Lagering, as a process, was discovered around 200 years ago in Bavaria. Here, it was found that beers experiencing secondary fermentation in casks stored in the caves of the Alps would produce beers with different characteristics than ales.
The process of lagering became very popular in areas where fermenting with cool temperatures could be maintained, although it wasn’t until the invention of the refrigerator that lagers really spread around the world.
Over the last several years, flat sales have been seen for breweries as a growth in sales for American microbrews. Even though a lot of the beer volume from lager is composed of cheap quality product from the large breweries, there’s plenty of great products available, although most are from Europe.
European all malt Pilsener
World wild, Pilseners are the most popular style. The style originated in Bohemia in a town that was named Pilsen by the brewery. Even though there are some superb Pilseners made outside this region, the style is frequently cheapened and is also the basis for many beers lacking quality or being just plain ol’ cheap beer.
Classic German Pilseners are very light in color and well hopped, with the hop bitterness being high. It’s a well attenuated, medium bodied beer although a malty accent can be perceived. There shouldn’t be any chill haze, as the head of the beer should be dense and rich.
Lagers in this category are very similar to German Pilseners, although they are more full bodied and can be as dark as light amber. This style of beer will balance the moderate bitterness and noble hop aroma with a malty, yet slightly sweet body.