Beer 101:

When To Drink What

By Karina Sitaldas

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Picture this: you walk into one of the new breweries that are popping up, and you decide you want to pick up a six pack but there are so many different options. There are pale ales but there are also India pale ales; there are lagers but also dark lagers… how do you pick which one to get? After all, you’re usually a San Miguel Light kind of person, and you just decided to switch it up for once, but you end up way more confused that necessary. We’ve been there, so we get it – and that’s why you should let us help you out a little.

Before you continue though, one word for you to learn: “hops” or when used to describe beer “hoppy” which generally means that it’s more on the bitter side. Now, you’re ready. Beer 101, here we go!


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A pilsner is a type of lager. It’s floral, refreshing, and sometimes hoppy. Some pilsners have a little bit of a bitter aftertaste, while some are just more full-bodied.

Ideal for: A hot summer afternoon or evening, while you’re sitting outside, and treating yourself to a good meal. It’s great for when you’re feeling something light and crisp, but also a little bit dry.



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Stouts are dark, roasty, and sometimes creamy; they are very similar to Porters. A stout is brewed with barely, which gives it a little bit of a bitter taste. You’ll find many different types of stouts: chocolate, coffee, oatmeal, imperial (beware of this one, it’s usually pretty high in ABV and has an interesting mix of sweet and hoppy flavors), and even oyster. If you’re a new beer drinker or just getting into the beer scene, a stout probably isn’t the best for you.

Ideal for: When you’re curled up with a book on a rainy day, or just need something to warm you up.


India Pale Ale

This one is outright hoppy and definitely an acquired taste. Once it wins your heart though, it’s going to have you coming back for more. An IPA is a pale ale with a variation — a little bit fruity, fragrant, and quite bitter. It’s a little bit malty too, which makes it kind of heavy. IPAs are strong so with your high hop count, you’re also getting a high ABV.

Ideal for: When you’re craving for something different and relatively heavy; probably a good one to start the night off. If you’re a beer noob and you’re intrigued by IPAs, start off with a flavored one. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin is one of the best ones there is, hands down — granted, it may be a little difficult to track down.


American Lager

If you’re a fan of San Miguel Light, this is your beer type. An American Lager is highly fizzy, fairly bitter, and light. Corona, Bud Light, and PBR all fall under this style.

Ideal for: When you want to have a bucket of beer or when you want to throw back swigs while you’re watching a game on tv. American lagers or just lagers in general are also great for house parties or just kicking it with the crew.

Wheat Beer

Wheat beer is most commonly Bavarian or Belgian. One of the most common types is a hefeweizen. Wheat ales are generally fruity, wheat-y, less hoppy, and super refreshing. Think Blue Moon!

Ideal for: A picnic, or just a day of chilling by the beach. What makes a wheat beer even better is an orange or lemon slice. By the time you’re halfway through, the summer heat won’t be on your mind any longer.



Also known as Farmhouse Ale, a Saison is a summer beer. It’s tart-y but also a little bit hoppy. It generally has a citrus flavor with a mix of spices and herbs and leaves a little bit of a bitter after taste. This one is an unfiltered beer though, so it has a little bit of a different taste.

Ideal for: Post-work to calm your nerves and cool your head.


Sour Ale

There are many different types of sour beers. There’s gose, lambic, and flemish ales, just to name a few. As the name states, these beers have a very tangy taste. If you’re a fan of sour treats though, you’d love this. Even better are flavored sours: cherry, blood orange, green mango – yum! Sours are pretty difficult to find in Manila but shout out to 63 North Brewing Co.’s Green Mango Gose! Find it, and you’re guaranteed to love it.

Ideal for: When you’re feeling funky and sour. It’s definitely not for everyone but once it’s won you over, you’ll be hooked.



A cider is made from fermented juice, and is heavenly. It’s perfect if you’re not really into beer, but you’re going out for the night with a group of beer drinking friends. Apple cider is the most common one; although when you go to fancier places you’ll find a variety like pear cider or berry cider.

Ideal for: When you want to drink something really yummy but has a nice little kick. Ciders almost taste like liquid, carbonated candy in drink form! Or not… But seriously, ciders are really good!


Know of any other educational stuff about beer? Share them with us below!

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