Pale, golden, amber, dark, bock, Vienna, pilsner… Whichever style you prefer, today is National Lager Day! As we’ve done with past holidays, let’s debunk a few myths. After all, today’s customers are thirsty for knowledge and enjoy an informed bartender or server.
Myth #1: Lager is a Style of Beer
There are people out there who erroneously believe that lager is a style of beer. They also believe that ale is a style of beer and that the 2 are essentially the same thing. The fact is that ale and lager are 2 categories of beer. It’s true that each of these categories can range in color from light to dark, vary in alcohol content, and have bitter or sweet flavors. The difference between lager and ale is the brewing process. Lager is brewed and conditioned at cold temperatures. Also, the majority of lagers are bottom fermented.
Myth #2: Pilsner is a Category of Beer
In very general terms, all beers can be categorized as either lager or ale. Pilsner is a style of pale lager and not its own category of beer as many believe. It originates from an ancient city that was once part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Plzen (also called Pilsen). This style of beer is fermented cold and then stored cold before serving. Whether you call it pilsner, pilsener or pils, it’s a lager.
Myth #3: Lager is a Cheap Beer
A common misconception surrounding lager is that it’s a cheap beer: cheap to make and therefore priced accordingly. The reality is that because lager yeast is fermented cold, it’s fermented slowly. This means it can take several weeks (and sometimes months) to make a batch of lager. Ale is actually less costly to brew, which is one of the reasons you tend to see more craft ales than craft lagers.
There are many styles of lager: American dark lager, bock, doppelbock, Czech pilsner, steam beer (also known as California common), dunkel, dortmunder, helles, European strong, and many, many more. To celebrate National Lager Day, we recommend you try one (or more!) of the following, all lagers and all gold medal winners at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival:
Coors Banquet, Coors Brewing Co. (American Style Lager or Light Beer)
Shower Beer, Champion Brewing Co. (Bohemian-Style Pilsner)
Pivo, Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (German-Style Pilsener)
Vienna Lager, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. (Vienna-Style Lager)