Lager, Porter, Stout: 12 Different Beer Blends & Styles
Image Credit: Options galore for Indian beer enthusiasts today as many new varieties make their way into the country's brewery sector. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

India's beer scene has come a long way in recent years, with a plethora of styles and flavours now available to suit every palate. As a beer enthusiast, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer variety of options on offer. Fear not, this guide will help you navigate the diverse world of beer styles available in India, ensuring that you can make informed choices and discover new favourites.

1. Lager

Lager is the most popular beer style in India, and for good reason. Characterised by its crisp, clean taste and refreshing finish, lagers are brewed using bottom-fermenting yeast at colder temperatures. This results in a beer that is light in colour and easy to drink. Some popular Indian lagers include Kingfisher, Haywards 5000, and Carlsberg.

2. Pilsner

Originating from the Czech Republic, pilsners are a type of lager that boast a more pronounced hop flavour and aroma. They are typically golden in colour and have a slightly bitter finish. If you're looking for an Indian pilsner to try, Bira 91's Boom Classic is a great option.

3. Wheat Beer

Wheat beers, also known as 'weizens' or 'witbiers', are brewed with a significant proportion of wheat, which imparts a distinctively smooth and creamy mouthfeel. These beers often have fruity and spicy notes, making them a refreshing choice for warm Indian summers. Some popular wheat beers available in India include Bira 91 White, Simba Wit, and White Rhino Wit.

4. Pale Ale

Pale ales are characterised by their balanced malt and hop flavours, with a moderate bitterness and a fruity, floral aroma. They are typically amber in colour and have a medium body. If you're looking to explore Indian pale ales, try the likes of Bira 91's India Pale Ale, Simba Strong, or White Rhino's Indian Pale Ale.

5. India Pale Ale (IPA)

IPAs were originally brewed in England for export to India, with a higher hop content to preserve the beer during the long journey. Today, IPAs are known for their bold hop flavours, ranging from citrusy and floral to piney and resinous. They are often higher in alcohol content and have a more pronounced bitterness than pale ales. Some Indian IPAs to try include Eight Finger Eddie by Goa Brewing Co., Punk IPA by BrewDog, and Toit's Colonel IPA.

6. Stout

Stouts are dark, rich beers that often feature roasted malt flavours, with notes of coffee, chocolate, and caramel. They can range from dry and bitter to sweet and creamy, depending on the brewing process and ingredients used. If you're looking to try an Indian stout, consider Arbor Brewing Company's Dark Horse or Simba Stout.

7. Porter

Porters are similar to stouts in their dark colour and roasted malt flavours, but they tend to be lighter in body and less intense in flavour. They often have a subtle sweetness and a smooth, velvety mouthfeel. To sample an Indian porter, try White Rhino's Black or Independence Brewing Company's Shadow.

8. Belgian-style Ales

Belgian-style ales are known for their complex flavours, which can include fruity, spicy, and earthy notes. They are often brewed with unique yeast strains that impart distinctive characteristics to the beer. Some popular Belgian-style ales available in India include Witlinger's Belgian Wheat Ale, Bira 91's Strong, and Gateway Brewing Co.'s White Zen.

9. Craft Beers

The craft beer movement has taken India by storm, with numerous microbreweries and brewpubs popping up across the country. These establishments often experiment with unconventional ingredients and brewing techniques, resulting in unique and innovative beer styles. Some notable Indian craft breweries include Toit, Arbor Brewing Company, and Independence Brewing Company.

10. Seasonal and Limited Edition Beers

These special-release beers often showcase local ingredients, unique brewing techniques, or festive themes, providing beer enthusiasts with exciting and exclusive options to try. Keep an eye out for announcements from your favourite breweries, and don't miss the opportunity to sample these limited-time offerings. Try the Great State Aleworks' Mango Saison, Independence Brewing Company's Oktoberfest Lager, and Simba's Winter Lager to savour the seasonal blends.

11. Fruit-infused Beers

These beers are brewed with the addition of fruit or fruit extracts, resulting in a burst of natural fruit flavours and aromas that complement the beer's base style. Fruit-infused beers can range from light and crisp to rich and complex, making them an appealing choice for those looking to explore new flavour profiles. Some fruit-infused beers to try: White Owl's Strawberry Cider, Bira 91's Malabar Stout with coffee and coconut, and Medusa Beverages' Guava Beer.

12. Barrel-aged Beers

Barrel-aged beers are aged in wooden barrels, often previously used for spirits or wine, which imparts unique flavours and characteristics to the beer. The ageing process can result in notes of vanilla, oak, and even hints of the original spirit or wine. Barrel-aged beers are typically richer and more complex, making them ideal for sipping and savouring. Some Indian barrel-aged beers to look out for include Arbor Brewing Company's Barrel-Aged Dark Horse, Independence Brewing Company's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine, and Toit's Barrel-Aged Saison.

With the ever-growing variety of beer styles available in India, there's never been a better time to be a beer enthusiast. By familiarising yourself with the different beer styles available, you can confidently explore new brews and expand your palate. So, the next time you find yourself at a bar or beer shop, don't hesitate to try something new – you might just discover your new favourite beer.