The Beginner's Guide to Understanding Beer

Bring Out Your Inner German

By Zhen Yin

October 6 2017

My first run-in with beer was not really pleasant. Under the coaxing of fellow friends at a generic pub located along Clarke Quay, I took the first sip of a pint poured from the seemingly-enormous beer tower that was bought for the night. It was definitely hard to stomach at first, but time and patience eventually allowed me to appreciate the drink that was heralded as a staple to bonding with your buddies over night time. These are the few things that I learned that beginners to beer can and should learn in order to enjoy their pint!

1. There Are Two Types Of Beer: Ale and Lager

Both types of beer has their differences, but the main difference is that both of them uses different types of yeast during the fermentation process and fermentation takes place at different temperatures. Ale is normally fermented under warmer temperatures (up to 21 degrees celsius) whilst Lager at cooler temperatures (up to only 10 degrees celsius). If you are talking for taste, ale definitely has the tendency to include more bitter 'tasting' beers compared to lager which tends to be sweeter due to the high level of sugar content. But Ale provides a more aromatic experience as their aroma in general can be more fruitier compared to Lager.

2. 'Go-to' Beers To Start On If You Are A Beginner

If you are drinking beer for the first time at a pub or bar, it's best to opt for Pale Lagers, Porters or Brown Ale. The Porter beer is your best bet if you are really fearful of the bitterness that can come from the hops used during the brewing process of beers. A well-known brand that you can fall back on also is Guiness, but it's highly recommended to drink at places specialising in serving craft beer so that your initial beer drinking experience is a positive one. You can never go wrong with a thoughtful recommendation from the workers once you've told them that this is your first time!

3. The Difference Between Draught Beer and Craft Beer

One thing to know is that the term 'draught' and 'draft' can be used interchangeably. Having draught or draft beer essentially means that the beer ordered is served fresh from the tap. The main reason behind having beer 'on the tap' is to have beer that tastes fresher compared to their bottled counterparts. Craft beer however, means that you are ordering a beer that comes from a microbrew. It basically means you are getting a beer that's created to be 'one of a kind' at the craft beer bar that you are at and not available via mass production like brands such as Guinness or Tiger.