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Beer Styles

All beer fits into 2 broad categories, ale and lager, but what’s the difference?

What is ale?
Ales are the oldest family of styles and use a method known as warm fermentation. The fermentation takes place at or higher than room temperature at the top of the fermenter with yeast known as top-fermenting yeast. These beers are conditioned for quite a short period of time (1-2 weeks) and have a fruity character.

What is lager?
Lagers are beers that are cool-fermented at temperatures about 10C or lower at the bottom of the fermenter and are typically cold-conditioned for a longer period of time that ales, typically 6 weeks or longer. Lagers tend to be crisper in character and less fruity than ales.

Below you will find a summary of the different beers that fit into these general styles and what makes each one unique. 

Styles of Ale

Pale Ale

Pale ale is an ale made with predominantly pale malt. The highest proportion of pale malts results in a lighter colour. The term 'pale ale' first appeared around 1703 for beers made from malts dried with high-carbon coke, which resulted in a lighter colour than other beers popular at that time. Different brewing practices and hop levels have resulted in a range of different tastes and strengths within the pale ale family.

American Pale Ale

American pale ale (APA) was developed around 1980.The brewery thought to be the first to successfully use significant quantities of American hops in the style of APA and use the name "pale ale", was the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company,which brewed the first experimental batch of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in November 1980,distributing the finished version in March 1981.Anchor Liberty Ale, a 6% abv ale originally brewed by the Anchor Brewing Company as a special in 1975 to commemorate Paul Revere's midnight ride in 1775, which marked the start of the American War of Independence, was seen by...(continue reading)


As a beer style, saison began as a pale ale brewed in the cooler, less active months in farmhouses in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, and stored for drinking in the summer months.These farmhouse beers would have been of a lower ABV than modern saisons—around 3 to 3.5% ABV on average, rising in the early 20th century to between 4.5 and 6.5% ABV.In the Middle Ages, the low-gravity beer was served as a clean source of hydration for workers who consumed up to five liters per day.Brewing outside the summer months...(continue reading)

Amber Ale

Amber ale is an emerging term used in Australia, France and North America for pale ales brewed with a proportion of amber malt and sometimes crystal malt to produce an amber colour generally ranging from light copper to light brown. A small amount of crystal or other coloured malt is added to the basic pale ale base to produce a slightly darker colour, as in some Irish and British pale ales.In France the term "ambrée" is used to signify a beer, either cold or warm fermented...(continue reading)

Red Ale (Irish)

Irish red ale, red ale, or Irish ale (Irish: leann dearg) is a name used by brewers in Ireland; Smithwick's is a typical example of a commercial Irish red ale. There are many other examples being produced by Ireland's expanding craft beer industry. O'Hara's, 8 Degrees and Franciscan Well all brew examples of Irish red ale...(continue reading)


Brown Ale

Brown ale is a style of beer with a dark amber or brown colour. The term was first used by London brewers in the late 17th century to describe their products, such as mild ale, though the term has a rather different meaning today. 18th century brown ales were lightly hopped and brewed from 100% brown malt.
Today there are brown ales made...(continue reading)

Wild Ale

American wild ale generally refers to beers brewed in America using yeast or bacteria in addition to Saccharomyces cerevisiae for fermentation. Such beers may be similar to traditional beers such as Lambic and Oud bruin, and are typically fermented using a strain of brettanomyces for part or all of the fermentation....(continue reading)


India Pale Ale (IPA)

India pale ale (IPA) is a hoppy beer style within the broader category of pale ale. The term 'pale ale' originally denoted an ale brewed from pale malt.Among the first brewers known to export beer to India was Englishman George Hodgson's Bow Brewery on the Middlesex-Essex border. Bow Brewery beers became popular among East India Company traders in the late 18th century because of the brewery's location...(continue reading)

Styles of India Pale Ale (IPA) 

Session IPA

The term Session IPA describes a category of beers marketed for their hop-dominant flavor profiles at 'sessionable' levels of alcohol. While this is typically 3.2-4.6% ABV, a few have stretched the definition. This class of beers arose c. 2010 out of the Craft Beer Tradition as a reaction to the trend of increasingly strong beers and greater public appreciation for hoppier profiles around the globe. It is differentiated from American Pale Ale by typically being lower in alcohol...(continue reading)


Double IPA (DIPA)

The forerunner to both the American IPA and its descendant the double IPA was the British pale ale. Starting in the 1780’s — and possible before — this beer was exported to India and other places.

Over time a new sort of beer emerged, one with higher hops and enough of a tie to the British India colonies to garner the name India Pale Ale around 1835. This ancestor was America’s genesis spark that spawned a line of brewing creativity finding new expression even today.

One of those expressions has been the Double IPA. Also called Imperial IPA...(continue reading)

Triple IPA

Green Flash Green Bullet is out, and I've seen people drinking it on the East Coast. We should see it on Northern California in time for Christmas, maybe.

Nerdy distribution jokes aside, the beer is billed as a triple IPA. At 100 IBU and 10% ABV, though, it would sit comfortably next to most double IPAs. What makes it a triple?

The first India Pale Ale was extra hopped in order to make the journey to India and still taste like an English Pale Ale when it arrived. Adding "Imperial" to the title was a thing...(continue reading)

New England IPA (NEIPA)

New England India pale ales are a style of IPA invented in Vermont in the early 2010s. They are characterized by juicy, citrus, and floral flavours, with a more subtle and less piney hop taste than typical IPAs. They also have a smooth consistency or mouthfeel, and a hazy appearance. These characteristics are achieved using a combination of brewing techniques, including the use of particular strains of yeast, the timing of adding the hops, and adjusting...(continue reading)

Hazy IPA

Is everyone you know drinking hazy beer? Let's dissect the haze craze. By now you're probably well aware of India pale ales (IPAs), the hoppy beer style that exploded in the craft beer scene circa 2010. These hoppy beers are still the top driver of craft beer growth. And they have a new, hazy star – best known as the New England IPA. While these IPAs have been around for years, their distribution has broadened significantly in the last year or so.

A New England IPA is a thick, juicy, pulpy beer. It’s best defined by...(continue reading)


West Coast IPA

East Coast IPAs are distinguished from West Coast IPAs by a stronger malt presence, which balances the intensity of the hops, whereas hops are more prominent in the western brews, possibly because of the proximity of West Coast breweries to hop fields in the Pacific Northwest. East Coast breweries rely more on spicier European hops and specialty malts than those on the West Coast.

Black IPA

Dark-colored American-style IPA, similar to a very hoppy porter.


White IPA

White IPAs are a hybrid of the American India pale ale style and the traditional Belgian wit style


West Coast IPA

East Coast IPAs are distinguished from West Coast IPAs by a stronger malt presence, which balances the intensity of the hops, whereas hops are more prominent in the western brews, possibly because of the proximity of West Coast breweries to hop fields in the Pacific Northwest. East Coast breweries rely more on spicier European hops and specialty malts than those on the West Coast.

Dark Ales


Porter is a dark style of beer developed in London from well-hopped beers made from brown malt.The name was first recorded in the 18th century, and is thought to come from its popularity with street and river porters, who carried objects for others.

The history and development of stout and porter beer types are intertwined. The name "stout", used for a dark beer, is believed to have come about because strong porters were marketed under such names as "extra porter", "double porter", and "stout porter". The term stout porter would later...(continue reading)


Stout is a dark beer. There are a number of variations, including Baltic porter, milk stout, and imperial stout; but the most common variation is dry stout, as exemplified by Guinness Draught, the world's best-selling stout. Stout is a top-fermented beer.

The first known use of the word stout for beer was in a document dated 1677 found in the Egerton Manuscripts, the sense being that a "stout beer" was a strong beer, not a dark beer. The name porter was first used in 1721 to describe a dark brown beer that had been made with roasted malts. Because of the huge popularity of porters...(continue reading)

Styles of Stout

Imperial Stout

Imperial stout, also known as "Russian Imperial stout", is a strong dark beer in the style that was brewed in the 18th century by Thrale's Anchor Brewery in London for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia. In 1781 the brewery changed hands and the beer became known as "Barclay Perkins Imperial Brown Stout". It was shipped to Russia by Albert von Le Coq who was awarded a Russian royal warrant which entitled him to use the name "Imperial". A recipe from 1856 shows it had an original gravity of 1.107 (almost certainly over 10% abv) and over 10 pounds of hops to the barrel. When Barclay's brewery was taken over...(continue reading)

Milk Stout

Milk stout (also called sweet stout or cream stout) is a stout containing lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Because lactose cannot be fermented by beer yeast, it adds sweetness and body to the finished beer. Milk stout was claimed to be nutritious, and was given to nursing mothers, along with other stouts. Milk stout was also said to be prescribed by doctors to help nursing mothers increase their milk production. The classic surviving example of milk stout is Mackeson's,[16] for which the original brewers advertised...(continue reading)


Lager is fermented using Saccharomyces uvarum. It was first used for brewing in Bavaria in the Renaissance, one of the first species to hitch a ride from the American continents to Europe during the discovery and exploration of the western hemisphere.

This yeast isn’t so much bottom fermenting as much as that it doesn’t rise to the top as an ale yeast will before settling to the bottom as fermentation winds down. Because the yeast didn’t really show up at the top of the fermentation vessel, it was probably assumed to be bottom fermenting instead, as early fermentation vessels were constructed of materials that made it difficult to see the bottom of the vessel.

Compared to ale yeast, it is a much more...(continue reading)

Styles of Lager

Pilsner / Pils

Pilsner (also pilsener or simply pils) is a type of pale lager. It takes its name from the Czech city of Pilsen, where it was first produced in 1842 by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll from local ingredients.The world’s first blond lager, the original Pilsner Urquell,is still produced there today

The city of Pilsen began brewing in 1295, but until the mid-1840s, most Bohemian beers were top-fermented. The taste and standards of quality often varied widely, and in 1838, consumers dumped whole barrels to show their dissatisfaction.The officials of Pilsen founded a city-owned brewery in 1839, called Měšťanský pivovar Plzeň (German: Bürger-Brauerei, English: Citizens' Brewery – now Pilsner Urquell), which was to brew beer in the...(continue reading)



Helles (Pronounced “hell-ess”) or Hell is a traditional German pale lager, produced mainly in Southern Germany, around Munich. The German word hell means "bright", "light", or "pale".



Märzen or Märzenbier (German: March or March beer, respectively) is a lager that originated in Bavaria. It has a medium to full body and may vary in color from pale through amber to dark brown. It is the beer style that traditionally is served at Oktoberfest due to its long shelf life, though today it is no longer common there....(continue reading)

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