Back to Blog Home

From Ales to Stouts: Beer Styles for the Bravest of Beer Drinkers

August 24, 2018
We all have our favorites, but are you brave enough to try the bolder beers at Bier Fest?

Before you saddle up to the bar at Bier Fest, why not make this the year you try something new (a Sampler is the best way to try a variety)? And not just a new brewery’s version of your old shoe favorite. We’re talking a whole different style of beer. After all, there’s something to be said about booting yourself out of your comfort zone. Going bold. Spicing things up a bit. Being adventurous, for draft’s sake!

Here are four styles of beer that are all about doing just that. Not your go-to happy hour cold one. Nothing “lite” with a lime choked down its neck. We’re talking about styles ordered by card-carrying beer enthusiasts who know their brews, and have fun exploring them.

With more than 50 breweries and 100 beers, over the course of this year’s Bier Fest, here are a few of their fermented favorites to embolden your own taste buds.

Belgian Ale being poured at Busch Gardens Bier Fest

Belgian Ale

While lagers were born in Bavarian breweries 350 years before Munich’s original Oktoberfest in 1810, ales had been brewed since the early Middle Ages, with Belgium’s first breweries dating back to the 12th century. While Belgian beers still account for less than 1% of global beer sales, their distinctive ales, many with their signature coriander spice and orange peel flavors, are beer history in a bottle.

Brown Ale being poured at Busch Gardens Bier Fest

Brown Ale

Brown ales are a more unique style of beer than their generic name implies. Originally brewed from brown malt, today’s brewers put their own innovative spin on this food-friendly style, bring forward notes of roasted malt, caramel, chocolate or even nuts, depending on the country of origin or creativity of the craft brewer.

Stout beer being poured at Busch Gardens Bier Fest


Most people hear stout and think darker, heavier beers – though in today’s craft world, heavy isn’t necessarily the case. While Arthur Guinness put this legendary style on the map 250 years ago, today a roasted dark malt flavor, high creaminess and coffee-like finish are still signatures of the stout style.

IPA (India Pale Ale) being poured at Busch Gardens Bier Fest


Though India pale ale gets its name from the British occupation of India, it was the American IPAs that helped fuel the craft beer revolution that ignited in the 1970s. Pioneering breweries were looking for ways to make their mark, and they found it with IPAs. Made with more hops and higher alcohol – a nod to the style’s origin when both were tools for preservation – today’s IPAs are about freshness, with notes of citrus, flower and fruit.

Bier Fest and Virginia Craft Beer Month

That’s what we love about events like Bier Fest and celebrations like Virginia’s August Craft Beer Month. That invitation to open up and explore something new and exciting in this wide, wonderful world of beer.