13 Beer Brands You Should Try

If you're thirsty for something more than a mug of suds, here's a quick tutorial on several major types and brands of beer that ought to elevate your brew.

By Meaghan Cameron
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    Bass Pale Ale

    Brand from: Samlesbury in Preston, England
    Beer category: Anglo American-Ale
    Beer type: Premium Bitter ESB (extra special bitter)
    Alcohol content: 5%
    One can find many bitter beers in English breweries. Premium Bitters are stronger in alcohol—above 4.8%. Bass is a classic example of this variety. Bass is amber with a toasty flavor and light enough to sip all evening (responsibly).

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    Brand from: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California
    Beer category: Anglo American-Ale
    Beer type: American Pale Ale
    Alcohol content: 5.6%
    Light and at the same time complex, this beer is considered by many to exemplify this variety of beer. It showcases a balanced combination of subtly sweet malt and mildly bitter hops.


    Brand from: Brasserie dOrval inFlorenville - Villers-d.-Orval, Belgium
    Beer category: Belgian Style Ales
    Beer type: Belgian Ale
    Alcohol content: 6.2%
    Beers that qualify as this style rarely fit neatly into beer categories. Color can range as can acidity, malt levels, hoppiness and yeastiness. Though the alcohol is generally under 7%. Orval, unlike other Trappist breweries, only makes one ale available to the public. Between the first and second fermentation the beer also undergoes additional dry-hopping process resulting in a extra-dry, hoppy beer.

    St. Bernardus Abt. 12

    Brand from: St. Bernard Brouwerij in Watou, Belgium
    Beer category: Belgian Style Ales
    Beer type: Abt/Quadrupel
    Alcohol content: 10.5%
    Abt, or quadrupel, is the name given to ultra-strong Trappist and abbey ales. Alcohol is very high commonly for both. This brew is the highest in alcohol content, 10.5%, so St. Patrick's day imbibers beware. Most wines are between 13-15%. This is a dark, fruity and smooth beer.

    Stella Artois

    Brand from: InBev Belgium in Leuven, Belgium
    Beer category: Lagers
    Beer type: Pale Lager
    Alcohol content: 5.2%
    Pale Lagers are probably one of the best known types of beer, including the drinkable but predictable Budweisers, Heinekens, and Coronas. Stella Artois has a nice yeasty aroma and a clean flavor; get it from a freshly tapped keg for the best taste.


    Brand from: Brauerei Pinkus Müller inMünster, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
    Beer category: Lagers
    Beer type: Classic German Pilsner
    Alcohol content: 5.2%
    German Pilsners come in two varieties, northern and southern. The golden pilsner was developed in Pilsen, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), in the mid-19th century. Pinkus describes their organic Ur Pils as golden in color well balanced, bright hops and fresh malt.

    Sam Adams Boston Lager

    Brand from: Boston Beer Company in Boston, Massachusetts USA
    Beer category: Lagers
    Beer type: Premium Lager
    Alcohol content: 4.9%
    Premium Lagers fall between mainstream Pale Lager and Pilsner and are deep gold to bronze in color. Sam Adams is created by 'decoction mash, a time consuming, traditional four vessel brewing process' which is no longer used in many breweries, says samueladams.com. This beer is a perennial favorite and can be found just about anywhere.


    Brand from: Brouwerij Hoegaarden (InBev) inHoegaarden, Belgium
    Beer category: Wheat Beers
    Beer type: Belgian White
    Alcohol content: 5%
    Belgian Whites are pale and cloudy with distinctive coriander and orange flavors; Hoegaarden is a classic example of the type. Drinkers pronounce it as refreshing. This is what you want from a beer that won't weigh you down. As easy to drink as Bud but bursting with flavor.

    Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier

    Brand from: Boston Beer Company inBoston, Massachusetts
    Beer category: Wheat Beers
    Beer type: Fruit Beer/Witbier
    Alcohol content: 5.5%
    A fruit beer is any beer brewed with the addition of fruit. In this case, blackberries are married with the citrus style of the whitbier. Great wild-blackberry flavors dominate with the first sip of this beer, which then mellows out on the finish.

    Lindemans Framboise

    Brand from: Brouwerij Lindemans in St Pieters Leeuw-Vlezenbeek, Belgium
    Beer category: Wheat
    Beer type: Lambic - Fruit
    Alcohol content: 2.5%
    Real Lambics are brewed only in Brussels in the Senne Valley. Raspberry, or framboise, is the traditional fruit used, along with cherry. Lindemans Framboise is among the most popular. This sparkling brew is low in alcohol and very refreshing.

    Samuel Adams Winter Lager

    Brand from: Boston Beer Company inBoston, Massachusetts
    Beer category: Wheat Beers
    Beer type: Weizen Bock
    Alcohol content: 5.8%
    Weizen bocks are brewed with heavily malted wheat and consequently are great as late winter/early spring brews-perfect for a chilly St. Patrick's Day evening! Cinnamon and toasty spices dominate.

    Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout

    Brand from: Samuel Smith in Tadcaster, England
    Beer category: Stouts and Porters
    Beer type: Stout
    Alcohol content: 5%
    'Originally a drink for lactating mothers,' is the way the description of this cousin to Guinness (arguably the most famous stout) starts. A small addition of oats give it it's name. Flavors of rich, dark chocolate dominate in this smooth, satisfying beer.

    Road Dog Porter

    Brand from: Flying Dog Brewery inFrederick, Maryland
    Beer category: Stouts and Porters
    Beer type: Porter
    Alcohol content: 6%
    Porters are often confused with stouts. Stouts are drier than porters because they use roasted unmalted barley as opposed to the roasted malted barley that porters use, according to thebeerofthemonthclub.com. The difference resides in the residual sugars, and the many varieties will range in sweetness. This porter was the brewery's first to be illustrated by Ralph Steadman who is best known for the art he created for Hunter S. Thompson. The bitter coffee and malty chocolate flavors make this a good choice for a dessert under 200 calories!


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