This article has been a while in the making. Part of the reason for the delay is that I was not quite sure how to address the rest of the Lager family of beers. After a considerable amount of deliberation on the subject, I’ve decided to put them together. As I’ve said at numerous points in this blog, Lagers are more about yeast strains and fermentation temperatures than color. The color of a Lager can be iridescent. The palest blond beer can be a Lager…but so can a black beer.
Here is the hit list of various lagers that can be considered distinct styles:
- American Microbrewery Lager - this style distances itself from Mega-breweries and emphasises domestic hops.
- Australian and Mexican Lagers are worth a mention if only for the fact that they are based on Czech, Bohemian, and German traditions of Lagers.
- Bierre de Garde beers (from France) are aged for long periods in order to mellow them out.
The rest of the styles that could be mentioned are often defined by where they are made. Bohemian, Czech, Dortmunder, Erlanger, Munich Dunkels, Kulmbacher and other area defined beers vary in darkness and alcohol content but are not necessarily well-defined beyond the appellations that they carry. Some Lagers such as Klosterbier are monastery beers that are defined by that very attribute (i.e., originally made in a monastery). It may be noticeable that many of these beers defy sharp definitions. There are some notable exceptions.
As previously stated, German Black Beer, also known as Schwarzbier, is distinct in its darkness and flavor profiles. Another unique take on some Lagers is Rauchbier. Rauchbier is a German smoked beer that utilizes smoked grains. This is not really a unique style in that it uses Marzens, Wheat beers, or other beer types, but it is a unique take on beer. There is a great deal more that could be said about various Lager styles (this is a drop in the bucket), but I just wanted to get some minds moving on the fact that there is a wider world of Lagers than is generally recognized. The next several articles will focus on Ales…stay tuned.
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