Expand Your Beer Horizons

The word "beer" is often used as a generic noun to describe a cold refreshing beverage. However, beer lovers around the world will heartily agree that there's nothing generic about beer.

In fact, world of beer gives you a multitude of options. It's impossible to say which type is best, because they all have very different characteristics. From stout to cider, and porter to pilsner, there really is something for everyone.

The method of brewing tends to be somewhat similar for most commercially produced beers. However, the names given to different styles of beer generally reflect individual characteristics of the product, such as where it originated. Different types of beer have unique qualities like appearance, taste, origin and aroma.

Some common favorites include these:

Lager: Some of the world's most popular beer brands are lagers. These include American styles including basic lager, all-malt lager, light lager, double pilsner, malt liquor and low-alcohol or "light" beers. Popular international choices include Czech, European, Japanese and German lagers.

Ale: American amber, brown ale, porter, strong, sour and wild ales are also common American beers. Also falling under the category of "Ales" are Chile Beer, Pumpkin Ale, Belgian and French ales, English, German, Irish, Finnish, Scottish and Russian ales.

Cider: Not a beer in the strictest sense of the word but most beer drinkers wouldn't mind it being called so. Favorites include standard cider, New England cider and many specialty ciders.

Hybrids: This term refers to experimental brewing methods and ingredients. Berbed, smoked, fruit and vegetable beer and spiced beer are all types of hybrids.

Those are the essentials that every serious beer drinker should have already ticked off their beer list. If you're a beer drinker, you're likely loyal to a tried and true brand, but remember that variety is the spice of life. Next time you're in a beer drinking mood, try something different.