Bowman on Beer: Larger-than-life lagers
December 10th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
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Greg Bowman is an Editor Producer with CNN Creative Services in Atlanta and is also a craft beer enthusiast. Follow his beer escapades on Twitter @gboCNN.

It might seem like there is a national beer holiday at least once a week, but today celebrates the nation's most popular beer style, lager.

Lagers are fermented slower and at a lower temperature than other beer styles. The large-scale, "macro" breweries obviously rule when it comes to this style, cornering about two-thirds of all beer sales with their light lagers. However, I hope some of you will celebrate today by trying something new. There are plenty of great tasting lagers out there that are in the style that you may be used to, but may have a bit more flavor, produced with better ingredients and brewed by American companies.

Since I am a native Pennsylvanian, my go-to lager has always been Yuengling. If you walk into any bar in Pennsylvania and say "give me a lager," you will most likely be given a Yuengling.

Yuengling is a family-owned brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania; it also happens to be the oldest brewery in the United States.

I have been a Yuengling fan since I began drinking beer. It was relatively cheap, tasted good and was available everywhere. As my palate and beer budget grew, I discovered the craft beer world, but I believe it was Yuengling that taught me that my beer should have flavor, color and still taste good when its not ice-cold.

Lagers are generally crisp, refreshing and over all very drinkable. Pilsners and Oktoberfest are other popular types of lager beers.  Craft brewers are not just sitting back and letting the macro breweries have all of the lager fun.  Here are five other lagers from some craft breweries that will quench your National Lager Day thirst:

Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Sam Adams is at the top of the craft beer world, and their Boston Lager was their first and most popular brew. This is also probably one of the first craft beers I ever tasted, and it is still a reliable favorite. This lager is amber in color with a rich caramel malt aroma and just enough hops to make the finish refreshing and crisp.

Anchor Steam
This beer from San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing is designated as a "California common beer," and is fermented at a warmer temperature than other lagers.  This uniquely refreshing beer is a product of the Gold Rush and appropriately golden in color; it also has a light bread crust aroma.

Brooklyn Lager
Like Yuengling, this lager is amber in color and has a floral hop aroma due to "dry-hopping," or adding fresh hops late in the fermentation process. It starts off sweet and bready, but finishes with just the right amount of hoppy-ness.

New Belgium Shift
This is classified as a pale lager, and is great for those who want a little more bitterness in their pint. While this may more closely resemble a pale ale, it is still very drinkable and refreshing.The floral, citrusy aroma of Shift may make you think you are about to have a pale ale, but you soon you get a taste you will notice the malty backbone. If you like IPAs, this lager will be more suited for your National Lager Day toast.

Victory Prima Pils
I thought I would throw a little more love back to my native Pennsylvania with this pick.  Pilsners are a type of lager and similar in color, but the resemblance ends there.  The aroma of this one is light and piney, and the taste is super crisp.

There are lots of really great  lagers out there as long as you are not afraid to walk a little further down the beer aisle and discover something new. Let me know in the comments section how you're celebrating National Lager Day - cheers!

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Filed under: Beer • Bowman on Beer • Breakfast Buffet • Food Holidays • News • Sip


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