Tomorrow is National Beer Lovers Day, and we figured we could get a 1-day head start. We’ve put together a beer dictionary to tell you about all of the beer types, where you can find them locally, and what food pairings work best with your beer.
Amber + Red Ale | Red and amber ales will typically taste like caramel, dried fruit, or coffee — more sour than sweet. Pair with a hearty slow cooker meat.
Local rec: Great Outdoors at Naked River Brewing Co.
Amber + Red Lager | These lagers can taste light + crisp but also contain aromas you’d find in darker beers – like caramel or toffee. Pair with tacos.
Local rec: Chickbock Amber Lager at Chattanooga Brewing Co.
Belgian Style Beer | Belgian beers come in pale ales, dark ales, fruity beers, and sour ales. Belgian-style beers have a high alcohol content + low bitterness. Pair with cheese and potato dishes.
Local rec: Grim Haven with a Twist at Oddstory Brewing Co.
Brown Ale | An English-style ale that is especially sweet + nutty tasting. Pair with pecan pie.
Local rec: Higher Brown Brown Ale at Five Wits Brewing Co.
Cream Ale | Light in flavor, pale in color, and not too bitter for a newbie beer drinker. Pair with grilled chicken.
Local rec: Chatty Light at Heaven & Ale Brewing Co.
Dark Lager | You can expect rich aromas like coffee, chocolate, molasses, and even pumpernickel bread. Pair with smoked fish.
Local rec: Siren Vienna Lager at Empyreal Brewing
Fruit Beer | Many fruits find their way into beer recipes — some popular ones are lime, strawberry, and cherry. Most fruit beers are sweet tasting + pair perfectly with dessert.
Local rec: Bowser’s Side Peach (seasonal) at Five Wits Brewing Co.
Hefeweizen | Time for a German lesson — hefeweizen is the German word for pale wheat beer. These are also called witbiers or blanches and are made by adding wheat to the mix to give the beer a foamy head + a silky texture. They have a distinct sweetness and sometimes give off a bubble gum or banana smell. Pair with cedar-smoked salmon or a watermelon + tomato salad.
Local rec: Banana Hands at Tanasi Brewing and Supplies
India Pale Ale (IPA) | These beers can be bitter + have high alcohol levels. They can range from citrus flavors to stronger, more bitter flavors — depending on the hops used. These are usually the intro beer for new beer drinkers. Pair with fish + chips.
Local rec:: Igneous IPA at Hutton & Smith Brewing Co.
Pale Ale | Pale ales are usually hoppy but carry a lower alcohol content than IPAs. Most types of pale ale are malty, medium-bodied, and easy to drink.
Local rec: The Cure at Terminal Brewhouse
Pale Lager | A crisp, light-bodied + moderately hoppy beer. Pair with a classic margherita pizza.
Local rec: WanderLinger Lager at WanderLinger Brewing Co.
Pilsner | A light + crisp lager from 19th century Europe that is hoppy and a pale gold color. Pair with calamari or schnitzel.
Local rec: Naked Light at Naked River Brewing Co.
Radler | A radler is a hybrid — part beer, part citrus juice. The word radler means “cyclist” in German + legend has it radlers were invented to quench the thirst of cyclists. Pair with grilled fruit or pulled pork.
Local rec: Blueberry Lemonade Shandy by Saugatuck Brewing Co. at The Tap House
Stouts + Porters | These beers have a deep, roasted flavor and are often described as tasting like chocolate or coffee. Oatmeal stouts and porters are a subtype that include a small amount of oatmeal to give it a thicker body.
Local rec: Love Supreme at Heaven & Ale Brewing Co.
Wild + Sour Ales | Wild or sour ales are typically very low in alcohol, and feature tart, sour flavors that come from (safe) bacteria in the brew mash. Pair with salty meats, stinky cheeses, and lemony seafood dishes.
Local rec: Xenocryst at Hutton & Smith Brewing Co.