Ales: Ale is a parent category of beer. It is a beer with top fermenting yeast. Because it is fermented at warmer temperatures than lagers, it tends to give fruitier results to the beer.
• Abbey ale: Is brewed the traditional Belgian Trappist monasteries ways. They tend to be quite strong and fruity. Some traditional varieties are dubbel and tripel. However, it seems as though many loop holes have allowed major players to use this designation by association in some way or another, so much in fact (not that it was of scandalous proportions) that in 1999, a “Certified Belgian Abbey Beer” (Erkend Belgisch Abdijbier) logo  was introduced by the Union of Belgian Brewers to indicate beers brewed under license to an existing or abandoned abbey, as opposed to other abbey-branded beers which are marketed using other implied religious connections, such as a local saint. The requirements for registration under the logo include the monastery having control over certain aspects of the commercial operation, and a proportion of profits going to the Abbey or its designated charities. Monastic orders other than the Trappists can be and are included in this arrangement*
1. Beer Paradise on “Recognized Abbey Beer” (Dutch Language)
2. “Beer made in Belgium: Abbey beer”. Beer.made.in. Retrieved 2011-01-13
3. Adam Lindgreen, Joëlle Vanhamme, Michael B. Beverland (2009). Memorable Customer Experiences: A Research Anthology. Gower Publishing, Ltd. p. 77. ISBN 0566088681.Retrieved 2011-01-13.
4. “Michael Jackson’s Beer Hunter – Belgium’s Great Beers”. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
*1999 Certification specification comes from Wikipedia.
• Altbier: Is a copper-colored German ale that originated in Dusseldorf. It historically preceded lager because as an ale, it eventually started to be fermented at lower temperature. That’s how and why it is considered the predecessor of Lager yet remains an Ale. Altbier literally, “old beer” in German.
• Amber: Is just like a pale ale only it is brewed with a darker malt known as crystal malts which tend to ive a darker result of the beer. Crystal malts are roasted differently giving them a toffee-like taste. Another interesting aspect of crystal malts is that when the malt is kilned, the sugar crystals caramelize making them unfermentable which collaborates to the sweeter feel of such beers.
• Barleywine: It’s not wine. It’s a British-style, very strong ale ranging from 8-12 % alcohol by volume which tends to be the alcohol level of wine.
• Biere de Garde: The key word is Garde, not like that of a knight or guard but as in “keeping”. Biere de Garde is a malt and strong French-style ale brewed in the Pas-de-Calais region of France. It was often brewed in winter time and early spring to avoid issues with yeast then corked and, much like wine, cellared and aged to be consumed later in the year.
• Bitter: A British-style pale ale with a high hop content. It’s more an expression than an actual beer style. Consumers referred to Pale Ale as Bitter when it first came out because of its less noticeably hoppy style.
• Blanche: See Wheat beer
• Blonde: See Pale beer
• Brown ale: A mild, brown beer, usually low in alcohol. Originally, it was made from 100% brown malt. Today these beers tend to remain low in alcohol yet tastier such as caramel or chocolaty.
• Cream ale: Cream ales have more than one definition. They are often referred to as sweet golden American-style beer. One definition pertains to the packaging process of the beer where it is pressurized with nitrogen for a tap-like beer result. But the traditional definition is oriented towards the process upon which it is brewed. Creamy ales are top fermented then cold-conditioned like that of a lager, resulting in a creamy and cleaner beer with less of a fruity taste. Lager yeasts, corn or rice are sometimes added to the cold-conditioning.
• Framboise: It seems as though Framboise Belgian-style beers are ales but one can suppose that lagers could also be made with raspberries. Many more fruits such as currents, peach and apricots can be incorporated in the brewing process yet it seems as though Framboise is the only one that earned its distinct name.
• Hefeweizen: Literally, “yeast wheat” in German. An unfiltered wheat beer that is bottle conditioned and cloudy when served.
• Helles: See “Pale” in German. Pale beer.
• Indian Pale ale (IPA): Is pretty much the same as a Pale Ale, except that it tends to be less fruity yet hoppier. The “Indian” specification comes from the fact that these beers were essentially brewed for export to British soldiers in India.
• Kolsch: Kolsh is light and golden. This German ale originated in Cologne. It is warm fermented yet cooled off like a lager would. Kolsch is a specification that was given to this brew style by the Cologne Brewery Association.
• Kriek: A Belgian-style beer made with cherries.
• Lambic: Ah, the wild one! Lambic is a Belgian ale that spontaneously ferments with wild yeast in the air in the brewery. It is pretty much brewed exclusively in the Pajottenland region of Belgium (southwest of Brussels) and in Brussels itself at the Cantillon Brewery and Museum. Its fermentation is considered unconventional as it is left to air with wild yeast which somehow ends up creating a bacterial culture; a process which has come to be known for its distinctive sour taste and aroma.
• Marzen: Literally, “March” in German, which is the month the beer is brewed for consumption the following fall. A malty lager that originated in Germany, Marzen is traditionally brewed for Oktoberfest. It is also referred to as an Oktoberfest.
• Mead: A fermented beverage made from honey.
• Mild: An English-style beer that is dark in color but mild in alcoholic content.
• Old Ale: A British-style ale that is medium strong and dark. It was aged, much like Biere de Garde but also often intended for pubs. These types of beers were often mixed with mild ale and / or aged enough so that a second fermentation process would occur. Pubs often mixed mild and old ales and created what would also become named as “Stock Ale”.
• Pale ale: Is an English-style bitter, hoppy, medium-bodied beer. One of the most popular beer types in the world. It tends to be full in red fruit flavor and although can sometimes be bronzy or even reddish, it was in quite lighter than most beers at one time.
• Porter: Porters are the predecessors of Stouts. In fact, Guinness’ Extra Stout used to be called Extra Superior Porter. Brewed in London for the porters. It is an English style dark Ale that tends to be chocolaty. They often have refreshing hop bitterness.
• Red ale: See Amber.
• Saison: Saison is a lower alcohol Belgian-style ale that is mildly sour with spices or herbs and which usually is brewed for spring. These beers were brewed in the later part of autumn and intended for summer consumption by farmers. With water being short and all, this beer was often the only thing that came between farmers and hydration. Initially, they only had a 3% alcohol level; one of the reasons why it had to be brewed in winter. But nowadays the alcohol level can reach 5-8% and these ales are now brewed all year round. The only difference between today’s Saison and then is the yeast used today comes from Saison Dupond, a perfectionist of this style, which is particular to fermenting at much higher temperatures (29 to 35 degrees C) than your average ales (18 to 24 degrees C)
• Scotch Ale: A Scottish-style malty, copper-colored strong ale that was given its name for its export from Edingburgh. These beers tend to be quite stronger with an alcohol level of 7% to 8%. A toffee hint can be detected from the caramelizing of the malt by direct fired copper. These beers are also known as “Wee Heavy” in the USA yet in Scotland, Wee Heavy ales are quite less in alcohol levels (5% – 6%).
• Scottish Ale: A Scottish-style ale that is less alcoholic than its Scotch ale cousin.
• Seasonal beer: A beer brewed for a specific season of the year, such as an Octoberfest or winter warmer. See Saison.
• Session beer: Historically this beer term described a type of beer that one would consume during the drinking hours allowed in Britain. Given that drinking periods of 4 hours were determined as legal drinking time, the idea was that people selected a beer, crisp and perfect in flavor that could be consumed as often as possible during the time period without getting completely smashed!!! And so, a session beer should be, in theory, low in ABV, light crisp yet flavorful enough, not too much so that one couldn’t stomach more than 2-3 beers. I suppose, by my definition, a pitcher of beer (like Coors Light) is a decent session beer.
• Stout: Is actually the first name for porters. It is blackish and brown and made with dark-roasted malts just like Porters. The difference between Porter and Stout are little, in fact, their evolution is often intertwined when looking it up in beer history. Traditionally, a stout was the name of the hardest and stoutest of porters. In other words, if we go with this theory then a Porter is a mild stout. A Stout is considered an Irish / English beer that tends to be sweeter. Also quite popular is an Imperial stout; a very strong, hoppy black ale, originating for export to Czarist Russia.
• Trappist Ale: These types of ales are strong ales made at one of the last seven brewing Trappist monasteries in Belgium and The Netherlands. They are widely regarded as the finest beers in the world. Trappist derives from La Trappe, France.
• Vegan beer: It is not so much the definition of vegan beer that needs clearing up. Vegan beer, is beer that is vegan. You got that! But when someone reads this, their first reaction is usually; “isn’t beer vegan to begin with?” The answer is yes, unless you are referring to a lactose stout which comes from milk, which comes from cow. However, the filtering process for many beers is one that involves animal products. Not many breweries divulge their filtering process but I do know that byproducts of fish is known to be used. There are a few breweries who do. Just goggle vegan beers and a decent amount should show up, where ever you live.
• Wheat beer, Weizenbier, Witbier, White, Blanche: They all mean ale that is brewed with raw wheat along with barley. Because wheat beers are light beer with peachy and apple flavors, they often make great summer beers. They have a yeasty aroma and a creamy head. Some tend to have spices added either by the brewer or by the consumer like a slice of orange or lemon.
• Wit Beer: The Belgian version of wheat beer brewed with coriander and curacao orange peel.