Knowing and Understanding the Difference Between Light and Dark Beer

Everyone has their favorite beverage of the sudsy variety that they enjoy at home or at their local watering hole. Beers come in many varieties, and there seems to be a never-ending amount of breweries that produce various flavors that adhere to every type of individual taste. Among the many that people enjoy, light and dark beers are how a great many are described and categorized. But what's the actual difference between them? Today, we found out. 

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Color Explained 

We start our exposure with the color of beer and how it's formed. Much of this is traced back to the hops and other ingredients that go into the brewing process. Light beers are usually found in pale, gold, and amber shades. Dark beers tend to come in a wider variety of colors that consist of brown, black, and deeper shades of amber. The differences in shades can be very subtle.IE--porters are usually in ruby brown color, but depending on the ingredients used by the brewer, the shade can differ slightly. 

Types of Beer 

Beers tend to be grouped into two categories depending upon the technique utilized by the brewery. A warm fermentation process is utilized to make ales, while lower temperatures are used to make lager. This has led to the misconception that all ales are dark and all lagers are light in color. The truth is that lagers and ales are available in a wide variety of colors. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Porters are always dark in color, and pilsner beers are almost exclusively light in their appearance.


All beers have four primary ingredients: grains, yeast, hops, and water. The beer's color being brewed is determined by the grains the brewer decides to use. These include barley, wheat, oats, corn, rye, and even rice. Dark beers tend to get their texture due to an increased amount of barley. Light beers, most notably IPAs, rely more on hops to give them their distinctive look and flavor.  


Light and dark beers both have distinctive flavors that appeal to different types of beer drinkers. A recent study found that many younger beer drinkers prefer IPAs because of their hoppy flavors. Seasoned drinkers like dark beers for their thick and robust tastes. Many people who enjoy a beer with their meal prefer pilsener or domestic brands because they help enhance the flavor. 

Ed’s Tavern 

No matter what type of beer you prefer, you can find it at Ed’s Tavern. With great food and a welcoming atmosphere, we’re the ideal place to enjoy a cold one. For more info, visit us at edslakewoodranch.com

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