The Beginner’s Guide to Craft Beer

Craft beer is all the rage right now (we’d argue we were ahead of the trend but that’s beside the point).

More and more craft breweries are popping up, making for a more interesting and diverse craft beer market. This article will help beginners and aficionados alike navigate this new world of craft beer by breaking down craft beers styles, including ales, pale ales, IPAs, lagers, porters, stouts, sours and more.

No more will your snobby beer friends chortle when you can’t tell the difference between an India Pale Ale and an Amber Ale. Pro beer-drinking starts here.

Ok, so what makes a craft beer so dang exciting?

Well, what doesn’t?

No, but really, what makes a craft beer by definition is the craftsmanship and passion with which it is brewed. They’re also exclusively brewed by heavily tattooed and bearded men.

The latter of the above paragraph may need fact-checking.

It’s the best of both worlds; craft beer has some similarities to wine in that they are more flavourful, higher-quality brews than commercial beers.

Typically, these beers are brewed by smaller, independent breweries that release a smaller output annually.

Different Types of Craft Beers

This is not a definitive list of every single type of craft beer – there are MANY – but these are the ones you’ll most commonly find in Brisbane or in our bar.


If you’ve had craft beer, you’ve probably had an ale. One of the most common types of craft beer, ales are typically made up of fermentable sugars that come from barley malt and other grains like wheat or rye. Under the ‘Ale’ umbrella are several subsets. The most popular styles include pale ales, cream ales, red/amber ales and India Pale Ales (IPAs).

Pale Ale

The craft beer that put craft beer on the map, pale ales are a crisp and refreshing all-arounder. These beers have a medium malt body with the hop bitterness to balance out their sweetness. Pale ale is most often made from hops grown in either Australia or New Zealand, resulting in an earthy flavour profile reminiscent of the Australian outback (You call that a beer? THIS is a beer).

Pale ales are usually deep gold in colour and have a smoother flavour than other craft beer styles. They also usually have lower alcohol content than, say, an IPA.

You’ll like pale ales if you like malty, medium-bodied and easy-drinking beers.

India Pale Ale (IPAs)

IPAs actually encompasses a variety of beer styles. The most common types of IPA are British, West Coast, and North England. They’re typically known for their hoppy flavour profiles with a higher ABV than other craft beers – typically between five to seven per cent.

Most IPAs can be characterised by their hops, as well as citrus, fruit or herbal flavours.

Opt for a New England IPA if you like fruitier and less bitter flavours, or a British IPA if you like it a bit maltier.


Lagers are one of the most common craft beer styles. They are typically lighter in colour and flavour, with a low alcohol content between four to five per cent.

Lagers are traditionally made from malt that is kilned at lower temperatures than ales or stouts (hence their lightness), which gives them an almost crisp taste without as much carbonation.

You’ll like lagers if you like crisp beer. If you’re newer to the wonderful world of beer, lagers are a pretty winning entry point.


For those who enjoy the darker side of craft beer, porters are for you! Porters are typically made from malt and roasted barley that give them dark colouring (usually deep brown) as well as coffee-like flavours. They also often have richer bodies than other craft beer styles.

Porters are perfect for those who enjoy the flavours of dark, roasted malts and have a fuller body than other craft beers. If you’re after something sweeter, opt for porter’s close relative: stouts!


Similar to porters in that they come from the darker side of craft beer, stouts are typically made from roasted malt and cane sugar. They’re dark in colouring – usually black or very dark brown – with a sweeter flavour than other craft beers.

A favourite of winter drinkers, you’ll like stout if you like bolder craft beer flavours such as coffee and chocolate notes.


Sours have an (oddly enough) sour or acidic flavour. Often you either love them, or you hate them – the vegemite of the beer world if you will.

These beers usually have an extra ingredient, such as fruit juice, added to give them their signature taste of tartness and natural acidity.

Sours are perfect for those who enjoy tart and refreshing craft beers with a unique flavour profile.

What’s On Tap at Tippler’s?

Our taps are constantly rotating which means there’s always something new to try.

Our Helles Lager is always on tap alongside a mix of rotating stouts/porters, pale ales, IPAs, sours and any other exciting craft brews we can get our hands on.

If you’re still stuck chat to any of our bartenders – they know their way around a good drop.