Beer and Lager: A Clash of Styles
Are you a beer enthusiast? If so, you might have heard about the never-ending debate between beer and lager. Both are undoubtedly popular alcoholic beverages of choice, and while they might seem similar, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart from each other.
What is Beer?
Beer is an alcoholic beverage that is brewed using malted barley, hops, water, and yeast. Brewers add different flavors and aromas with the use of additional ingredients such as fruits and spices. Beer age in tanks for a few weeks, and the yeast breaks down the sugars, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide.
What is Lager?
Lager, on the other hand, is beer that is fermented at low temperatures. The word “lager” means “to store” in German, and this process is precisely what it is known for. Unlike beer, the ingredients used are more straightforward, with a high concentration of malted barley. It is also brewed with a type of yeast known as Saccharomyces pastorianus, which is tolerant of cold temperatures.
Differences in Flavor
Beer is often characterized by its fruity, bold, and bitter taste that comes from the hops. Beer can have a strong, malty flavor profile or a more refreshing, bright flavor, depending on the ingredients. It’s also essential to note that craft beers can range from stout to light beer, offering an endless variety of flavor profiles.
Lagers, on the other hand, have a crisp, clean taste with a hint of sweetness but a low amount of bitterness. Lagers showcase a more subtle flavor profile. Also, the colder fermentation temperature of lager results in cleaner fermentation, which is the reason why the crispness is a characteristic of lagers.
Another significant difference between the two styles is the alcohol content. Lagers are lighter and are characterized by their lower alcohol by volume (ABV) levels, ranging from 3% to 6%. Beer comes in different styles and varieties, but the average ABV percentage ranges from 4% to 8%, depending on the type of beer style.
A significant difference between the two styles is the serving temperature. Beer is often served frothy at a warmer temperature, anywhere from 45°F to 55°F (7°C to 13°C). On the contrary, lagers are often served colder, with an average serving temperature of between 41°F to 45°F (5°C to 7°C). The colder temperature is ideal to accentuate its crispness.
Pairing with Food
Both beer and lagers pair well with food, and the best pairing depends on the individual flavors of the beer or lager and the type of food. Generally, beer pairs well with red meat, spicy dishes, and cheeses, while lagers pair well with seafood, salad, and white meat. The crispness of lagers complements all the different flavors and textures of salads and fresh seafood.
The Bottom Line
While beer and lager might seem similar, they offer distinctive taste profiles, alcohol contents, serving temperatures, and pair well with different types of food. Beer offers an endless range of flavor profiles; from fruit-based beers to stouts and ales; whereas lager is a refreshing option that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with light foods.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can beer and lager be used interchangeably?
No, they cannot be used interchangeably. Beer offers different flavor profiles as compared to lagers. Their fermentation, ingredients and temperature control are different.
2. What is the essential ingredient in lagers?
Malted barley is the main ingredient used in lagers.
3. What is the alcohol percentage difference between beer and lager?
Lagers have a lower ABV alcohol percentage as compared to beer. The ABV percentage for beer ranges from 4-8% while lagers range from 3-6%.
4. What type of food pairs well with lagers?
Lagers pair well with seafood, salads and white meat. The crispness of the lagers complements the flavors and textures of these foods quite well.