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What’s the Difference Between Beer and Lager?

If you’re new to the world of beer, you’ve probably noticed that there’s… well… quite a lot of them. Actually, there’s over 100 different types of beers out there. But don’t panic! We’re only talking about lager today. 

Lagers are a really popular type of beer that are consumed basically everywhere. You’ll be hard pressed to find a pub or bar that doesn’t sell some kind of lager. They’re crisp and refreshing with just the right amount of bitterness. So put your learning hat on – we’re checking out the difference between beer and lager.

What Is Lager?

Most beers fall into two categories – ale and lager. And you’re probably wondering what the difference between lager and ale is. 

Ale and lager are both types of beer. Both of them are fermented – which is what gives them the alcohol content. And both contain the simple ingredients of water, yeast, malt, and hops. But the different ways they’re fermented gives them totally different flavours. 

Lagers are made with bottom fermenting strains of yeast. They literally ferment at the bottle of the barrel (ales use a yeast that ferments at the top). And they are brewed at a cooler temp. Which means less of the fruity notes from the hops make it into the final beer. Leaving you with a crisp, refreshing, totally sippable beer. Some lagers have a real zap of citrus flavours and they usually have a really nicely balanced bitterness. 

Ales tend to have a smoother mouthfeel, fewer bubbles, and more fruity notes. Some even have a kind of pine flavour depending on the types of hops used. And most are more bitter than your average lager. Pale ale and IPA are both popular types of ales.

Is Lager Beer?

Yep. The real clever clogs out there will know that all lagers are beer but not all beers are lager.

Types of Lager

Just like other types of beers, lagers can be divided into different categories. The term lager itself is a bit of a catch-all name for any type of bottom-fermenting beer. But there are different types like pilsners, helles, and dunkels. Or just call it lager. It won’t mind. Just like ales, lagers can be pale, amber, or dark depending on how it’s brewed.


These dry, aromatic and hoppy lagers have become very popular recently. The biggest difference between pilsners and other lagers is that pilsners tend to have more hoppiness. And they use a different type of yeast. Thirst-quenching and tasty. 

Origin: Technically Czech. But has a mixed heritage from both Czechia and Bavaria – Bavarian yeast strain mixed with the Czech water. 

Appearance: Pale, clear, crisp, and golden.
Taste: Dry, aromatic, and hoppy. 

Fun fact: They were named after the Czech city Plzen and were created because Czech beer at the time was a bit rubbish.


A traditional German pale lager, produced mostly in Southern Germany – looking at you, Munich. It was universally available in most German-speaking cities but fell out of fashion in the 1960s. Recently though, the Berlin hipsters have re-incarnated it and it has become quite trendy again.

Origin: Munich, South Germany. The Germans love a good lager.

Appearance: pale and clear.
Taste: Full-bodied, mildly sweet, not too bitter. Less hoppiness than a Pilsner.  

Fun fact: There’s nothing hot and fiery about this beer – The German word hell can be translated as "bright", "light", or "pale".

Beavertown Bones Skeletal Hand Pint Glass. Zoomed in on lower half of glass filled with beer and has a white Beavertown logo amongst orange and blue streaks. Image focused on the skeleton hand grooves engrained on lower half of glass. Glass sitting on Beavertown beer runner with brown bar background.


Originally created in the 1500s, they’re the OG of German beers. Dunkels are the more robust and rugged older brother of Helles as they also originated in South Germany. They still use lager yeast but rely on darker roasted malts to get their deep colour. 

Origin: 1500s Germany. Drinking one is basically like stepping into a time machine.

Appearance: Amber to dark reddish brown
Taste: Smooth, low bitterness, and a malty flavour.

Fun fact: Dunkel literally means “dark” in German (spoiler alert). 


Märzen beers (pronounced like mear-tzen) originated in Bavaria sometime around the 16th century. It was the OG Oktoberfest beer and is still super popular in the south of Germany, although less popular elsewhere. It’s a lighter, paler cousin so if you’re not a big fan of other lagers, it might be the perfect sip for you.

Origin: Bavaria – The home of Oktoberfest.

Appearance: Light and clear
Taste: Less hoppy, fuller-bodied, and sweeter than other Bavarian lagers.

Fun fact: Märzen means March because these beers were brewed in March for the cooler temps. In fact, brewing beer was forbidden between April and September because the weather was too warm to create the right flavours. 

Try Our Dead Good Lager

So after all that lager talk you’re probably about ready for one, aren’t you? A nice crisp, cold beer sounds perfect right about now. Well, we only have one lager here at Beavertown. But we’re really proud of it. 

Bones is our award-winning (literally) craft lager. And we basically reached perfection with this one so we haven’t bothered with another. 

It’s a low bitterness lager with a hint of citrus and the smoothest, cleanest aftertaste. For the ultimate, thirst-quenching, easy-drinking beer around. Guaranteed to hit the spot. From your first can to your last. It’s dead good. 

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