So you're at the liquor store gazing upon all the new beers in front of you and now that you have become the maverick you are you want to venture away from domestic beers into a new realm of craft beers but you’re overloaded with labels upon labels of different types of beers. IPA's, Stouts, Black Stouts, Malts, Wheat’s, Belgian Ales, Belgian Pale Ales, Imperials, Porters, and even seasonal / specialty so many you feel like your head is about to blow off and you are feeling a bit hesitant to ask because you don't want to look like a rookie. So here is a simple list of definitions of all types of craft beers to assist you. Good Hunting!

IPA:  Also known as English India Pale Ale (IPA's), American India Pale Ales (IPA's), Pale Ale and Double IPA's also known as Imperials. This is one of the most popular of the craft beers. 

  • English India Pale Ale (IPA)-  These beers were brewed with extra hops, mainly to endure long voyages by ship from England to India in order to keep the beer fresh in the 17th and 18th Century. Brewed with English hops these beers usually boasted a higher alcohol content which the British troops loved. Since the 18th Century the alcohol content has been subdued to more of medium alcohol content with a 5-7%  ABV. They have more of an earthy, woodsy, malt taste.
  • American India Pale Ale (IPA)- This is the American spin on the English IPA. This beer is brewed with more hops then that of the English IPA. It's hops can have more of a floral or fruity, citrus like flavor. Usually pale/medium gold to reddish color beer. It's ABV can range from 5.5%-7.5%
  • Pale Ale - This gets its name simply because its brewed with more lightly pale colored malts, which makes this lighter in color. The Pale Ale has a lower malt taste  with a higher bitterness from the hops. But because of the aromas of the hops blended with distinct taste of the malt it nicely balances out for a smooth finish. The ABV can range from 4%-7%.
  • Double IPA/Imperial- Also called the “Imperial” IPA, it is what it sounds like. It is brewed with double the hops and double the ABV of your normal IPA. The Arnold Schwarzenegger of the IPA’s. Although it is brewed with the same style as its siblings, its flavoring is robust and hoppy. Because of its higher ABV, you may taste the alcohol a bit more. This beer was originally brewed for the Russian Imperial Court in the late 1700’s.


  • Dry Stout, Irish Stout or Irish Dry Stout: One of the most typical stouts that comes to your mind when you think “stout”. It is rich in flavor. The dry Irish stout has a low carbonation, creamy, thick and black with a long lasting head. Slight bitterness that comes from the roasted barley and hops, though the roasted coffee flavor will be more noticeable. Examples of this style are Murphy's, Beamish, and Guinness.
  • Sweet Stout, Milk Stout, Cream Stout or Oyster Stout: Brewed with un-fermentable sugars this beer will have more of a sweet taste that goes well with the flavors of roasted grains. Sometimes hints of chocolate and coffee can be tasted. There is sometimes a mild fruitiness to it with low hops. It can vary in color from dark brown to black with a creamy tan head. Some examples of this type of beer are Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout (Lacto), Samuel Adams Cream Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout, Widmer Snowplow Milk Stout.