Last weekend, my advanced Sommelier class to a break from wine study, and we spent the day reviewing beer, cider and sake. As we worked our way through over twenty beers, it was evident that there is some confusion as to beer styles, versus beer types. Read on, and hopefully I'll make myself clear.
The two acknowledged types of of beer are Ale and Lager. Ales are fermented using top fermenting yeasts. These yeasts are no doubt, relatives of the yeasts found in the foaming heads of early beers. the yeasts ferment on top of the beer (or wort) at relatively high temperatures (59 to 68 degrees) for a few days to a week. These top fermenting yeasts leave behind complex esters and sugar, due to their inefficiency. These leftovers result in the complex flavors of ales. Ales generally have a more robust taste than lagers, and are best consumed cool (45 degrees)