Know your beers

The Lager is the young-un of the beer family, in fact, shhhh, but it was a bit of an accident. In its short history though, the lager has done well for itself and remains one of the most widely enjoyed beers.

But first, a history lesson

This beer type is perhaps one of the most popular across the world. In terms of brewing chronology, it's one of the young ones. And an accidental discovery at that, which seems to be a popular trend in brewing.

Back in the day, during the time of the ancients, brews were traditionally brewed at higher temperatures and warm ales were all the rage.

But somewhere in Germany, people began to realise that they liked these brews served cold as well. A bit of a refreshing toss up in the regular scene.Brewers used to store their brews in the icy caves of the German Alps, and as a result of what was most likely natural mutation, yeasts capable of fermenting in cold temperatures were born.

Evolution stepped in, and the rest is history. Lager became wildly popular across Europe and has remained one of the most widely enjoyed forms of beer ever since.

Random Facts

National Lager Day is celebrated on the 10th of December.

Lager comes from the German word lagers, which means 'to store'. This is mainly because of how it was 'stored' centuries ago.

It is a bottom fermenting beer.

Difference between Ales and Lagers

The primary difference between ales and lagers is the kind of yeast that is used during the fermentation process.

Ales use top-fermenting yeast while lagers use bottom-fermenting yeast. If that explanation doesn’t help much, read about what goes in your beer. That covers the difference in much more detail.

Of course, the basics like appearance, mouth-feel and aroma also vary. But this is all caused in the first place by the kind of yeast used during fermentation. These differences however, hold true not just between ales and lagers, but even for categories within the two types.

Ales tend to be more fruity, while lagers tend to be simpler in their taste, which is probably the reason the latter is usually described as ‘crisp’ tasting.

Pouring a Lager
  1. For any beer, the first step is to use a clean glass. It affects the flavour of the beer.
  2. Hold your glass at a 45° angle.
  3. Pour the beer, with the centre of the sloping part of the glass being the target.
  4. When it's half-full, bring the glass to a 90° angle and continue to pour the same way. You will get a gorgeous foam head. And head is great for beers. It adds to the aroma and makes it look great for serving.
Types of Lager Glasses

While it isn't a strict restriction, Lagers are usually served in the Pilsner Glass and Mugs.

The Pilsner GlassIt is a thin and slender glass, and hold 12 ounces. It's great for all styles of Lagers because it captures the sparkling nature of this plain beer and allows for head retention as well.

The MugThis heavy, chunky piece of glassware is fun to drink out of and definitely more fun to clink while toasting than other beer glasses. The Märzenbier is usually served in this.

Temperature at which to consume a Lager

Beers have ideal serving temperatures that they should be consumed at. This is because that specific temperature brings out the best in terms of flavour and aroma. It is a general rule that the strength of the beer has a correlation to the temperature it is served at. So the higher the temperature (the warmer the beer) the stronger it is supposed to be. (higher alcohol content)

Light bodied lagers are usually consumed cold at 40-45°F (4-7°C), medium bodied ones at a cool 45-50°F (7-10°C), Bocks at 50-55°F (10-13°C) and Dopplebocks and Eisbocks at a warm 55-60°F (13-16°C).