What is a Lager?
All of your favorite beers, whether they are IPAs, stouts or brown ales, fall into just two categories: lagers and ales. Many of the lagers popular in the United States are pale, light-bodied brews with low to medium alcohol content. But it’s a misconception to think lagers aren’t as exciting or inventive as ales. There’s a wide range of different styles of lagers – some crisp and carbonated, some malty and rich – and you’re sure to find one that strikes your fancy.
Lagers are brewed with a particular kind of yeast that ferments from the bottom, not the top like the yeast used for ales. And while ale yeast ferments rapidly at warm temperatures, lager yeast ferments at cooler temperatures and takes longer to mature (often several weeks). Lagers often have a cleaner, less yeasty flavor than ales.
Ales have been around for thousands of years, but lagers are still pretty new on the scene – appearing over the last few hundred years.
What Are Some Popular Styles of Lager?
American Pale Lager
This is probably the style you’re most familiar with seeing in the US grocery store aisle. American pale lagers are extremely light in flavor, color and aroma, contain around 4 to 5% ABV and are served very cold.
The pilsner, originally hailing from the Czech Republic, is a global favorite, offering a well-balanced and malty flavor.
Bock beers are a traditional German style of lager, and varieties range from helles (light and refreshing) to doppelbock (dark and strong).
This crisp, golden lager delivers well-rounded notes of hops and malt – with moderate carbonation and bitterness.
Dunkel beers are low in bitterness and high in maltiness often with sweet notes of caramel or chocolate. Dunkel means “dark” in German, and these beers range from coppery red to deep brown.
Why Drink Lager?
Lagers are generally approachable and easy to drink. Whether you’re looking for a bright and bubbly beer to sip during warm weather or a toasty and filling pint to enjoy in the fall, there’s a lager out there for you.