From lagers and floral IPAs to puckering sour ales and pumpkin-flavored pilsner, there can be a seemingly unlimited number of options available at your restaurant or bar. Knowing what certain styles of beer taste and look like can make narrowing down a recommendation a lot easier. Here’s how to break down beer styles to help you sound like a seasoned pro.

Belgian beers span pale ales, dark ales, fruity beers, and sour ales. These beers carry a fruity, spicy, and sweet flavor profile with high alcohol content and low bitterness.

India Pale Ale
India Pale Ales (IPAs), have flavor characteristics that can range from bitter to herbal to citrus and fruity depending on the type of hops used when brewing.

Lagers are made with bottom-fermenting yeast that has a lower tolerance to alcohol. They generally have a light and a little malty flavor.

Pale Ale
Pale ales are usually hoppy, malty, and medium-bodied, but carry a lower alcohol content than IPAs.

Pilsners, fall under the lager category, have a pale golden color and a crisp flavor.

Porters are dark in color like stouts due to common ingredients and tend to taste less like coffee than stouts, with more of a chocolatey feel.

Sour beer has shot up in popularity in the U.S. over the last few years and has a highly tart flavor.

Stouts are sweet, full-bodied dark ales that can suggest flavors of coffee-and-cream or sweetened espresso.

Wheat beers rely on wheat for the malt ingredient, which gives the beverage a light color and a lower alcohol level. The flavor profile of these beers can range from funky and tangy to notes of bread.