Welcome to the most comprehensive guide to the growing range of beer styles found across Europe and beyond – their origins, differences and how to spot the best – compiled for consumers by the European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU).
This guide to beer styles is completely independent, compiled and maintained without assistance from sponsorship or advertising.
European ways of making beer dominated global brewing for centuries before the outbreak of war in 1914, yet by 1975 most heritage brewing had become a thing of the past. As industrial combines took over the beer trade, the focus turned away from making local beers with flavour, to creating cheaply made, familiar brands.
However, against the odds and led by a consumer push, the last 20 years have seen independent, smaller scale, flavour-driven breweries spring up all around the world. By Spring 2020 the total was nearing 30,000, of which roughly 30% were in Europe. Local brewing has returned and character is the new governor of success.
At the heart of this beer revival, and the feature most likely to guarantee its lasting success, is the return of beers made in different ways, some marking the return of authentic heritage beer styles, others the emergence of new ways inspired by all traditions and none. Become familiar with these and you will understand the world of beer today.
The beer styles are grouped by the hierarchy below.
- WHAT IS A BEER STYLE?
- INDUSTRIAL LAGERS
- AUTHENTIC LAGERS
- THE WORLD OF ALE
- SESSION STRENGTH ALES
- SAMPLING STRENGTH ALES
- SIPPING STRENGTH ALES
- SPECIFIC STYLE CLUSTERS
- REGIONAL SPECIALITIES