It’s no secret that Summit Brewing Co. loves lagers.
With an authentic all-copper German brewhouse and a passion for tradition, how can we not?
So, needless to say, when National Lager Day rolls around on December 10, we’re more than happy to celebrate!
What Is A Lager?
Let’s start with a broad definition. A lager is “a type of beer conditioned at a low temperature.”
Diving in a bit further, lagers are a category of beer that require cool-fermentation and cold-conditioning. This means, while the beer matures it is kept at a lower temperature than ales and for a longer period of time. Often, lager styles are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast strains as well.
Lagers are said to be the most common type of beer in the world, and include styles such as Helles, Pilsners, Bocks, Märzens, Dunkels and Schwarzbier.
They are often characterized by their balanced flavors and crisp finishes.
So, Why Are Lagers So Great?
From a brewing perspective, lagers – like pilsners for example – are incredibly difficult to make. And who doesn”t like a challenge?
As our Founder & President Mark Stutrud said, “I enjoy a delicate dance.”
Lagers require a specific balance of ingredients. As they are neither malt nor hop forward, there’s no flavor profile to hide behind. Any flaw in the recipe or brewing process is apparent.
“Traditional lagers such as Helles and Pils are probably the most technically challenging styles to execute on a consistent basis,” head brewer Damian McConn said. “They are in essence the “beers of truth.” You could hide a double decker bus inside a pint of double IPA but there’s nowhere to hide when brewing lager. Any flaw regarding process, ingredients or technique will become apparent as these beers are very subtle, finely balanced and must be extremely clean without any trace of defect. Lager beers will not only test the brewer’s technical capabilities but also the brewer’s patience!”
The maturation process can take a while and that requires time, equipment and, as McConn said, patience.
“The last thing you want to do is cut short the lagering time,” Stutrud explained. “Because you can taste the difference between a lager that has aged for three weeks or eight weeks.”
From a drinking perspective, lagers offer so much variety!
Given the breadth of styles within this category there are a number of different variations for drinkers to enjoy.
They also offer a sense of fondness and sentimentality.
As Director of Sales, Brandon Bland, said, his first foray into beer was drinking a light-American lager. So, when he enjoys a well-made one now, it brings back pleasant memories.
“There is a sense of nostalgia that comes along with drinking a well-made lager beer,” he said.
For Stutrud, it offers “euphoric recall.” When sipping on our Keller Pils, he’s taken back to where his love of lagers began – Nuremburg, Germany.
When it comes to what makes Summit lagers so great, it all comes back to tradition.
“We really let it age and lager, with a minimum of six weeks. It truly makes a difference to the roundness of the beer,” Stutrud said.
Dakota Soul Craft Lager is currently available in 6-and-12-packs of 12oz bottles and 12-packs of 12oz cans. Keller Pils is currently available in 6-and-12-packs of 12oz cans. To give one of our lagers a try, find Summit beer near you. Prost!