Understanding & Differentiating Between Types of Lager article header image

Understanding The Different Types of Lager

In the UK, the term ‘lager’ and ‘beer’ are often used interchangeably amongst drinkers, a key indicator as to which type of beer dominates.

Whilst all lager is beer, not all lagers are beers.

A lager is a type of beer that is made with bottom-fermenting yeast. This means that the yeast ferments at the bottom of the brewing vessel, and the beer is aged for a longer period of time than other types of beer, such as ales.

Lagers are typically crisp, clean, and refreshing, with a light to medium body and a slightly dry finish. They are often golden to amber in color, and have a lower alcohol content than other types of beer. Some popular examples of lager beer include Pilsner, Bock, and Munich Helles.

What are the Different Types of Lager?

There are many different types of lager, including Pilsner, Helles, Vienna Lager, and Bock – to name just a few.

Different types of lager have different taste, aroma and colour profiles, and have different origins. Listed below are some of the common (and not so common) lager types:

1. Pilsner

A Pilsner is a type of lager beer that originated in the Czech town of Pilsen. It is a light-bodied, golden-coloured beer with a crisp, hoppy flavour and a clean, refreshing finish. Pilsner is made with pale malt and Saaz hops, which give it its signature bitterness and floral aroma. It is typically served in a tall, narrow glass called a Pilsner glass, which showcases the beer’s colour and clarity. Pilsner is a very popular type of beer and is enjoyed around the world. Some well-known examples of Pilsner include Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser Budvar, and Heineken.

2. Bock

A Bock is a type of lager beer that is full-bodied and dark-coloured, with a rich, malty flavour and a slightly sweet finish. Bock originated in the German city of Einbeck, and it is traditionally brewed in the winter months to be enjoyed in the spring. It is typically stronger and more full-bodied than other types of lager, with a higher alcohol content and a deep, amber to dark brown colour. Some well-known examples of Bock include Maibock, Doppelbock, and Einbecker Bock. Bock is often enjoyed in the springtime, and it pairs well with hearty dishes such as roast pork or sausage.

3. Vienna Lager

A Vienna Lager is a type of lager beer that originated in the city of Vienna, Austria. It is a medium-bodied, amber-coloured beer with a slightly sweet, toasty flavour and a clean, crisp finish. Vienna Lager is made with Vienna malt, which gives it its distinctive amber colour and slightly sweet flavour. It is also typically brewed with noble hops, which provide a subtle bitterness and floral aroma. Some well-known examples of Vienna Lager include Great Lakes Eliot Ness, Ayinger Oktoberfest-Märzen, and Samuel Adams OctoberFest. Vienna Lager is a versatile beer that pairs well with a variety of foods, and it is often enjoyed during the autumn months.

4. Helles Lager

Helles is a type of pale lager that originated in the Bavarian region of Germany.

Helles is a type of pale lager that originated in the Bavarian region of Germany. The name “helles” comes from the German word for “pale” and was originally used to distinguish this style from darker, more heavily-hopped beers such as Munich Dunkel. The style is sometimes called “Munich helles” or “Munich light”, but this term can also refer to other styles such as Dortmunder Export.

Helles lagers are usually brewed with a base of Pilsner malt, but some brewers will add up to 20% wheat malt for additional flavour and mouthfeel. The beer typically has a bright straw colour and an average strength level at 4-5% ABV with low bitterness.

5. American Lager

An American Lager is a type of beer that is light in color and has a crisp, clean, and refreshing taste. It is typically brewed with barley malt and rice or corn. They are usually light in flavour, but can be hopped to provide some balance.

The American version differs from its German counterpart in that it has less malt, less hops, and a lighter body.

6. Imperial Pilsner

An imperial pilsner is a type of beer that is typically brewed in the style of a German Pils. This term is usually used to describe a type of beer that is higher in alcohol content or has more hops than the typical pilsner.

The term “imperial” can be traced back to the late 19th century when brewers started to brew beers with higher alcohol content for export to Russia, where they were very popular with Czar Nicholas II and his family.

Imperial pilsners are typically consumed cold and straight from the bottle or can. They are often served with a small glass as an accompaniment but this isn’t necessary as they are designed for consumption on their own.

7. California Common

California Common is a type of lager that is brewed with a top-fermenting yeast. It was originally created in the US and is now available on the east coast as well. The typical style of this beer is light and refreshing, with a mild hop flavour.

8. Doppelbock

A doppelbock is a strong lager that is brewed with a higher quantity of malts and hops than a traditional lager. It typically has an alcohol content of 6-8%. The word doppelbock means “double bock” in German, which can be translated as “double block” or “strong bock”.

A Doppelbock was originally brewed in the 16th century by monks to sustain them during their fasting periods. They are often called liquid bread because of their high carbohydrate content. Traditionally, they were stored in cool caves during the winter months and consumed by drinkers for breakfast during Lent.

9. Maibock

Maibock, also known as Helles Bock or Heller Bock, is a traditional German beer that is brewed in the springtime. It is a strong, pale-colored lager that is usually brewed with a mix of pale and Munich malts, and it has a distinctive hoppy flavor. Maibock is typically served in a tall, narrow glass and is enjoyed as a refreshing, thirst-quenching beer. It is often enjoyed at spring festivals and celebrations in Germany, such as the May Day festival.

10. Dunkel

Dunkel is a type of German dark lager. It is a traditional style of beer that originated in Munich, and it is characterised by its dark, amber colour and its smooth, malty flavour. Dunkel is made with a blend of dark malts, which give it its distinctive colour and flavour, and it is typically fermented at a low temperature for a long period of time to produce a smooth, clean-tasting beer. Dunkel is a popular choice at beer gardens and taverns in Germany, and it is often enjoyed with a variety of traditional German dishes.

11. Golden Lager

Golden lager is a type of beer that is known for its light, golden colour and its crisp, refreshing flavour. It is a popular style of lager that is brewed using pale malts and noble hops, which give it its characteristic aroma and flavour. Golden lagers are often fermented at a low temperature for a long period of time, which produces a smooth, clean-tasting beer. This style of beer is often enjoyed as a refreshing beverage on a hot day, and it pairs well with a variety of foods, including grilled meats and salads.

What About Non-Alcoholic Lagers?

If you enjoy one or more of the different lager types listed above, you may be wondering if you can get alcohol free versions of these lagers. The great news is yes you can!

Non-alcoholic lagers are exactly as they sound – lagers that have zero – or very low levels (<0.5%) of alcohol.

They are typically made using the same process as regular lagers, but the alcohol is removed through a special brewing process. Non-alcoholic lagers are a good option for people who want to enjoy the flavor of beer without the effects of alcohol, such as pregnant women, designated drivers, or anyone who is looking to cut back on their alcohol consumption.

What Alcohol Free Lagers Are Available?

Right now, there are loads of different alcohol free lagers that are available both in the UK, and globally.

You can find alcohol free versions of popular lagers, which include Heineken 0.0, Bavaria 0.0, or San Miguel 0.0. But you can also find newer, less well-known alcohol free lagers, including some of our favourites – Pistonhead Flat Tire, UNLTD. Lager, and Lucky Saint.

Whilst some of these non-alcoholic lagers are better than others, these alcohol free lagers are typically lighter in flavor and body than regular lagers, but they can still be enjoyed as a refreshing, thirst-quenching beverage.