Definitive examples of beer types

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by RobertP, Nov 16, 2020.

  1. RobertP

    RobertP Initiate (29) May 21, 2015 Florida

    If I want to develop taste familiarity what are some readily available brands of beer that you consider to be solid, fat part of the bell curve examples of their type - ale, lager, pilsner, etc. I.e. - if you're familiar with the taste of BrandX ale you have a good handle on what an ale is about.

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  2. Junior

    Junior Crusader (741) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Ales and lagers encompass such a broad spectrum of beers. I guessing that you are looking for good examples of given beer styles. Do you have a few styles that you are most interested in? A good way to find examples of the various styles is to look a the most popular or Top Rated for each style listed on the Beer Styles page here. The most popular will likely be relatively easy to find while the Top Rated may be a little hard to come by.
  3. RobertP

    RobertP Initiate (29) May 21, 2015 Florida

    I'm about to embark on brewing beer for the first time using a Brewdemon, but I've never been much of a drinker and don't really know much about beer other than I generally like the flavor so I'm trying to become more aware.
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  4. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,863) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    For many beer styles there is no easy answer to your question for a typical commercial beer that could be an example of a style. To me there is a fairly narrow spectrum for stouts/porters such as Bell's Kalamazoo Stout or Founders Stout, but when you look at IPAs or Pale Ales, the taste of beers in these these two styles will vary wildly because of the prominence of the flavor of the hops that are used.

    There are so many varieties of hops, some of which have a flavor that is so unique and used in beers that you can't say that there is a 'typical' commercial beer in these two styles. Here, you almost have to look at the popularity of specific beers and then consider those beers as a 'standard' taste of the style, although saying a 'popular' taste of the style would be more correct.

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is so popular that I'd put it into the category of being a standard, yet, if you look at English-made pale ales that use different hops, you'll see that the difference is sizeable. (And the English created the style.) Or compare the SNPA with Three Floyds Zombie Dust, which is a pale ale that is a Citra hop bomb, there is no comparison to the taste of SNPA.

    Bell's Two Hearted Ale is a very popular beer and has been voted the best beer in America by homebrewers, and could be considered a taste standard for IPAs. It uses Centennial hops which is a popular variety with brewers and consumers when used in many other commercial beers. Yet, IPAs that use the Citra hop (I'm using that hop again because it is so unique in flavor that it helps me make my point) are also popular and you could say a Citra IPA should be the standard.

    The short answer to your question for all styles is that maybe you should look at the styles list that is posted above, then look at the commercial beers that are the most popular in that style, and consider those beers as being the 'standard'. And the most popular beers in those style lists will also be the easiest to find for you because they enjoy wide distribution.
  5. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,238) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Without going so far as to unrealistically say: "definitive," "the best" or "most influential"... but with giving weight to the "readily available" criterion, I'm limiting myself to beers that I can still pick up in my area without too much trouble:

    Fuller’s ESB
    Fuller’s London Porter
    Guinness Extra Stout

    Pilsner Urquell

    Köstritzer Schwarzbier
    Paulaner Salvator
    Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
    Schneider Weisse Aventinus
    Schlenkerla Märzen
    Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock
    Reissdorf Kölsch
    Spaten Lager

    Westmalle Dubbel
    Westmalle Tripel
    St. Bernardus Abt 12
    Rodenbach Grand Cru
    Saison Dupont
    Leffe Blonde

    Anheuser-Busch Budweiser
    Miller Lite
    Genesee Cream Ale
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
    Bell’s Oberon
    Bell’s Two Hearted
    Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
  6. BeRightBock

    BeRightBock Initiate (178) Apr 27, 2007 New York

  7. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,238) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    I should add that the above is capped at 8 per country. The biggest absences in my eyes are lambic and New England IPA. This is mainly an issue of availability in stores.

    For the NEIPA, one should probably just grab whatever local 16oz canned IPA states "New England" on the label - that might have better odds of working well (but not necessarily) than going with something that says "hazy," "tropical/juicy" or "milkshake." For lambic, just grab whatever you can that has either "lambic" or "gueuze/geuze" on the label that isn't made with fruit.

    If someone actually assembled most of the above as a mixed case with a few extra bottles (which is easily doable in my area), I think it would be a really great baseline for the wide-angle view of beer types.
  8. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Meyvn (1,167) Oct 17, 2012 Texas

    I would encourage you to check out the BJCP guidelines for style/s you're interested in.
    In addition to providing an outline of the style, visual, taste, aroma, etc. they list recommended commercial examples of each. They're typically fairly accessible. Check out the 'Beer Style Guidelines' link.

    This is the formal style guidelines on which beers in competition are judged against. It is certainly not the end-all-be-all and anything-else-is-wrong.
    For example, you'll notice that the American Pale Ale lists Sierra Nevada as an example. While, yes, that is certainly an example I think it's also fair to say that that's not how MOST APAs these days are brewed and that doesn't make them wrong or not to style.
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  9. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (653) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    In addition to the Beer Advocate styles page @Junior linked above, you could check out the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) beer style guidelines. They have has detailed descriptions and commercial examples of many different beer styles. It's comprehensive, but for a beginner the BJCP's style guidelines might be a little a overwhelming. There are many obscure and/or overlapping styles in the list, and grouping beer styles by region is sometimes useful and sometimes not. The BJCP's commercial beer examples are identified by experts though, whereas Beer Advocate's style examples are based on popular opinion (both can have their problems). But at any rate it's another point of reference.

    (Edit: @ilikebeer03 beat me to the BJCP while I was writing this!)
  10. imtroy703

    imtroy703 Devotee (417) Nov 13, 2009 Tennessee
    Society Trader

    You can ask me very specific Cream Ale Style questions as I have been knighted THE cream ale expert.
  11. beaulabauve

    beaulabauve Disciple (394) Aug 5, 2011 Louisiana

    Some books, like the Beer Bible, can give you an authors educated suggestions of difinitive beers related to styles. Heck, some of the people on this forum can do that as well.
  12. Brugesman

    Brugesman Initiate (73) Apr 22, 2020 California

    The BJCP guidelines noted above is my go-to resource. This is another good resource:

    Three commercial styles are listed at the bottom of the page for each style. Hardly definitive, but it's useful.
  13. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,783) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Op: can you guys help me change my tire?
    BA: so this is how tires are made, and you may want to read this blog about Goodyear and ford rubber farms.

    Except @zid :grinning:
  14. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (438) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    Funny, though this is more like, "I need a new tire, whta should I get?"
    A bit more information is needed - like for what vehicle, price etc.
    In the beer case, it's a bit of a wide open question, since aside from Pilner, those aren't exactly styles he mentioned. |I could talk about ||Stouts, he could be looking for IPA. I could talk about AAL, he;s looking for a schwarzbier or helles...
    THe BJCP guide does mention specific beers for each style.
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  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,778) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It has been discussed by several folks: the BJCP style guidelines provides commercial examples for each style of beer.

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  16. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,093) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Priceless photograph.
  17. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,803) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I think that guy taught Industrial Arts at my junior high in 1974! :slight_smile:
  18. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,093) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    The title of that ph
    The title of that photo could be "Contentment".
  19. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,783) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Excuses excuses. The dude asked for some guidance and the majority of the responses boil down to "go ask someone else".

    If I could add to what zid covered i would, but that's pretty comprehensive. I'd like to see Odell cut throat porter as a definitive porter. Bierstadt absolutely slayed marzen this year, beating even my beloved Ayinger.
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  20. Junior

    Junior Crusader (741) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Teach a man to change a tire on his own and he won’t get stranded with a flat tire.

    Mouse clicks are free and the references provided are more comprehensive.
    RobertP likes this.
  21. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (438) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    |But the point is, what exactly is he looking for? I could write a list of 100 beers that are representative of the styles, and still not get wht he's looking for. If he'd privided a couple styles, other than "lager" and "ale" it would be easier.
    He did mention |Pilsner, and there have been some good suggestions, but that's it.
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  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,107) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Oh, yeah? In NY? The stuff brewed under license by that Carib(I think?)-owned Florida Brewing Co.? Haven't seen any in NJ.

    EDIT - Not that it hasn't been discussed :grimacing: (complete with the NJ distributors' names in post #5, but, ya know, how can you believe some anonymous dude's post on the internet? :grin:)
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  23. RobertP

    RobertP Initiate (29) May 21, 2015 Florida

    That's okay, if the honest answer is "it's not that simple" and there's a lot more nuance involved than I'm aware of that's fine. The more info the better. There's plenty of examples like that in areas I've got some wider awareness in - like playing the trumpet. If for ex. someone says "Do I blow harder to play higher?" it's definitely not that simple. I appreciate all input.
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  24. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,783) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    What it boils down to is in your op you brought up ales and lagers. These are essentially the two families all beers fall into. But it would be nice to see some guys adding beers they feel exemplify a style instead of punting. Just my $0.02
  25. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,238) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Not sure where it's brewed on this side of the pond, but I didn't mean anything made in the UK. I still see it around. I'll take a closer look the next time I'm at a store with it.
    steveh likes this.
  26. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,803) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Been so long since I've had Mackeson -- love to try it again.
    KentT and zid like this.
  27. Lovingcraft

    Lovingcraft Initiate (15) Nov 20, 2020 New Hampshire

    Celebrator dopplebock. Been drinking db since 1984 and this is the best over here.
  28. defunksta

    defunksta Champion (897) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota

    I would second that. A few of traditional of mine are:

    Wheat: Oberon, Surly Hell
    American Lager: Hard to define a winner
    Witbier: Hoegaarden
    Saison: Saison Dupont, Apex Predator
    Czech Pilsner: Pilsner Urquell or Dakota Soul
    Festbier: Paulaner Oktoberfest
    California Common: Anchor Steam
    Amber: Alaskan Amber
    Pale Ale: Sierra Nevada or PseudoSue (depending on who you ask)
    IPA: Bell's Two Hearted (Midwest), Cigar City's Jai Alai (Juicy), or Stone IPA (West-coast)
    Porter/Stout: Bell's Porter, Great Lakes' Porter
    Scotch Ale: Founders' Dirty Bastard
    Barleywine: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
    Russian Imperial Stout: Northcoast Old Rasputin'
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  29. nuplastikk

    nuplastikk Initiate (103) Aug 28, 2008 Wisconsin

    Some repeats but a couple new ones. What is or was the definitive Black IPA?

    Rauchbier - Schlenkerla Marzen
    US Imperial Stout - Bells Expedition
    US Porter - Founders Porter
    West Coast IPA - Stone IPA
    Scotch Ale - McEwans Wee Heavy
    Scottish Ale - Belhaven Scottish Ale
    English Brown Ale - Samuel Smith Nut Brown
    Tripel - Westmalle Tripel
    Gueuze - Lindemans Oude Gueuze
    NE IPA/IIPA - I don't think there is a good national/international example
    Alt - Uerige Alt
    Kolsch - Reissdorf Kolsch
    Flemish Red - Rodenbach Classic
    Belgian Stout - Ellezelloise Hercule Stout
    Wit - Hoegaarden
    Bourbon Barrel Stout - Goose Island BCBS
    Quadrupel - St Bernardus 12
    American Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    Stout - Guinness Extra Stout
    Barleywine - Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
    Maibock - Hofbrau Maibock
    Doppelbock - Celebrator
  30. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (3,941) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    Much as it hurts my Cascadian outlook. I say Dogfish Head India Brown Ale
  31. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (3,941) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    I had Heidelburg once back in 2000 when i first got to Oregon it was just macro swill by then
  32. stosh66

    stosh66 Initiate (84) Jan 7, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Weihenstaphaner= Hefeweisse
    Lucular likes this.
  33. nuplastikk

    nuplastikk Initiate (103) Aug 28, 2008 Wisconsin

    Progenitor perhaps, but certainly not the definitive example of the style. I fear the definitive examples have been discontinued.
  34. nuplastikk

    nuplastikk Initiate (103) Aug 28, 2008 Wisconsin

    Pils - Pilsner Urquell
  35. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (3,941) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    Well Bad Santa from Pelican just got re-released..but its good but not definitive
  36. jaxon53

    jaxon53 Meyvn (1,176) Mar 1, 2006 Connecticut

    When I think of American porters, the first two examples that come to mind are Founders Porter, and Mayflower Porter.
    seakayak likes this.
  37. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Champion (842) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina

    The smile says it all.
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  38. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,783) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Wookie Jack was the quintessential Black IPA.

    US Imperial Stout - Ten Fidy
    US Porter - Odell Cutthroat Porter
    West Coast IPA - Comrade Superpower
    Brown Ale- Telluride Face Down Brown or Brown note.
    Tripel - Tripel Karmaleit
    Gueuze - Cantillion
    NE IPA/IIPA - Outer Range In the Steep
    Wit - DuPont White
    Bourbon Barrel Stout - Fremont Dark Star
    Quadrupel - St Bernardus 12
    American Pale Ale - Deschutes Mirror Pond
    Stout - Bristol Winter Warlock
    Barleywine - JW Lee's Harvest Ale
    Maibock - Prost Maibock
    Doppelbock - Celebrator