Every beer style has its own personality. But when it comes time to order a beer, it's not always easy to remember which style is which. We've heard it all:
“I have no idea what I just ordered.”
“I.P.A.? More like IDK."
"These beers just aren't speaking to me."
Well, now they are. We interviewed some of today's most popular beer styles to determine what makes each one so unique -- and to help you find the perfect match.
TBN: How would you describe the average Sour drinker?
Sour Beer: I’ve always considered myself an acquired taste. I’m never surprised to find myself in the company of a dozen oysters, a smattering of caviar, or a single white truffle. I am the very essence of danger and precision.
So how does...
I’m not finished. Now, imagine a balcony in Paris -- the city lights illuminating the streets and reflecting off the river. Most people will take out their phones and take pictures for Instagram, but a select few will begin to weep and, with quill and ink, set out to write a sonnet. It’s the poets who you’ll find sipping me majestically from a tulip shaped glass.
Do you worry about having to compete with the other Beer styles for attention?
What defines a Sour?
Honesty. Life is sour, life is pain -- I make no attempt at masking this truth. I say, bring on the sour, the lactic acid and the Brettanomyces. Let me not sterilize my existence but, rather, expose my true self to this beautifully cruel world.
Which Sex in the City character are you?
Have you not been listening? Obviously I’m Samantha.
credits:"[Brewery Ommegang](http://ommegang.com/)" align:center
TBN: You’ve been in this industry a long time. Why don’t you start by telling me what it means to be a German Lager.
German Lager: In 1516, the rules were set forth in the Reinheitsgebot and I do not deviate from those rules. Ever.
And what are those rules?
I am made up of only three ingredients: barley, hops, and water. Then, like all Lagers, I am brewed with Lager yeast, which is bottom fermenting yeast, and fermented at cold temperatures. It takes longer but the best things always do.
Do you have a favorite joke that you tell?
No. No funny business. Only clear communication between me and the drinker.
What’s your favorite song?
“Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof.
Which Friends character best describes you?
Marcel, the monkey, because he is so fun and cute.
No. I am Ross, especially when he is busy working and not chasing Rachel.
For a light and easy drinking beer, you're a bit uptight.
Is that a question?
I guess not, sorry… Can you talk me through the experience of drinking German Lager?
Yes, it is something like this: ‘Yes. This is very good. This is right. Yes. Yes. Thank you. I will order another.’
What is your favorite iPhone app?
I have a flip phone. Sometimes I use the calculator function.
(We found Stout at the end of the bar smoking, drinking coffee, and reading Sylvia Plath.)
TBN: Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?
Stout: Argghrh, I’ll answer three questions.
What are your defining qualities?
I am strong, rich, and brooding. I do not please the crowd and I do not apologize. Kilned and roasted at much higher temperatures than your Pales and your Ambers, I’m pretty much comprised of the last flavors you get before hitting charcoal and jet fuel.
What’s your favorite pick-up line?
Leave me alone.
Does it work?
credits:"[Smabs Sputzer / Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/10413717@N08/12878095834/)"
India Pale Ale
IPA: You're very lucky I took the time to do this interview; do you know how popular I am right now?
TBN: Oh. So...I guess you’re starting us off.
A new bar opens up and what’s the first thing everyone wants to know? ‘How many IPAs you got?’ So yeah, I open the interview.
You know, some people don't like IPAs.
Everyone has haters, but good luck hearing mine over the sound of all those cash registers ringing up a billion pints of me.
Have you always enjoyed this level of celebrity?
No, actually. I was picked on a lot as a kid -- too bitter for everyone. They told me I tasted like soap, metal, or even throw-up. The fame is pretty recent.
Tell me more about your childhood. What made you so bitter?
Well, I spent much of my early life on boats being shipped from England to India. I lived off a hearty diet of hops, a preservative that helped me survive the journey. And not unlike the rest of the sailors, I grew extremely bitter. It was hard to assimilate back into society after that.
Tell me about the I.P.A. drinkers of today.
Oh, you mean the hipsters? They’re incredible. Insatiable! Even when I’m afraid I’m coming off too strong, they tell me they want more. More hops, more bitterness! It’s unbelievable, like that feeling you get when you listen to the Garden State soundtrack.
What words of advice do you have for the less popular beer styles out there?
Be yourself. Be loud. Make your presence known.
To that mantra, is there a TV or movie character you identify with most?
Scrooge McDuck. Except, instead of money, I’m swimming in hops! And also money.
credits:"[averybrewingco / Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/p/BIDrwg2AbQW/?taken-by=averybrewingco)" width:350 align:right
TBN: You’re a type of Lager. What does the Reinheitsgebot mean to you?
American Pilsner: Ugh, you sound like my father.
Just constantly talking about rules, man. It’s suffocating. I’m not saying I didn’t have a great upbringing -- I was brewed really well. I just didn’t really find myself until I studied abroad in the Czech Republic. There, I became more flavorful than I was in Germany -- and a lot happier, too.
Can you take me through the sensation of drinking an American Pilsner?
It’s like, ‘Ahhhhhhhhhh yeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhh.’
Can you...can you elaborate?
No, not really.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
Definitely the St. Pauli Girl. Do you know her??
TBN: Tell me, Porter, what’s it like being a Porter?
Porter: Everyone confuses me for Stout, all the damn time. "Oh my god! Are you a Stout?" "Can I kiss your foam?" "I love you, Stout!"
What do you tell them?
I tell them it’s hard to know from looking, but the difference is in the malt. That I’m not roasted like a coffee the way Stout is. I’m a Porter! I may not be as dark or heavy as Stout, but I was around first, and I fueled the goddamned industrial revolution!
Do you see it as a rivalry?
No. If I’m being honest, we’re pretty similar. To hate Stout is essentially to hate myself. I certainly don’t get why Stout has more commercial success than I do but...whatever, I’m richer in character. And chocolate.
Do you have a favorite poet?
He’s pretty dark.
Dark, definitely, but not the darkest.
India Pale Lager
credits:"[Widmer Brothers Brewing / Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/WidmerBrothersBrewing/photos/a.77908334893.73627.7011874893/10154910000409894/?type=3&theater)" width:450 align:right
TBN: What three words would you use to describe yourself?
…I was expecting something closer to 'India Pale Lager.'
See that’s exactly the problem - everyone just assumes they know me. They've had Lager; they've had I.P.A., so they think they get it. They don't get it.
What don't they get?
They don't get synergy, man. They don't get that I'm more than the sum of my ingredients.
What slogan would you use to advertise yourself?
I’m familiar, but I’m different. Like your girlfriend’s sister.
How do you fit into the beer world?
I’m the new style on the scene, so obviously, drinkers are going to run me through the gauntlet for a bit, and point out my flaws more than they do for the other styles... but they’ll come around eventually. I’m a millennial, I’m a hybrid… I’m the future.
What’s your go-to Karaoke song?
“Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac.
And your spirit animal?
Scottish Wee Heavy
TBN: Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of time. I have to go interview Cider soon.
Scottish Wee Heavy: I just have to tell you how thrilled I am to be included. I mean, I heard you interviewed German Lager! I.P.A.! Stout!
Did any of them mention me?
They did not.
Let’s focus on you now. Is there anything you’d like to tell me about yourself?
I’ve never been interviewed before!
Ok. Do you want to describe yourself in three words?
Oh, wow. Oh, alright then.…Three words… Um, ‘basically a brown.’
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
Someone once said they didn’t mind the dark fruit flavors or the raspy-ness.
Did I do a good job?
You nailed it.
TBN: So, Cider, you’re not a beer -- but you are enjoyed by much of the same audience. Tell me what sets you apart.
Cider: I always say, why turn malt into sugar when apples already have sugar? It’s superfluous. Why complicate things so?
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Yummy grown-up juice.
What's your greatest fear?
And your favorite movie?
The Cider House Rules.
What is your favorite scene?
The beginning, when the title appears and everyone can read 'CIDER' real big.
What's your ideal first date?
We go to an apple orchard. We hold hands and eat apples, then we go sit in the barn and let those apples ferment inside us for 2-3 weeks.
credits:"[Jeff Alworth / Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/alworth/14127403823)"
TBN: What would you say is the Pale Ale’s claim to fame?
Pale Ale: It WAS that I favored the hop character more than most beers but now that IPAs and Double IPAs are on the scene, it’s certainly not anymore.
Pardon the pun, but you sound a little bitter towards these other styles.
They’re all show, no substance. It’s like revving your Hummer outside a children’s daycare to feel cool. A beer that flamboyant has to be hiding something, maybe even masking some imperfections.
That’s a pretty big accusation.
I’m just saying that these IPAs are boasting insane, almost masochistic levels of bitterness. They’re beating a dead hop.
So, what niche do you occupy now?
I don't really know. I suppose I am a breath of fresh air to a population of storm chasers. Or rather, when the IPAs kick, I am the conciliation.
What's your greatest fear?
I am living it, sir. I, the Pale Ale, time-tested and time withstood, am disappearing into the shadows during this, the dawn of the I.P.A.
Do you have hope for a comeback?
Of course! Quality is undeniable. IPAs are a fad; sooner or later these people have to sit down and enjoy some goddamn subtlety.
If you could say one thing to the Beer drinking community what would it be?
Either ‘appreciate your elders,’ or ‘grow the fuck up!’
Describe your ideal first date?
We go for a walk in the park and then watch the sunset. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.
TBN: What's a day in the life of a Wheat Beer look like?
Wheat Beer: I don't know, that question's hard. I guess I wake up and go to brunch with my friends, Vodka and Wine Cooler.
Do you have any beer friends?
No, I don't really like other beers.
They all smell weird, like wet socks. I make sure never to leave the brewery without smelling like clove and banana.
Do you think that's because you're mostly wheat while other beers are mostly barley?
I don't know, I'm not a scientist. I'm too pretty for that.
Do you ever experiment with other flavors?
Oh, I experiment all the time. With fruit, spices, you name it. Why? Do you like to experiment?
What's your favorite Disney movie?
I asked you a question.
How...how about your favorite children's book?
I don't read books. But I can tell you what I do instead of reading…
What's your sign?
I'm a Leo! I’m such a Leo. Everybody likes a Leo because we're easy. And Leo is a fire sign which means I'm super, super generous -- but I can also be super mean. Your move.
Can you tell me a secret about yourself?
Now that's more like it. Hmm, let's see... I really love when people put an orange slice in me. Or drink me with ice. Ooooh, or use a straw...
Thank you for your time. We're done here.
credits:"[Yair Aronshtam / Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/yairar/16159106765)"