Ales vs Lagers...for Dummies
I (Taylor West), tended bar for three years with subpar beer knowledge. Often times I relied on played out adjectives like “hoppy”, “flavorful”, or “favorite” when describing beers. Worst...bartender...EVER. Knowing jack about the product I was selling was like wiping before pooping, light years away from practicality. Life took an immediate nose dive after a customer insisted on drinking my favorite lager, I poured a Lagunitas IPA.
Below is a simplistic breakdown of the differences between ales & lagers, an attempt to help educate the non-craft beer aficionado and prevent years of self ridicule..
Ale vs. Lager (for the simple minded)
Fermented cold (38-50 degrees F)
Yeast - Saccharomyces Uvarum
Longer brew cycle several months
Smooth, crisper, and more subtle in flavor
Ideally served between 40-45 degrees F
Think: Humble Sea’s Yacht Club
Thousands of years old
Fermented warm (55-70 degrees F)
Yeast - Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
Faster brew cycle (early as one week)
Strong, assertive, more robust in taste
Ideally served between 50-55 degrees F
Think: Humble Sea’s Allie Blonde
Interested in crispness? Dan Satterthwaite, from New Bohemia Brewing, helps satisfy the local thirst with his wide range of crisp and smoothly crafted lagers.
Feeling a bit wild? Tim Clifford, owner and operator of Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, finds pleasure in creating flavorful ales unique to the pallet.