Raleigh’s beer dictionary and local recommendations

Hell Yes Ma'am and Bull City Cider at Raleigh Brewing | Photo by RALtoday

Today is National IPA Day + tomorrow is International Beer Day, so we’ve put together a beer dictionary to tell you about different beer types, where you can find them in Raleigh, and what food pairings work best with your beer.

Behind the scenes at Raleigh Brewing | Photo by RALtoday

Amber + Red Ale | Red and amber ales typically taste like caramel, dried fruit, or coffee more sour than sweet. Pair with a hearty slow cooker meat.
Local rec: Accustomed at Funguys Brewing

Amber + Red Lager | These lagers can taste light + crisp but also contain aromas you’d find in darker beers – like caramel or toffee. Pair with tacos.
Local rec: Accumulation at Clouds Brewing

Belgian Style Beer | Belgian beers come in pale ales, dark ales, fruity beers, and sour ales. Belgian-style beers have a high alcohol content + low bitterness. Pair with cheese and potato dishes.
Local recs: Affluent at Neuse River Brewing + Hell Yes Ma’am at Raleigh Brewing

Brown Ale | An English-style ale that is especially sweet + nutty tasting. Pair with pecan pie.
Local rec: Bad Penny at Big Boss Brewing

Cream Ale | Light in flavor, pale in color, and not too bitter for a newbie beer drinker. Pair with grilled chicken.
Local rec: Lions Park at Mordecai Beverage Co.

Dark Lager | You can expect rich aromas like coffee, chocolate, molasses, and even pumpernickel bread. Pair with smoked fish.
Local rec: Mahogany at Heyday Brewing

Fruit Beer | Many fruits find their way into beer recipes — some popular ones are lime, strawberry, and cherry. Most fruit beers are sweet tasting + pair perfectly with dessert.
Local rec: Forbidden Fruit: Blueberry and Lemon at Gizmo Brewworks

Hefeweizen | Time for a German lesson — hefeweizen is the German word for pale wheat beer. These are also called witbiers or blanches and are made by adding wheat to the mix to give the beer a foamy head + a silky texture. They have a distinct sweetness and sometimes give off a bubble gum or banana smell. Pair with cedar-smoked salmon or a watermelon + tomato salad.
Local rec: Rolling on sunshine at Crank Arm Brewing

India Pale Ale (IPA) | These beers can be bitter + have high alcohol levels. They can range from citrus flavors to stronger, more bitter flavors — depending on the hops used. These are usually the intro beer for new beer drinkers. Pair with fish + chips.
Local recs: Trophy Wife (a Session IPA) at Trophy Brewing Co. + Parking Ticket (a hazy IPA) at Little City Brewing

Kolsch | A German-style hybrid of both lagers and ales. These beers are light + refreshing and are great for NC late summer days. Pair with sausage and sauerkraut.
Local rec: Local Kolsch at Lonerider Brewing

Pale Ale | Pale ales are usually hoppy but carry a lower alcohol content than IPAs. Most types of pale ale are malty, medium-bodied, and easy to drink.
Local rec: Mosaic Pale Ale at Lynnwood Brewing

Pale Lager | A crisp, light-bodied + moderately hoppy beer. Pair with a classic margherita pizza.
Local rec: Storm Brew (the official beer of the Carolina Hurricanes) at R&D Brewing

Pilsner | A light + crisp lager from 19th century Europe that is hoppy and a pale gold color. Pair with calamari or schnitzel.
Local rec: Run to the Pils at Black Fire Brewing 

Saison | Saisons, also called farmhouse ales, originated in the French-speaking Wallonia region of Belgium. Today, these beers are often dry, highly carbonated + fruity, with a moderate ABV strength.
Local rec: Chaos engine at Wye Hill Kitchen and Brewing

Stouts + Porters | These beers have a deep, roasted flavor and are often described as tasting like chocolate or coffee. Oatmeal stouts and porters are a subtype that include a small amount of oatmeal to give it a thicker body.
Local rec: Famous DeRamus at Standard Food and Beer

Wild + Sour Ales | Wild or sour ales are typically very low in alcohol, and feature tart, sour flavors that come from (safe) bacteria in the brew mash. Pair with salty meats, stinky cheeses, and lemony seafood dishes.
Local rec: Sashay at Compass Rose Brewery