L is for Lager
The big American ‘macro’ brews all produce lager beers. They’re clean and crisp and taste great chilled.
But what is a lager?
Lagers can be contrasted with ales. Whereas ales are brewed at warm temperatures with a top-fermenting yeast, lagers are brewed at cooler temperatures with a bottom-fermenting yeast.
It’s the cooler temperatures that make lagers a challenge to brew. They tend to need refrigeration during an extended fermentation that can potentially take months. Conditioning following fermentation can take additional months.
Thus, where an ale might be four to six weeks from brew to drink, a lager might be two or three months.
That the American macro brews are successful with brewing lagers in large volumes is impressive.
And this goes quite a ways to explain why most craft brewers stick largely to ales. In the time it takes to brew one batch of a lager, two or three batches of other ales can be brewed and sold.
But lagers are nice, like the one I’m drinking now. I think I need to make one.
I’m participating in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. The goal is to write a post prompted by a letter of the alphabet on each day of April (except Sunday). My theme this year is brewing. Visit my other A to Z posts by clicking here.