Traditionally, bottom-fermented beers were more common in the colder parts of Europe – here yeasts would settle at the bottom of the tanks, allowing brewers to make a clearer, crisper beer than traditional Ales. With the advent of refrigeration, bottom-fermenting yeasts could be used anywhere in the world. In the late 1800s to early 1900s most of the world’s brewing companies converted to this fermentation process using cold storage. This became known as ‘lagering’ from the German word largen, (to store). The end products quickly found themselves called ‘Lager’.
Lager beer is now a generic term for these styles of beers. They are matured in cold cellars at almost freezing temperatures – resulting in a refreshing, chilled drink. Although a number of variations exist (including the Czech-born Pilsner) Lager is now the predominant class of beer in the world.
Lager is generally lightly coloured with a clean, fruity and slightly hoppy aroma, coupled with pleasant malt flavours. Some are sweeter on the palate and have a smooth creamy finish (e.g Crown Lager). Others may be more bitter and slightly drier on the finish (e.g Melbourne Bitter and VB). Most lagers have an alcohol content of approximately 5% alc/vol, and are best served lightly chilled.
The most readily available and consumed beer in the world, a raft of popular premium Lager beers now exist, including:
- Stella Artois (330mL) – A favourite in Europe, this Belgian brew is a signature blend of premium malt and Saaz hops. Full-flavoured, superior quality beer with fine clear bitterness and creamy aroma.
- Boag’s Draught (375mL) – Master Brewed using a century old recipe, this full-bodied Lager has a smooth, hoppy bitterness derived from Pride of Ringwood hops, and leaves a refreshing aftertaste.
- Bluetongue (330mL) – Fresh, round-flavoured Lager made from a blend of soft Hunter water, local malted barley and a balance of Tasmanian bittering hops and German Hersbrucker hops.
- James Squire Sundown Lager (345mL) – A thirst-quenching Lager for all occasions, brewed with a mixture of Carapils malts and a unique blend of hops. It has a clean, fresh, grassy aroma and distinctive hoppy finish.
A Pilsner is a type of Lager with a more prominent hop character. Developed in the 19th century in Plzen, in what was then Czechoslovakia, Pilsner’s beginnings marked an exciting break away from entirely top fermented dark Ales. This experimental Bavarian brewing style helped spawn the Lager method used so widely today.
Pilsner is usually pitched differently to other pale Lagers, carrying its famed hoppy vibrancy. This is achieved by using the original Czech region’s Saaz hop, adding a noticeably drier and bitter finish. Dan Murphy’s range of Pils includes:
- Coopers 62 Pilsner (355mL bottles) – A golden coloured, Bohemian style Pilsner it has a crisp, full-flavoured taste with a smooth, satisfying finish.
- Pilsner Urquell (330mL bottles) – The world’s original Pilsner, this Czech classic was first created in 1842. Medium bodied, with an enhanced malty flavour.
- Budvar (330mL bottles) – Brewed to a 700 year-old tradition, this premium Czech Lager is golden-yellow in colour, with a pronounced aroma.
- Matilda Bay (345mL bottles) – This beer is hand-crafted using Australian pale malts and authentic Czech Saaz hops. Floral hoppy aromas, full malt flavour and a clean rounded palate have helped this Aussie Pilsner make many new friends.
Breweries have taken note of consumers’ desires to have a less alcoholic beer – still with the characteristic qualities expected of today’s premium Lagers. The result: Light Beer. Lower in alcohol (ranging from 2.0-3.5% alc/vol) yet retaining much of the flavour profile of its more potent cousins.
The following selections are some of our favourites:
- Cascade Premium Light (375mL) – A perfect balance of master brewing skills, the finest malt, hops and premium yeast culture. Sparkling bright amber with a spicy hop aroma and tightly packed head, this is a refreshing, full flavoured beer.
- James Boag’s Premium Light (375mL) – A full flavoured light beer with a smooth, pleasant bitterness. The aroma is clean & fresh with a malt, fruit character similar to that of its full strength counterpart, James Boag’s Premium.
- Hahn Premium Light (330mL) – A superior tasting light beer that is brewed for full flavour and refreshment. A favourite premium light and has won more internationally recognised awards for excellence than any other light beer.
CUB Crown Lager – Crown Lager is Australia’s number 1 premium beer. Crown Lager delivers a full flavoured lager with a crisp, clean finish. Crown’s gold label has been a symbol of quality for over 50 years and is instantly associated with special occasions. Affectionately known as a “Crownie”, this beer remains the standard in which all Australian premium beer aspires.
James Boag Premium Lager – James Boag’s perfect balance of brewing passion and the finest natural ingredients – including a unique yeast culture – delivers a world-renowned, smooth, malty and subtle lager styled beer.