As the world's most widely consumed beer, its no surprise that Lager beer has an extensive history. Lets start the story off with the name and meaning of Lager. In Germany where style originated, the word Lager, meaning to store, was chosen due to the beer being stored in cold caves during maturation.
So what is Lager beer? The Lager definition states that it is a type of beer that is light all around and effervescent. Though this is true, what really defines a Lager is the cold-conditioning process and cold storage maturation used to produce it. The Lager style beer also uses the bottom fermenting yeast, Saccharomyces Pastorianus, and prior to the 19th century, Lagerbier was how any and all bottom fermented cold conditioned beers of a standard strength were defined. This detail is necessary when deciphering a Lager vs. Ale, since Ales use top fermenting yeasts instead of bottom-fermenting lager yeast.
Today there are many types of Lager beers across the world that differ in color, ingredients, ABV, and of course, flavor. The colors can range from extremely pale, like a Helles Lager, or be as dark as a Black Lager.
When it comes to places that produce Lagers, there are many popular ones, but those that stand out the most are: the German Lager, the American Lager, the Irish Lager, and the Mexican Lager. As for the styles and colors, the types of Lagers that gather a great deal of praise are: the Pilsner Lager, the Amber Lager, the Dunkel (dark) Lager, the Winter Lager, and the Toasted Lager. Some Lagers are very strong and others come as Session Lagers.
Today Lagers have become greatly associated with cheap, ice-cold lagers produced by mass production beer companies. They grew incredibly popular due to their easy drinkability, higher ABV, and low production cost for companies. How is this so? It is mostly due to the use of adjuncts like rice and corn. No need to fear, there are still so many great craft breweries that produce traditional, delicious craft lagers.
For Lagers, there are several types of glasses that are acceptable to use. Some Lager glasses include: the American Pint Glass, a Shaker Glass, and a Pilsner Glass. Its no surprise with a beer this popular with so many styles, that it has its own day with December 10th labeled as National Lager Day.
Enjoy this beer style by joining our monthly craft beer club. Cheers!
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