It's National Lager Day!

December 10, 2009

Today (December 10) is National Lager Day! Join me in raising a glass to celebrate this underrated beer style.

Lagers differ from ales in that they are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast, while ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast; the yeast settles on the bottom of the fermentation chamber as it transforms the hops and malt into liquid gold. After brewing, lagers are stored for a period of time to mature, hence the name: 'lager' is German for storage.

Lager is easily the most commonly produced and consumed type of beer in the world. One of my favorite aspects of lager is its universality: nearly every country makes their version of the standard lager. Despite lager's commercial popularity globally and in the United States, most serious American beer lovers staunchly prefer ale, to the extent that it can be difficult to find lagers at festivals or the craft beer aisle of the grocery store.

One possible reason for this absence of lager is that bottom-fermenting yeasts prefer cooler temperatures, which may be a deterrent for some small breweries. Another could be that market heavies like Budweiser, Miller, and Coors are all lagers (albeit really, really bad lagers), stigmatizing bottom-fermenting beers as a whole. Adjunct lagers (often termed 'American lagers') such as these rely on fillers like rice or corn, which subtract from the flavor but reduce the production cost.

However, a good all-malt lager is not tasteless swill like Bud; adjunct lagers are but one style out of lager's varied spectrum. From light Pilsner to strong Bocks, pale Helles to dark Schwarzbier, lager is diverse enough to satisfy any mood or craving. For more information,  Beer Advocate has an excellent overview of the many different lager styles.

If memories of drinking cheap beer has convinced you don't like lagers, the following offerings may change your mind.


Other posts celebrating National Lager Day:



When Worlds Collide: Beer and Wine | Recipes for Everyone's picture

[...] It’s National Lager Day! [...]

markedsfremme's picture

Det var virkelig interessant. Jeg elskede at læse det