In some places, people refer to “Beer and Ale”. In others, they refer to “Beer and Lager”. And, sadly, in some they refer to “Beer and Malt liquor”. So what is beer? Apart from wonderful I mean.
At it’s simplest, beer is a fermented beverage made from grain. Under this definition, many things (including Sake) count. But for purposes of not getting way off track, let’s call beer “a fermented beverage made from grain, primarily barley but also wheat and other adjuncts, and usually flavoured with hops, but may contain other herbs or spices.”
Beer comes in many, many styles, not simply lager and ale. There is also porter, stout, wit, lambic, abbey, weiss, alt, kolsch, schwarz, Saison, bière de garde, barley wine, bock, maerzen, and a host of other styles, with brewers adding new styles all the time.
I could ramble on about these styles, but it will be much more fun for you if you just go out and try some to see what they are like for yourself. As this site grows, I will post my own thoughts and reviews of beers, brewers, and styles, so check back to learn more.