Best Lager Beer: Our Pick of the Tastiest Pilsners, Helles, and More

Lager beers are often underestimated in the world of beer enthusiasts, with many overlooking the vast array of styles, flavors, and brewing techniques that contribute to their unique characteristics.

From crisp, refreshing pale lagers to rich, dark lagers with hints of chocolate and coffee, there’s a lager for every palate and occasion. So why not embark on a journey to explore the diverse world of lagers, uncovering the art of brewing, international standouts, and the best lager beer?

This blog post will not only broaden your understanding of lager beer, but also provide expert advice on food pairings, light lagers for an active lifestyle, and the rise of craft lager breweries.

Prepare to be enlightened, as we dive into the world of the best lager beer, discovering the perfect brew for your taste buds.

Short Summary

  • Explore the variety of top lager beers, from pale to dark and amber styles.
  • Discover key ingredients & techniques used in lager brewing, such as Czech Saaz hops & German Pilsner malt.
  • Uncover international brands worth trying and learn how to pair lagers with food for a harmonious dining experience.

Discovering the Top Lager Beers

Lagers constitute a broad range of cold-fermented, refreshing beers that come in various styles, such as pale lagers, dark lagers, amber lagers, and pilsners.

These styles cater to different tastes, providing beer drinkers with a multitude of options to suit their preferences.

Notable lager beer brands include:

  • Heineken
  • Coors Light
  • Budweiser
  • Corona Extra
  • Amstel
  • Miller Lite
  • Bud Light
  • Krombacher Pils
  • BBNo 32 Pilsner
  • Carlsberg
  • Harbin
  • Freestar
  • Kronenbourg 1664

With Coors Light Beer being a popular choice among them.

From the essential components such as lager yeast, Czech Saaz hops, and German Pilsner malt, to the long cold fermentation and maturation process, lager brewing showcases incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Let’s delve deeper into the fascinating world of lager styles, exploring the nuances of pale, dark, and amber lagers.

Crisp and Refreshing Pale Lagers

Pale lagers, especially the pale German lager, are renowned for their light, crisp flavors and their ability to be easily consumed, making them ideal for warm weather and informal gatherings.

These refreshing beers offer a perfect balance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness, resulting in an easy-drinking experience that appeals to a wide range of beer drinkers.

Some popular examples of pale lagers include:

Whether you’re enjoying a cold beer on a hot summer day or looking for a light and refreshing option at a party, pale lagers are a great choice.

Pilsners, a type of hoppy lager, are more hoppy and aromatic when compared to helles beer, which has a subtle, sugary flavor profile with a notable malty character.

For instance, Kaleidoscope Luminary Helles, a British interpretation of a traditional German classic, offers a robust flavor and a notable strength, accompanied by a distinctive and sweet honeyed taste that creates a unique character.

With an Alcohol By Volume range of approximately 4.5 to 6%, helles beer is perfect for savoring on a sunny afternoon or sharing with friends at a casual get-together.

Rich and Flavorful Dark Lagers

How To Brew Czech Dark Lager Beer Homebrew Challenge

Dark lagers possess a robust malt profile, with subtle notes of chocolate and coffee, culminating in a pleasing finish. These lagers offer a depth and complexity that is perfect for those looking to explore the more flavorful side of beer.

One such example is Budweiser Budvar Tmavy Lezak Dark Lager, a 500ml dark lager with an alcohol by volume of 4.7%.

For those interested in the origins of the Pilsner style, Pilsner Urquell is a must-try. As the Czech beer that is credited with creating the Pilner style, it has a very distinctive character. It has:

  • A bright and golden hue
  • A thick, creamy head
  • A floral, hoppy aroma
  • A crisp taste that balances biscuit-y malt flavors with a hint of dry, citrus bitterness from the Czech Saaz hops it is brewed with.

While both Budweiser Budvar Tmavy Lezak Dark Lager and Pilsner Urquell are lagers, they showcase the diversity of flavors and styles within the lager category, from the rich and robust to the crisp and refreshing.

Smooth and Balanced Amber Lagers

How to Brew Vienna Lager Homebrew Challenge

Amber lagers are characterized by a toasty or caramel-like malt character and a color that ranges from amber to light copper. They are brewed utilizing a combination of malted barley and caramelized malt, resulting in a medium-bodied beer that offers a perfect balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness.

Vienna lager, for example, is characterized by its clear, reddish-brown appearance, mild hop profile, and low bitterness, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a versatile beer.

Other amber lagers available include Munich Dunkel, Marzen, and Oktoberfest, each showcasing unique characteristics and flavors that cater to a variety of preferences.

Whether you are looking for a smooth and balanced amber lager to enjoy with a meal or seeking a versatile option for your next gathering, these beers offer a harmonious blend of flavors that are sure to please.

The Art of Lager Brewing: Key Ingredients and Techniques

The essential components of lager brewing include lager yeast, Czech Saaz hops, and German Pilsner malt, which together create the distinct flavors and characteristics of lager beers.

Lager brewing involves a process of fermentation and maturation at cold temperatures, utilizing malted barley, yeast, and hops as the key ingredients.

The distinction between lagers and ales lies in the fermentation process, with lagers being bottom-fermented at low temperatures and ales utilizing top-fermenting yeasts and brewed at higher temperatures.

Each of these key ingredients plays a crucial role in the final product, from the unique lager yeast that ferments at cooler temperatures, resulting in a beer that has a crisp, clean flavor, to the Czech Saaz hops that provide a subtle bitterness and distinct flavor profile in pilsner style beers.

Let’s take a closer look at these essential components and their role in crafting lager beers.

Lager Yeast: The Foundation of Lager Beers

Lager yeast, also known as Saccharomyces pastorianus, is a bottom-fermenting yeast that is capable of thriving in lower temperatures than ale yeast. This unique characteristic allows lager yeast to produce clean, crisp flavors that accent other main components of the beer, such as light malt sweetness and hop bitterness.

Lager yeast ferments at lower temperatures, generally ranging from 45-55°F (7-13°C), leading to a slower fermentation process and a cleaner, crisper flavor when compared to ale yeast, which ferments at higher temperatures, usually between 60-75°F (15-24°C).

The distinct flavors and characteristics of lager beers can be attributed to the crucial role of lager yeast in the brewing process. By fermenting at cooler temperatures, lager yeast allows for a more nuanced and refined flavor profile, making it the foundation of many beloved beer styles.

Czech Saaz Hops: A Staple in Pilsner Style Brews

Czech Saaz hops are a type of noble hop that is utilized in the brewing of bohemian-style lagers and pilsners. They possess a mild, earthy, herbal, and spicy aroma, and are not very successful as a bittering hop.

Their subtle bitterness and distinct flavor profile are essential components of the iconic pilsner style, contributing to the crisp, clean taste that has become synonymous with this popular beer style.

The importance of Czech Saaz hops in crafting the Pilner style cannot be overstated. Their unique characteristics, including their mild aroma and subtle bitterness, are integral to the crisp, refreshing flavor that has made pilsners a favorite among beer enthusiasts worldwide.

German Pilsner Malt: The Backbone of German Lagers

German Pilsner malt is a type of pale lager malt made from two-row spring barley that is highly modified during malting and kilned to an exceptionally blonde color value of no more than 2.5 to 4 European Brewery Convention (EBC; approx. 1.5° to 2.1° Lovibond).

It imparts a pale-straw color to wort and provides a mild, malty-sweet flavor with gentle notes of honey. German Pilsner malt is the foundation of German lagers, furnishing a full-bodied, malty flavor and a pale-straw hue to the beer.

Being a key element in forming the classic German lager style, German Pilsner malt is utilized in many of the world’s most renowned lagers.

Its pale-straw hue and mild, malty-sweet taste with delicate hints of honey render it the ideal basis for a range of lager beers, from crisp and refreshing pilsners to rich and robust dark lagers.

International Lager Beer Brands Worth Tryin

Embarking on a global beer journey offers the opportunity to sample standout lagers from different countries, each with their unique flavors and brewing traditions.

Whether you’re sipping a refreshing Mexican lager on a sunny beach or enjoying a crisp German pilsner at a traditional beer garden, there’s a world of lagers waiting to be discovered.

To guide you on this international beer adventure, we’ve compiled a list of lager standouts from Mexico, Germany, and Belgium, each showcasing their country’s dedication to quality ingredients and brewing techniques.

Prepare to be transported to far-off lands as you savor the flavors of these exceptional lager beers.

Mexican Lager Standouts

Mexican lagers are known for their refreshing taste, making them perfect for pairing with spicy dishes and warm-weather gatherings.

Notable Mexican lagers include Tecate, Dos Equis, and Sol, each offering unique flavor profiles that cater to different tastes and preferences.

Modelo Especial, for example, is an International Pale Lager beer that boasts notes of:

  • malt
  • biscuit
  • creamy corn
  • herbaceous hops

With its typical adjunct flavor, this crisp, Italian-style lager is best enjoyed with a pint in hand, beginning an evening of elegance.

German Pilsner Perfection

Germany is renowned for its dedication to quality ingredients and brewing techniques, and nowhere is this more evident than in their crisp, clean pilsners.

German pilsner perfection can be found in brands such as Bitburger, Warsteiner, and Paulaner, each showcasing the nation’s commitment to high-quality ingredients and brewing methods.

Bitburger Premium Pilsner, for example, is Germany’s No. 1 draught beer. It has a bright golden body with a thick, creamy head. It is characterized by:

  • a floral, hoppy aroma
  • a crisp taste
  • balancing biscuit-y malt flavors
  • a hint of dry, citrus bitterness from the Czech Saaz hops it is brewed with

This refreshing and iconic beer is a testament to Germany’s unwavering dedication to perfecting the Pilsner style.

Belgian Lager Brilliance

Belgium is known for its balanced and nuanced lagers, offering a sophisticated beer experience that caters to those who appreciate the finer things in life.

Some of the most celebrated Belgian lager beers include Orval Trappist Ale, Blanche De Bruxelles Witbier, and Omer Traditional Blond Ale, each showcasing unique characteristics and flavors that reflect the country’s rich brewing heritage.

Other popular Belgian beers worth exploring include:

  • Duvel
  • Leffe
  • Westvleteren
  • Chimay

These beers showcase the country’s diverse beer styles and rich brewing history. Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or a casual enthusiast, Belgian lagers provide a delightful and refined beer experience that is sure to impress.

Light Lagers for an Active Lifestyle

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For those seeking a lower calorie and carb option without sacrificing flavor, light lagers offer the perfect solution, allowing you to maintain an active lifestyle while still enjoying a refreshing beer.

These beers provide a guilt-free option for those looking to indulge in a cold brew without jeopardizing their fitness goals.

One such example is Birra Moretti Zero, an alcohol-free variant of a crisp, Italian-style lager. With an alcohol by volume of 0%, this light lager offers a balanced and flavorful experience, featuring notes of crispness, maltiness, and hoppiness.

So, go ahead and enjoy a Birra Moretti Zero without any worries, knowing that your active lifestyle remains uncompromised.

Pairing Lager Beers with Food

Expertly pairing lager beers with various dishes not only enhances the dining experience but also elevates the flavors of both the beer and the food.

From spicy Asian cuisine to classic Italian fare, there’s a lager beer that perfectly complements every dish, creating a harmonious and enjoyable meal.

Light lagers, for example, are well-suited for spicy food, burgers, salads, hot dogs, noodles, and fried fish. Pilsners, on the other hand, complement cheese, salads, seafood, and fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout.

By selecting the right lager beer to accompany your meal, you can create a memorable dining experience that delights the senses and leaves a lasting impression.

The Rise of Craft Lager Breweries

The craft lager brewing trend is gaining momentum, with numerous craft breweries appearing in various regions globally. These breweries are providing novel interpretations of classic lager styles, introducing novel tastes to the beer industry.

Craft lager breweries are small, independent breweries that specialize in producing high-quality lagers utilizing high-quality ingredients and craftsmanship.

These innovative breweries are exploring different ingredients, techniques, and processes to generate distinctive and savory lagers. Examples of these innovations include the utilization of diverse types of hops, malt, and yeast, as well as barrel-aging and blending.

As the craft lager movement continues to grow, beer enthusiasts can look forward to an ever-expanding array of unique and flavorful lagers to enjoy and savor.


Throughout this blog post, we have delved into the fascinating world of lager beer, exploring their diverse styles, unique flavors, and the craftsmanship behind their creation. From crisp and refreshing pale lagers to rich and robust dark lagers, there’s a lager for every palate and occasion.

We’ve also journeyed through the art of brewing, the rise of craft lager breweries, and the perfect food pairings to elevate your dining experience.

As we conclude our exploration of lager beers, we encourage you to embark on your own journey, discovering new flavors, styles, and experiences that await in the world of lagers.

Whether you’re a seasoned beer enthusiast or a casual drinker, there’s a perfect lager out there just waiting to be discovered and savored. Cheers to your next great beer adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular domestic lager?

Bud Light Budweiser, produced by Anheuser-Busch InBev, has been the most popular lager in the United States since its introduction in 1876. Its light flavor and natural aroma make it a go-to beer for many restaurants and bars.

What kind of beer is lager?

Lager is a light-coloured, highly carbonated type of beer produced from bottom-fermenting yeast. It is the most widely consumed and commercially available style of beer, often served as an entry point for new drinkers.

Common American lagers include Miller High Life, Coors, Budweiser, and Yuengling.

What is the difference between a lager and an ale?

Lagers are brewed at lower temperatures with bottom-fermenting yeast, while ales use top-fermenting yeast and are brewed at higher temperatures.

What are the main styles of lager beers?

The main styles of lager beer are pale, dark, amber and pilsner lagers.

What are some examples of international lager beer brands worth trying?

For a great international lager beer experience, try out Pilsner Urquell, Asahi Super Dry, Heineken, and Kronenbourg.

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