Lager is one of the most popular beers in the world, easy drinking and crowd pleasing. It's a bottom-fermented beer – this means that the yeasts used to ferment the beer gather at the bottom of the fermentation tank. Because of the types of yeasts used, which can tolerate low temperatures, lagers tend to be clean and crisp in character. They also tend to be less bitter than ales, with more carbonation.
Lager's reputation has suffered somewhat in recent years, with craft beer lovers flocking towards trendy US-style IPAs and pale ales. While there are plenty of lower-quality, mass-produced lagers out there, it's a much more diverse category than you might think, with many great brews available. Styles to look out for include mildly sweet helles lager, crisp and delicate Czech and German pilsner, full-bodied amber lager, strong and malty bock, and dark, chocolate- and coffee-tinged schwarzbier.
5 lagers to try
A traditional German kellerbier by way of Leicestershire, this full-bodied yet clean and fresh lager has appealing malty undertones with a touch of sweetness and a soft, smooth mouthfeel.
It may look like a stout but Schwarz Mönch is a light, refreshing black lager, originating in the Swiss Alps (where it’s called schwarzbier) but is now being brewed in the Surrey Hills. It has a smooth, hoppy, toasty flavour.
This easygoing lager is infinitely sessional with delicate bitterness and a lovely light malt character.
A classic Bavarian lager – balanced, crisp and beautifully refreshing.
A supremely chuggable lager that hits the spot – and at a low-enough ABV that you can enjoy a few without feeling sore the next morning.