There’s a whole world of beer styles out there, with some inevitably getting more love than others. Macro lager bestsellers abound, racking up sales for commercial breweries year after year. IPAs continue to make waves in the craft beer industry, although growth is starting to decelerate. These beers are go-tos for a reason: Light, crisp macro lagers and hoppy, citrusy IPAs are palate-pleasers for longtime beer drinkers and newbies alike.
Maybe you’re in the camp that the classics are classic for a reason. Maybe you’re drawn to more obscure craft brews. Or maybe, you have no idea what to choose when you’re scanning the beer aisle at the grocery store or checking out the draft beer list at a local brewery.
Looking for a second opinion on what beers you should be giving more love? VinePair consulted a panel of brewing pros to weigh in on the beer styles they think people should be ordering more. Read on for their picks.
The Beers People Should Order More, According to Brewers:
- Light lager
- German style pilsner
- Mild ale
- Classic styles
- Blonde ale
“A beer style I wish people ordered more of are lagers. Its traditional style can be appreciated by craft beer aficionados as well as those who like ‘beer-flavored beer.’ Our choice lager is our Tenn Gold lager. It’s crushable and great for every season.” —Kels Arntzen, production manager, TailGate Brewery, Nashville
“I would love for more people to order more unique lagers being made by brewers, rather than just a German-style pils or standard lager. There are some really fun things going on with dry-hopping lagers. These are not India pale lagers, but rather lager styles that are either classic or new and employ more modern hops and dry-hopping techniques. We have a couple pilot beers in development for draft release later this year. There’s an Italian pilsner, which is a dry-hopped style becoming popular in the Pacific Northwest, and a collaboration beer with our friends at Reuben’s in Seattle that’s a modern twist on Oktoberfest.” —Jamie Floyd, co-founder & founding brewer, Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene, Ore.
“The beer styles I wish people ordered more are German-style pilsners and light lagers. I like drinking them and making them. In my opinion, they are the hardest beers to make well. Being so light and clean, it is hard to mask any imperfections. They take longer to make but are well worth the wait.” —Rudy Borrego, head brewer, Snake River Brewing, Jackson, Wyo.
“The beer I wish people ordered more would be our north German pilsner, Wishing Star. This pilsner is crisp, dry, quaffable, and has a pleasant bitterness. The aromatics jump from the glass with spicy, herbal, and floral notes from Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops. This beer is awesome with food and even better with company.” —Shane Cummings, head brewer, Highland Brewing Company, Asheville, N.C.
“As society and drinking trends move towards sessionability and lower-calorie options, mild ale deserves its shot in the spotlight. Everyone knows that IPAs continue to dominate beer real estate, and now their ‘session,’ low-calorie siblings are making a big impression on the market as well. A switch to the maltier end of the spectrum is a nice change of pace to the nuances and flavors derived from beer’s primary ingredient, malted barley, outside of water. Sophie’s Mild from Confluence Brewing Company is an excellent example of how a dark, lower-ABV, malt-forward beer can provide a caramel-y delight with a slight touch of roast. It’s all the things you want in an easy-drinking option that stands apart from the light and hoppy options on the market.” —Blake Jarolim, head brewer & operations, COOP Ale Works, Oklahoma City
“I’d like to see more of our new generation of beer drinkers exploring the classic styles, including modern classics. Like so many other brewers, I cut my teeth on bottles like Chimay and St. Bernardus Abt 12 — they opened my eyes to a world of beer out there. At the same time, I was loving on modern classics like Allagash White, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Russian River Consecration. I urge folks to check out these beers and those like it. … You’ll see where we’re coming from.” —Thor Stoddard, breadth manager, Reuben’s Brews, Seattle
“I’m a huge fan of English-style pub ales, particularly mild ales, pale ales, and golden ales. These beers are a beautiful showcase of some of my favorite malts, while the hops tend to be a little less forward than their American counterparts. These styles are perfect in both balance and drinkability, and they pair well with pretty much any meal or activity. As a brewer, I approach these beers as a return to brewing tradition. These styles have been around for centuries and have paved the way for modern beers to evolve into what they are today. I recommend the Hanley’s Peerless Ale from here at Narragansett. This beer is easy drinking and complex. It’s malt-forward on the palate without being heavy, with just a touch of bitterness from the English East Kent Golding hops.” —Lee Lord, head brewer, Narragansett Beer, Providence, R.I.
“I wish people would order more stouts. Often, I hear people say, ‘Oh, I don’t like dark beer’ or ‘Dark beer? Oh no, I’ll get too drunk.’ I say, ‘Don’t judge a beer by its color.’ Dark beer — or in this case, stouts — can range from lower ABV like Guinness (which is 4.2 percent — the same ABV as Bud Light) to 10 percent or more. I would suggest that every time you have the opportunity, try a stout. Give it a shot. Who knows? You just might end up falling in love. My Favorite is Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout.” —Jason Salas, director of brewing operations, New Holland Brewing Co., Holland, Mich.
“Our Southern Girl Blonde. It’s super light and enjoyable for anyone, even non- ‘craft-beer’ people. But if it were up to me, I’d brew stouts and porters. Our Special Brownies Chocolate Stout has a special place in my heart.” —Andy Blake, brewer, Sycamore Brewing, Charlotte, N.C.
“It befuddles me why more people do not order sour beers. Although many breweries have dabbled in sour beers in recent years, only a select few around the world do it exceptionally well. There can often be an incredible level of complexity, especially when long periods of wood-aging are involved.” —Evan Fritz, owner & brewer, Cross Keys Brewing Co., Williamstown, N.J.