When someone says, “I don’t like beer,” we scratch our heads a bit. It’s like saying, “I don’t like TV.” Both terms are used to describe ever-widening spectrums; nearly infinite universes that are (almost inexplicably) continuing to expand. The collision of peak TV and streaming have delivered us an endless flood of dramas, sitcoms, reality shows, lifestyle programming, docuseries… we could go on. The same goes for beer.
Not all beer is yellow, fizzy American lagers and pilsners, which, we can only assume, is what the anti-beer types believe. The combination of yeast, hops, malt, and water has so many permutations that even the best brewers (and beer writers) can’t keep track of them all.
Sure, there are beers out there that resemble seltzer with a slight yellow hue. But even light beers are upping their collective game in 2021. Plus there are countless other lagers and pilsners on the market with crisp, refreshing, complex flavors and enough ABVs to make you take note. And that’s just one small galaxy in the beer universe. Stouts, porters, pale ales, IPAs, amber ales, barley wines, wheat beers, and dozens of other styles are waiting for you to discover them.
At the very least, you should test a few more types before you make broad statements about not liking beer. Have you tried a shandy? Who doesn’t like a shandy?
Today, we’re touring you through ten beer styles by recommending one brew in particular that has something distinct to say about that style. For no real reason, we decided to start at the lightest beers and work our way toward the darker picks. We also only picked beers readily available, because why would you want to read about a beer you’re never going to get a chance to try?
Firestone Walker Pivo Pils (Pilsner)
Average Price: $10 for a six-pack
The pilsner is the most popular beer style for a reason. It’s crisp, refreshing, and easy to drink. Firestone Walker brings a contemporary taste to the famous style by dry-hopping Saphir hops to go along with Spalter Select and Tradition hops.
This beer is exactly what you hope for when you crack open an American pilsner. It’s light, thirst-quenching, and filled with piney, floral, citrus hop flavors.
This is a great summer beer. It’s the perfect beer to drink after mowing the lawn. But if you get overheated (too much sauna time?), you’ll find that it’s just as refreshing in the middle of January as July.
Sierra Nevada (Pale Ale)
Average Price: $17.99 for a 12-pack
If you ask any brewer or bartender what they’re favorite pale ale is, there’s a good chance you’ll hear the words “Sierra Nevada.” This beloved pale ale offers a widely-beloved balance of hops and malts.
Before your first sip, your nose is filled with the aromas of a pine forest. The first sip is filled with more fresh pine, juicy citrus, and sweet malts.
This refreshing, complex beer is the perfect gateway into the world of IPAs. While technically a pale ale, it’s as close to an IPA as a pale ale can get.
Allagash White (Wheat Beer)
Average Price: $12.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans
There are many American craft wheat beers on the market, but few (if any) are more well rounded than Allagash White. This hazy, unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale is made with Coriander and Curaçao orange peels.
This rich, yeasty, refreshing beer is a perfect combination of citrus and spice. Fresh orange, spicy coriander, and pleasing yeast make this a truly unforgettable brew.
There’s no better example of the American interpretation of the Belgium-style wheat ale than Allagash White. Seriously, try to find one and savor it.
Ballast Point Sculpin (West Coast IPA)
Average Price: $14.99 for a six-pack
Named for the stinging Sculpin fish, this high ABV, tangy, hoppy beer is one of the highest-rated IPAs in history. It’s won numerous awards over the years and remains one of the best West Coast IPAs, even after all the hype and praise.
Like all West Coast IPAs, Sculpin has a pleasantly bitter backbone. But before you get there, your palate is met with orange, lime, and grapefruit flavors, along with resinous, piney hops.
This well-rounded IPA is fruity, fresh, and filled with citrus, floral, and dank hop flavors. It’s the kind of beer you’ll purchase again and again.
Two Roads Two Juicy (New England-Style IPA)
Average Price: $15.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans
In the past few years, no beer style has taken the world by storm quite like the New England-style IPA. One of the best examples of this hazy, juicy style is Two Roads Two Juicy. This 8.2% ABV unfiltered, cloudy brew is filled with Hallertauer Blanc, Citra & Mandarina Bavaria hops.
Right away, your palate is met with something juicier, hazier than even expected. It’s filled with tropical fruit flavors like guava and mango and citrus flavors like tangerine, orange, and grapefruit.
If you don’t like New England-style IPAS, you just might want to avoid this one. It’s not for everyone. But if you’re a fan of the juice-forward style, this beer will tick every box.
Tröegs Hopback (Amber Ale)
Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack
Amber ales are like the middle of the beer spectrum. They’re not light, but also not quite dark. Hopback with its whole-flower hops, Crystal, Munich, and Pilsner malts is a perfect bridge between light and dark brews.
A beer this complex comes with a flavor profile equally as diverse. First, your palate will be treated to hints of tangerine and grapefruit followed by rich caramel and sweet brown sugar notes.
If you’re looking to ease your way into dark beer, you can’t do much better than Hopback amber ale. It has everything a beer fan enjoys.
Shiner Bock (Bock)
Average Price: $16.99 for a 12-pack
Shiner is one of the most beloved bock beers of all time. This classic Texas beer has been brewed with roasted barley and specialty hops from Germany since 1973.
This dark lager is smooth, refreshing, and loaded with subtle piney hops along with rich, sweet, roasted barley malts. It’s light enough for lager fans and dark enough for stout fans.
While Bock beer is commonly released in the spring, Shiner makes theirs available all year long. That’s definitely a good thing.
Cigar City Maduro (Brown Ale)
Average Price: $10.49 for a six-pack
Cigar City might be most known for its Jai Alai IPA, but its brown ale shouldn’t be missed. It’s an English-style brown ale filled with flaked oats and other sweet, rich ingredients.
This well-balanced brown ale is smooth, velvety, and filled with hints of sweet caramel, toasted malts, and rich chocolate.
Cigar City says this beer is best paired with a fine cigar. But you can pair this silky beer with a night of binge-watching Netflix just as easily.
Anchor Porter (Porter)
Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack
Anchor Brewing is one of the OG craft beer brands in America. It’s been making its highly acclaimed Porter since 1972. This blend of roasted pale, caramel, chocolate, and black malts as well as at the brewery’s proprietary top-fermenting yeast makes this a flavor bomb perfect for fans of rich, robust beers.
While this isn’t a barrel-aged beer or even a high-alcohol brew, Anchor Porter is filled with flavors of espresso, creamy chocolate, caramel, and sticky toffee.
When it comes to dark beers, many people tend to head directly for imperial stouts, skipping porters completely. Don’t do that. You might find you enjoy this lower-ABV porter more than any of those 12% bombs.
Stone Xocoveza (Stout)
Average Price: $18.84 for a six-pack
This imperial stout was “inspired by Mexican hot chocolate” and the connection is pretty obvious. It’s made with coffee, pasilla peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and chocolate.
Enjoy a nosing of this brew and you’ll be met with hints of rich, subtly bitter coffee, sweet caramel, creamy vanilla, spicy cinnamon, and a nice backbone of spicy peppers.
This winter, instead of wasting time whipping up hot chocolate on a cold day, grab a can of Xocoveza. You’ll get buzzed while you get warm, which feels like a double win.