With respect to Ales, lagers use yeast flocculation that slowly ferments at lower temperatures at the bottom of tanks. Historically, they have been cold stored for weeks to months. The process leaves a smooth, easy drinking beer with generally less hop and fruit flavors. Lagers would ultimately surpass Ales in popularity and production due to continuous fermentation and refrigeration technologies.
Lager beers always puzzled me in my youth, since I often confused them with the ever-present early to mid 90’s Malt liquor 40 oz. bottles. With its 8.2% abv, St Ides led the way followed by Crazy Horse, Old English and Midnight Dragon (among others).
While slightly older and still a bit uninformed, I would later recoil at the thought of drinking lager for fear I would awaken the nightmarish dark days when all I could do was wish and pray for the sweet and welcoming release of death.
Fortunately for the World, Malt Liquor is some freak North American government label requirement, and lagers are long established and well crafted styles of beer.
Lagers range in intricacy from smooth and easy to full bodied and complex, and World lager beer styles include ambers, bocks, pilsners, Eisbock, Dortmunder, Vienna, Munich Hellesand, Bavarian style Dunkel and Thuringian Schwarz. With some dopplebocks approaching 14% abv, I can only hope that one day craft Lagers will become the World 40 oz. leader.