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Lager is Making a Comeback!

For a long time, lager was the quintessential beer that Americans enjoyed drinking. But then, a couple of decades ago, the craft beer revolution occurred, and suddenly, ales took on a greater sense of importance and popularity. Now, however, beer lovers are rediscovering all that lager has to offer. From domestic greats to phenomenal imported cans and bottles, lagers are finally getting the attention they deserve again.

What is lager?

And what is the difference between ale and lager? Lager, also called lager beer, is one of the two main beer types (the other is ale). Lager is defined as a beer that is crafted using a bottom-fermenting yeast that converts sugar to alcohol at a lower temperature than the top-fermenting yeasts used for ales. Lagers tend to showcase a bit more of their ingredients' cereal grain character, as opposed to the fruit and spice that is more typical of ales. They also tend to be crisper than ales in general, though, of course, there are exceptions. Also, they are matured at colder temperatures.

Are all beers a lager?

No, not all beers are lager. Many great beers fit into the ale category, which are crafted using a different type of yeast, and that tends to have fruitier, spicier flavors and aromas than lagers.

How is lager made?

Like most beer, lager is based on a recipe that includes grains, yeast, hops, and water. A mash of the grains is steeped in hot water, which is then fermented with a particular type of bottom-fermenting yeast. Where lager is made and the various technical distinctions of its production, a lager can be further divided into several categories. These categories include:

  • Pilsner
  • Czech pilsner
  • Bock
  • Doppelbock
  • Amber lager / red lager
  • German pilsner
  • Eisbock
  • Light lager
  • Maibock / Helles bock
  • Marzen / Oktoberfest
  • Munich Dunkel lager
  • Munich Helles lager
  • Rauchbier
  • Schwarzbier
  • and Vienna lager
  • and many others!

The range of flavors and aromas expressed throughout the lager category is stunning, and beer lovers can spend a lifetime exploring the range of lager styles from both the United States and around the world.

What are popular brands of lager?

There are many popular brands of lager, including:

What's the difference between light beer and regular beer?

Generally speaking, light beer has fewer calories and a lighter texture on the palate when it is sipped. But the best light beers don't sacrifice flavor or aroma to achieve this.

What makes a lager a lager?

The main aspect of lager that makes it a lager is that it is fermented using bottom-fermenting yeasts that work their magic, converting sugar into alcohol, at a lower temperature. The word "lager" comes from the German term for cold storage and refers to the practice of maturing or aging lager beers in a cold environment. The combination of lagering and the use of bottom-fermenting yeast is widely accepted to differentiate lager from ale.

Browse our full selection of lager online or check out our selection of highly-rated lager for a great new lager to try this week!

Want to learn more about lager?

Visit our Guide to Lager to learn more about lager, ales, and all the styles of beer!