What Is A Hybrid Beer? The 5 Different Types To Try
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The traditional belief that all beer is either an ale or a lager is not followed by hybrid beers. Rather, hybrids—which combine elements of both ale and lager—use brewing techniques from both styles of beer. For example, a lager yeast beer can be brewed warm and rapidly like an ale, or it can be fermented at lower temperatures, often designated for lagers. By combining the best qualities of both beer categories, this brewing method produces distinctive, difficult-to-classify beers. Most people consider Kolsch, Altbier, steam beer, and cream ale to be hybrid beers.

What Sets Hybrid Beers Apart from Ales And Lagers?

The kind of yeast used and the temperatures at which the yeast strain requires fermentation are what distinguish ales from lagers. Lager yeast, which ferments at a lower temperature than ale yeast and bottom ferments, is used to make lagers. After fermentation is finished, lagers are also frequently stored at low temperatures for many weeks or even months. This procedure is known as lagering. Ales are fermented at higher temperatures and then quickly bottled or sold.

While yeast is the ultimate judge of type in beer, some brewing techniques are often reserved for use with ales or lagers. The majority of the time, these particular methods improve the flavour and quality of the beers being made; they do not alter the beer's categorization. While some supposedly hybrid beers are fairly ancient and each type has its own set of traditional processes, hybrid beers use a more freeform approach to traditional brewing methods. They can employ any mix of brewing techniques and yeast, whether it is ale or lager. Yet these beers aren't actually best described as "hybrid" beers.

There are various variations in the beer-brewing process, and all of them are valid as long as the finished product is beer. All that the hybrid label offers is a simple method to group together beers that don't belong in either of the two primary categories. While some so-called hybrids are fairly ancient and each style has its own set of customary practices, hybrid beers approach traditional brewing methods more freely.

They may use any combination of brewing techniques and ale or lager yeast. Nevertheless, calling these beers "hybrid" is actually not the appropriate description. There are several methods for brewing beer, and they are all correct as long as the finished product is beer. It is an easy method to group beers that don't belong in either of the two primary categories with the hybrid moniker.

The 5 Types Of Hybrid Beers

Here are some popular varieties of hybrid beers:


A speciality beer created exclusively in Cologne is called Kölsch. In 1986, the directors of two dozen Kölsch breweries signed a document known as the Kölsch Convention, which mandated that Kölsch beer could only be made in Cologne and its environs and nowhere else in the world.

This is Germany's lightest ale, served in the classic tall cylindrical Kölsch glasses. The typical places to drink Kölsch are classic beer taverns called Brauhaus or Kölschkneipe. There, amazing ale is served one after another by 'Köbes' (special waiters wearing blue aprons and speaking a rough Kölsch accent) until you indicate that you've had enough by setting your coaster on top of your glass.


Düsseldorf is where the German beer style known as altbier, or old beer, first appeared. The beers are fermented warm, like ales, but are then matured cool, like lagers, making them a hybrid style with elements of both beers. The 1880s term "altbier" alludes to the use of top-fermenting yeasts in the conventional brewing procedure.

The term originated as a way to differentiate modern lagers made mostly in Bavaria from classic brews. It was only called Bier prior to then. The usual flavours of these robust beers are malty, crisp, and clean; their hue can vary from copper to amber. They frequently smell toasted and nutty, with hints of fruit and spice.

Cream Ale

The American pre-prohibition era gave rise to the hybrid beer style known as cream ale. These light, easy-drinking beers were largely developed to compete with golden lagers manufactured by German immigrants. They were fermented at slightly lower temperatures using either ale or lager yeast, occasionally both.

In addition, they were occasionally matured at lower temperatures and combined with lagers, and some brewers added corn, rice or wheat while brewing. Although these beers aren't made with dairy, it's unclear where the style first emerged and why it was given its present name.

California Common Or Steam Beer

A hybrid beer style known as California Common is brewed using lager yeast and fermented at ale temperatures. The historical steam beer that originally emerged on the West Coast during the Gold Rush era has been reflected in modern renditions. It was a spontaneous, rather primitive style that developed out of need. The beers often finish dry and are sharp. They go nicely with spicy Mexican, Cajun, or Thai cuisine, as well as roasted or grilled meat.

Bière Brut

A relatively new beer style, bière brut, also called bière de Champagne, was initially released in Belgium in the early 2000s. After top-fermenting, Champagne yeast cultures are added to the beers and left to age in the bottle.

Dry, clean, frothy, light-bodied, and refreshing describe these beers. They might be as light as pale amber or as pale as gold. Their alcohol concentration, usually about 8% ABV, is greater than in other beers. Typically, they are placed in corked and caged 750-millilitre champagne-style bottles.