Discover a different beer style with this Australian craft beer guide
Do you consider yourself a bit of a craft beer nut?
While many beer drinkers like to stick to their tried and tested style of beer, craft beer enthusiasts are often searching for new and unique beer types. Whether it’s a new mid-strength lager, or a more unique fruit style beer, Australian and international breweries are always releasing exciting new styles.
To help you discover a new unique beer style, follow this guide.
Ready to try a new and unique beer style?
The beer styles available in Australia are nearly endless, with each region and brewery bringing their own unique flavours to the table.
Here are some of the most common beer styles in Australia, along with a brief description of what they taste like. While you may know your favourite tastes and beer styles, why not change it up during your next run to your local bottle shop by purchasing some new beer types.
• Pale ale craft beer
Pale ale beers have a light or golden colour and are typically not too strong. The flavour of a pale ale can vary from crisp, fruity to malty with some hops bitterness in the finish.
Pale ale is one of the most popular beer types in Australia making it easy for anyone who likes beer to find what they like. We won’t go into too much info about pale ale as you’ve likely enjoyed one before and are familiar with the taste.
• IPA (India Pale Ale) craft beer style
IPA (known as an India Pale Ale) is a relatively new pale ale beer style that is becoming increasingly popular in Australia. It has a flavour profile similar to a common pale ale but with more bitterness and aroma hop flavours. The hoppiness of this beer type can vary depending on the brewer’s original recipe, as well as seasonal variations
IPA is typically brewed for export (hence its name) because hops are not native to India.
For those looking for something a little bit different from mainstream Australian craft breweries, try out some Indian Pale Ales!
• The Stronger IIPA craft beer
Similar to the IPA, Double IPA craft beer is a stronger and hoppier beer style that is becoming more and more popular in Australia. It’s a very strong beer, but this intensity comes with some complexity.
The Double IPA craft beer was created as an answer to the increasing demand for stronger beers from drinkers of American IPAs. The hoppiness of this type varies depending on the brewer; sometimes it can be less bitter than an IPA or even have no bitterness at all.
Double IPAs are commonly referred to as an Imperial India Pale Ale.
• NEIPA (New England India Pale Ale)
NEIPA craft beers are often loaded up on hops and are known to be hazy. These beers have a juicy and fruity character that is popular with beer drinkers nowadays!
This style of craft beer will often appear as though it has been unfiltered, but this isn’t the case: the cloudy appearance is due to yeast particles floating around in suspension. This type of “haze” was far more common before filtration became the widespread practice for West Coast USA breweries in the 1980s.
• Wheat beers
Wheat beers tend to have a lower alcohol content than most other styles, but they can also vary in strength depending on how much Weizenbier is used during brewing. Wheat beer has an almost spicy character and it’s often considered more refreshing than many other beer varieties.
There are commonly some residual sugars present after fermentation which end up giving this particular craft brew its signature flavour.
• Session ales
As the name implies, session ales are beers that are intended to be enjoyed in a single sitting. They’re typically lower-alcohol beer types, and they can vary greatly depending on the individual brewer’s taste preferences.
Session ales tend to have a bit of fruitiness or spiciness about them, which is often appreciated by drinkers who want something refreshing but not too intense. However, some session ales are also available in low alcohol varieties as well for those interested primarily in flavour rather than intoxication levels – perfect for beer drinking games.
The popularity of this beer type has grown quite a lot recently due to its easy-drinking nature – which is obviously a big draw card for Australian drinkers.
• Classic craft lager
A lager uses cool fermenting yeast which leaves behind less flavourful sugars and usually results in cleaner tasting beer without any strong aroma – though there are exceptions to this rule. It is known as a refreshing beer with crisper, cleaner flavours than other types of beers.
Classic craft lager uses the same malt base and methods for brewing as any standard German Pilsner – which means that it can be served chilled or at room temperature depending on preference.
This style tends to have more body than light lagers so if you want something lighter in flavour go for a pilsner instead!
The colour will vary from pale golden to gold and may even take on an amber hue when aged. The taste will usually be relatively clean but some bitterness should still come through allowing this beer type to really stand out against all others available these days.
• Craft pilsners
Pilsner beer styles are a clean and easy drinking option for craft beer lovers.
The flavour can also vary depending on where it’s brewed – some have more hops than others. In Australia, Pilsners are often brewed with four main ingredients – water, malt, hops and yeast. The flavour is commonly quite subtle making it very easy to drink.
If you’re looking for a lighter flavour in your craft beer, as opposed to the heavier tastes of beers like an India Pale Ale (IPA), then pilsners will be perfect for you.
• Kolsch craft beer styles
Easy drinking Kolsch beers are a staple at most craft breweries in Western Australia.
The flavour is similar to a pilsner but it has the added bonus of being made with ale yeast. It’s also far less carbonated, making it easier for those who may not tolerate bubbles well in their beer. Kolsch beers are perfect if you’re looking for something light and refreshing that won’t overwhelm your palate on hot days or after taste when drinking other craft beers.
Kolsch beers originated in Cologne, Germany where they were brewed as an easy-drinking summer beer – so they can be enjoyed anytime!
If you’d like to try this style at home, there are many online tutorials available showing how to brew them from scratch with easy-to-follow instructions. If you love home brewing, give Kolsch a try if you haven’t already.
• Sour ales
Definitely not the right beer for non-craft beer lovers, sour beers are for those who enjoy a beer with an intense and unique flavour.
Sour beers are fermented before being aged in oak barrels or large tanks, which gives them their signature tangy taste that is often described as vinegar-like. This might not sound appealing at first but if you’re into the sour experience then it’s worth giving these styles of craft beer a try!
Sour ale can be tart from fermentation, dry like wine because they have been barrel-aged, or sweetened to balance out some of the acidic properties.
There are many different types of sour ales available so make sure to do your research on what suits your palate best!
Commonly enjoyed in the cooler winter months, stouts are very dark in colour and have a high level of bitterness.
This beer style has been around since the 18th century and was originally made with British barley malt, hops from Kent, roasted unmalted barley for flavour and colour, and brewer’s yeast to provide fermentation. The alcohol content is commonly higher than other beers because these stouts are usually near-topped off by ale brewers in order to stop bacterial growth during the aging process. This means that some types of stout can be as strong as 12%+.
Savoury flavours such as coffee or whiskey are often added at certain stages of production which gives this popular beer type its distinctive taste! Stouts also have an opaque black appearance due to their heavy use of ingredients like dark malts and chocolate roast.
• Porter beer
Somewhat similar to a stout, the porter beer style has a dark brown or black appearance. It is characterized by its often medium-to-full body and roasted malt flavours, giving it an almost coffee-like taste.
This beer has undergone several variations over the years and today there are more than 150 different types of porter! There’s no way to describe all those variants but you can be sure that they were all made with one thing in mind: satisfying your thirst for delicious beer!
• Chocolate beer
Chocolate styled beer options provide a unique twist on the traditional beer styles. These chocolate beers have a rich, sweet flavour and are usually made with malts like wheat, oats or rye.
The malt is often roasted in order to give the beer its dark colour which can range from a deep brown to black depending on how long it has been brewed for and what style of beer it falls under.
If you’re looking for something more than just your average beer, try some of these great alternatives!
• Citrus beer
When looking for some acidity to cut through your beer, citrus style beers might be the perfect option.
Citrus beer is often made with staples such as hops, barley and yeast but also includes a citrus fruit in order to bring out its refreshing flavour.
Some popular examples of this style are White IPAs which use fresh grapefruit juice or an orange peel for added flavour!
• Fruity craft beer
As more and more craft breweries are seeking unique beer options, the popularity of fruity beers has grown.
Fruity beer can be made with a variety of different fruits, and are often light in flavour. This style is perfect for those looking to drink something refreshing or fruity without the sweetness.
Some popular examples include blueberry beer which combines blueberries with wheat malt and sometimes raspberries, as well as strawberry styles that include fresh strawberries!
• Low-alcohol beer options (light beers)
Looking for a lighter low alcohol beer option?
Lagers, pale ales and wheat beers are all great options for those looking for low alcohol beer. They can be found in most craft breweries across Australia – just be sure to look at the alcohol percentage before purchasing.
• Mid-strength craft beer
Craft breweries usually have a mid-strength beer option for those looking for a lighter beer.
The most common styles include lagers, pale ales and wheat beers. Mid-strength craft beer is usually between about two to four per cent alcohol by volume (ABV).
• High-alcohol craft beer
Want beer that will definitely get you drunk?
Craft breweries often provide high-alcohol beer options for those looking to drink beer that packs a punch. Some of the most popular styles include barley wines, imperial stouts and strong ales.
High-alcohol craft beers are usually between about five per cent ABV or higher in Australia.
• Alcoholic ginger beer
Everyone in Western Australia knows about Matso’s Ginger Beer. However, more and more local craft breweries are producing their own ginger beer styles, which usually come in at about 3.5% to 4% ABV.
The ginger beer style is usually substantially different to your mainstream beer styles in that it is carbonated and usually contains ginger, which gives it a spicy flavour.
Try a new craft beer style today
While there are many other beer styles out there, the above will help you discover some of Australia’s most popular beer styles.
Whether you’re visiting your favourite local brewery, beer venue or bottle shop, try something a bit more unique to find out what you enjoy.
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