Today is National Lager Day, a day for craft beer drinkers to celebrate this often under-appreciated category of beers.
Think lagers are boring? Wiseacre Brewing Co.’s Kellan Bartosch refuted that notion last year in this piece for craftbeer.com.
Bartosch, who would “take a well done lager over a poorly made IPA any day,” suggested that beers don’t need to be extreme to be good.
“The best beer drinkers I know enjoy every style and can pick out good and bad versions of each, including lagers,” Bartosch wrote.
So skip the IPA today and pick up a lager. There are many styles to choose from that don’t include American macrobrews. I’m particularly fond of Schwarzbiers and Märzens, but even a good old Samuel Adams Boston Lager (style: Vienna Lager) will do.
Speaking of, the brewers at Samuel Adams shared with us these facts for National Lager Day. Cheers!
1.) The word “lager” is derived from the German “lager” which means “to store.”
2.) Lagers are relatively new to the beer scene, first appearing in Bavaria during the 16th century; before that, ales were brewed for over 7,000 years because ales are easier to ferment.
3.) Lager yeast, as opposed to ale yeast, ferments (eats sugar to produce carbonation and alcohol) at cooler temperatures and, when done fermenting, settles to the bottom of the fermentation tank. Lager yeast also takes a longer time to condition the beer than ale yeast.
4.) Due in part to their clean, crisp character, lagers are sometimes incorrectly labeled plain and boring. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Craft lagers are flavorful and complex, and a number of different styles fall under the lager category and include Märzen/Oktoberfest beers, Bock beers like Maibock/Helles Bocks, Pilsners, Dunkelweizens, Rauchbiers, and Schwarzbiers, to name a few.
5.) Before modern refrigeration, brewers needed a way to keep their lagers cool during the brewing process. In lieu of today’s larger cooling tanks, German lager brewers of old sometimes cooled their beer in Alpine caves or in cellars dug deeply into hillsides.