Note: actual the first sentence is not quite right since other yeasts/organisms are used sometimes. This may be Belgium sours/lambics, or Specialty. There’s even a beer out there using yeast culled off the brewer’s beard-PGA
A beer is either a lager or an ale. Some 90% of beers sold in America are lagers. Yet, around 90% of craft beers sold are ales. While the masses have long-preferred the taste of flavorless “lite” lagers, beer geeks have long gone for the more complex flavors typically found in ales. But, all of a sudden I’m craving lagers. Begging New England friends to procure bottles for me. Recently, en route to Boston, I even took a detour to Framingham so I could purchase my first career growler of lager. My newfound behavior is thanks to Jack’s Abby Brewing and their iconoclastic takes on an oft-misunderstood style.
Lagers dominate the marketplace in most of the world. If you can easily name a beer from a country, it will surely be a lager. Corona in Mexico, Foster’s in Australia, Heineken in The Netherlands, Stella, Tsingtao, Red Stripe, Peroni, Beck’s…and, of course, Bud, Miller, and Coors. The world’s ten best-selling beers are lagers and all taste virtually the same. They don’t need to.
Lagers only differ from ales in that bottom-fermenting yeast is used, they are fermented cold, and necessitate a longer brew cycle (lager is the German word for storage). But “lager” encompasses far more styles than you think, running the gamut from helles and pilsners on the lighter end up to schwarzbier and marzens (Oktoberfests) then onto Baltic porters, dopplebocks, and eisbocks on the more alcoholic end of the spectrum.
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