers pair nicely with traditional Japanese meals.
Mexican Beer Brands
Even though Mexico is known for some of the world’s best tequila brands, it does quite well in the world of beer, too! From light lagers to IPAs, Mexico is a hub for beer.
Below are some classic Mexican beer brands to try (if you haven’t already):
- Corona Extra (served best with a lime wedge)
- Cerveza Pacífico Clara
- Noche Buena
Consider pairing any of these Mexican beer brands with delicious Mexican food appetizers like easy homemade salsa. If you’re starting out with beer, but want to move on to something stronger, try making a mixed tequila drink.
Belgian Beer Brands
It’s hard to compete with Belgian beer. While Belgium may be a small country (roughly the size of Maryland in the US), it plays a huge role in the world of beer.
With over 370 breweries nationwide, Belgium offers all types of beer and is one of the top countries exporting beer. From fruity beers to tasty amber ales, Belgium does it all.
Looking for something to pair with a delicious serving of Belgian fries? Try one of these Belgian beer brands:
- Tripel Karmeliet
- Chimay Blue
Canadian Beer Brands
“Oh, Canada!” Beer brewing began as early as 1617 in Canada. It all started with French herbalist Louis Hébert and his wife, who brewed beer for their own personal enjoyment.
Since then, beer manufacturing in Canada has grown tremendously. Well-known Canadian beer styles include cream ale, ice beer, and spruce beer.
Fun fact: Canada has one of the highest beer taxes in the world. But if you’re not too worried about beer taxes, consider trying the following Canadian beer brands:
- Moosehead Lager
- Labatt Blue
- Molson Pilsner
American Beer Brands
It’s safe to say that beer is an American staple. Bars in America thrive on beer sales, including from beer on tap. As of 2021, the overall beer market in the US stood at $100.2 billion. States like Oregon, California, and Illinois are major hubs for beer lovers.
For example, Ballast Point is a famous brewery in San Diego. Dovetail Brewery and Half Acre Beer Company are some of the most popular breweries in Chicago.
While there are countless beer brands to choose from in the US, consider any of the following three for a tasty sip:
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- Goose Island
- Blue Moon
Australian Beer Brands
In addition to having some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and most dangerous animals, Australia also offers some delicious brews. The city of Adelaide in Southern Australia is home to many exciting craft breweries like Big Shed Brewing Company. There are also plenty of breweries on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane.
Wherever you visit in Australia, you can’t go wrong with the following beer brands they have to offer:
- Victoria Bitter
Frequently Asked Questions About Beer Brands
What Brand of Beer Is Best?
Bud Light frequently ranks as one of the best beer brands in America. Bud Light is a premium light lager and offers clean and crisp flavors. It’s a great go-to brand for anything from small gatherings to large sports spectator parties.
What are Fruity Beers Called?
Fruity beers are commonly known as “Radlers.” In the UK, they go by “Shandy.” Fruity beers undergo fermentation through fruits like plums, raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. They’re often light and refreshing and serve as a great option for people who are new to beer.
What Is a Popular IPA Beer?
The Lagunitas IPA is one of the most popular IPA beers. It is produced in California and has a 6.2% ABV. The Lagunitas IPA includes tasting notes of citrus, cedar, grapefruit, and resin. These flavors give it a more bitter taste.