How To Order A Beer At A Bar Like A Pro

Ordering a beer at a bar might seem straightforward, but a few tips and tricks can help you order like a pro. So whether you're a beer enthusiast or just looking to impress your friends, here are some things to remember when ordering a beer at a bar.

Before you approach the bar, it's essential to know what kind of beer you like. Do you prefer light beers or dark beers? Do you like hoppy beers or malty beers? Knowing your preferences will make navigating the beer menu easier and increase your chances of choosing a beer you'll enjoy. Don't just ask for "a beer" or "whatever's on tap." Instead, ask for a specific beer by name, or describe the style of beer you're looking for. This will help the bartender make recommendations and ensure you get a beer you'll enjoy. Feel free to ask for a taste if you need clarification on a beer or want to try something new. Most bartenders will gladly give you a small beer sample before you commit to a full glass.

Ales to know

There are many different styles of beer, each with its own unique characteristics and flavors, but all fall into one of two categories: ale or lager. Ale is a type of beer that is brewed using top-fermenting yeast strains at warmer temperatures than lagers. The yeast used in ales ferments more quickly and at higher temperatures, resulting in a beer that is often characterized by a more complex and robust flavor profile. Ales can range in color from pale gold to dark brown, and in alcohol content from around 3% to over 10% ABV.

Pale Ale is a light-colored beer, typically hoppy with a moderate alcohol content. Its cousin, India Pale Ale (IPA), is a bitter beer with high alcohol content. It is often characterized by its floral, citrusy, or piney aromas. IPAs that contain extra hops and malt can be called Double IPA or Triple IPA, and are typically a higher ABV than regular IPAs. Wheat beer is a light-colored beer that is often cloudy in appearance due to the inclusion of unfiltered wheat grain.

Brown Ale is a malty beer that is typically brown in color and has a nutty or caramel flavor. Brown ales are medium to full-bodied and have a moderate alcohol content. Stout is a dark, rich beer that is often described as having a roasted or coffee-like flavor. It is typically made with roasted barley and has a thick, creamy head. Guinness is the most popular example of a classic stout beer. 

Lagers to know

Lager beer is known for its crisp, clean taste and is characterized by its light to medium body and pale to amber color. Lager beers can range from light, refreshing styles like Pilsner to darker, richer styles like Bock and Dunkel. Some of the world's most popular beers, including Budweiser, Heineken and Coors, are lagers. Pilsner, brewed in both the Czech and American styles, has grown popular recently due to it's high drinkability and crisp, refreshing taste. Pilsners are brewed using a specific type of hops called Saaz hops, which give the beer its distinctive flavor and aroma. They are typically brewed with a combination of malted barley and sometimes other grains, and are known for their dry, clean finish. Pilsners are generally light to medium-bodied and have an alcohol content of around 4-5% ABV.

There are hundreds of regional varieties of beer around the world, but knowing the most popular types will give you more than enough choice at your average bar. It's also useful to know which types of beer you like so that if you encounter a draft menu where you don't recognize any of the brands, you can just ask the bartender to pour you a pilsner, stout or IPA according to your preference.