Cask Fresh Styles: Much More Than Just Bitter

Cask beer variety

With so many fantastic beers being produced by skilled craftsmen, you’ll need to know your basics before you say ‘Make mine a pint’

Bitter/Best Bitter

Traditional bitters or best bitters are usually amber to dark brown in colour, with a malt character in the taste and hints of earthy, spicy and peppery from the hops. The bitterness can range from light to strong. Cask fans say a good pint of best is hard to beat.

Bitter/Best bitter

Pale Ale

Dark gold to amber in colour, the malt is light to medium in character and shouldn’t dominate the flavour. Fruitiness can range from minimal to citrussy and tropical. The same goes for the hop flavours – varying by brewer and style. There’s a huge range to try!

Pale Ale


The style that kicked off the modern craft beer boom, IPA beers range from super hoppy and hazy to light and fruity. Confused? You might have to give them all a try!


Golden Ale

The perfect introduction to cask ale for lager drinkers, golden ales have a beautiful straw to gold colour. These are light and easy-drinking beers that can have a touch of citrus with a crisp dryness.

Golden Ale

Stout and Porter

Easy to recognise because of the dark brown to jet black colour. They often have roasty notes of coffee or chocolate, balanced with a hoppy character and some dark fruits. Oatmeal stout has some oatmeal added in the brewing process for a fuller body; and milk stout has added milk sugar to create a smooth, sweeter drink with a lovely round mouthfeel.


For a deeper breakdown, here’s CAMRA’s Beer Styles Guide.

If you’ve got your own ideas on how to describe different cask styles and tastes, let us know here.


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