Bewildered by the array of beers? Whether you're faced with 100 beer choices at one of the upcoming beer fests or just perusing the taps at a local tavern, here's a clip-and-save cheat sheet. Despite the myriad styles, all beers fall into two basic categories: ales and lagers. The difference is primarily in the yeast and the temperature at which the beer is fermented and conditioned. But varieties abound.
Justin Grant, Times correspondent
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Medium-bodied and hoppier (or more bitter) than most, made primarily with pale malt.
Varieties: Bitters, extra special bitter (ESB), amber ale, red ale, American pale ale and India pale ale.
STOUT & PORTER
Very dark with subtle flavors like chocolate and coffee. Stouts use roasted barley, porters a darker malt.
Varieties: Dry, sweet, milk, imperial stout and Baltic porter.
A high percentage of wheat in addition to malt with a fruity aroma and flavor.
Varieties: Weissbier, hefeweizen and witbier are common varieties.
Maltier than most with a higher alcohol content.
Varieties: Trappist and Abbey (brewed by monasteries), golden, Saison, Oud Bruin and lambic.
Extremely malty with an alcohol content closer to wine. Sometimes seasonally brewed, usually in winter.
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The style that influenced major U.S. brews like Budweiser, Miller and Coors. The more authentic version originates in the Czech city of Pilsen. Light in body and clean in taste.
Most are malty with a well-balanced, dry finish.
Varieties: Oktoberfest lager (Marzen), bock and doppelbock and dunkel.
Commonly referred to as "steam beer," which refers to fermentation at higher temperatures. Toasty, malty flavor.