Pilsner vs Lager: What’s the key difference?
Remember that awkward moment when Rachel and Phoebe went out and left Mike and Ross to hang out? Well, this didn’t go too great… But it could’ve been different if one of them knew anything else about beer, aside from the fact they like it.
They could’ve talked for hours about the numerous types of Lager beer out there, if only they knew… If you wonder what is Lager and what is Pilsner, and how to avoid social situations like this then continue reading for some interesting facts!
What is Lager?
What is a Lager Beer? Lager beers originated in Northern Europe, which is now Germany and Austria. The method of making Lager was adapted during the 19th century and it consisted of stages of long fermentation and long storing periods.
Lager is one of the two main types of beer, the other being Ale. The only difference between the two is the type of yeast used. Fermenting yeast at the bottom of the container would be used by Lager, causing it to feed itself slowly with the sugars, providing a crisp flavor. On the other hand, top-fermenting yeast and high temperatures are used by Ale. This results in its fruity flavor and aroma.
Popular Lager beers are Heineken, the Mexican brewed Corona Extra, Samuel Adams, Budweiser, the mountain cold Coors Light, and Bud Light.
Different Types of Lager
You may wonder what type of lager beer is available on the market? While Lager has a lot of styles, it is mainly divided into two main categories- Pale and Dark Lager. The best-known Pale Lagers are Helles, Pilsner (don’t get startled! I’ll explain later), Märzen, and Bock, while Dark Lagers are Dunkel, Doppelbock, and Scwarzbier. Let’s dive in!
1. Pale Lager
Pale Lager is the most widely produced beer in the world due to its inviting taste. It is a perfect introduction to the world of beers, especially if you aren’t sure what you are into, and where to begin.
Pale Lagers are best enjoyed cold. Lager was first brewed in the middle of the 19th century when new brewing Pale Ale techniques were brought to the German Spaten Brewery to result in the most commonly consumed beer.
2. Dark Lager
Did you know that before exploring the new Pale methods Lagers were predominantly very dark in color up until the 1840s? The lightest is the amber color and the rest range from red to brown, being all termed depending on region, color, or brewing method.
Dark Lagers taste bitter and sometimes smokier than Pale Lagers. You can enjoy Vienna, amber lager, Dunkel (German black beer similar to stout), tmavé (Czech), or Schwarzbier (German).
These are only a few answers to the question of what is a lager beer?
3. What is a Pilsner?
Now to the question what is a Pilsner? Pilsner or simply Pils is a type of Pale Lager whose top fermentation made its taste unsuitable for Western customers. In 1842 the Bavarian brewer Josef Groll brought new techniques and first produced the Pilsner. The name comes from the Bohemian city Pilsen where it was born.
Pilsners are light to gold in color and the taste gives you a strong hoppy kick. Best served into a Pilsner glass- tall, tapered glass, with a wide mouth, smaller than a pint glass. Popular Pilsner beers are Stella Artois, Pilsner Urquell, STS Pils, Heater Allen Pils, and Live Oak Pilz.
Different Types of Pilsner
1. Czech Pilsner
Also called Bohemian Pilsner is the type of pilsner that’s in the roots of most of the beers around the globe. You can enjoy a golden, foamy, and light flavor.
2. German Pilsner
Light to golden color, and a bitter earthy taste, are its most distinctive features.
3. American-style Pilsner
Or as most call it American Pale Lager is just a classic. Brought from Germany to America in the mid- 19th century, this beer has a sweeter malt flavor and medium/high hop notes, containing corn/rice.
4. European-style Pilsner
Produced from barley malt resulting in discrete notes of sweetness.
The key difference between Pilsner and Lager beer
By now you might be getting confused about what then is the key difference between Pilsner and Lager since Pilsner is a type of Lager? Is Pilsner simply one of the types of lager beer? The main thing to know is that Pilsner branched off much later than all other types of Lager.
With a longer expiry date, cold fermentation methods, and heavy-on hops, all types of Pilsner and Dark Lagers fall in the same category. The percentage of the alcohol levels of Pilsners are lower than or equal to Lagers, but Pilsners taste spicier. In the end, Pilsner vs Lager comes down to personal preference, but at least now you know the difference!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Budweiser a Lager or Pilsner?
Budweiser is a Pale Lager, also a Pilsner with its origin from America. This iconic beer is made with both rice and wheat, and its name is widely popular around the globe.
Is Heineken a Lager or Pilsner?
Heineken is both a Pale Lager beer and a Pilsner as a subcategory. It has a sunny bright color with a corresponding hoppy flavor and a lot of foam.
Is Pilsner a light beer?
A Pilsner (“pilsener” or “pils”) is a type of Pale Lager beer. The Pilsner originated from the Czech Republic city of Plzeň (anglicized as the city of Pilsen) and started being made in the middle of the 19th century.
Is Corona Light a Lager or Pilsner?
Corona Extra similarly to Heiniken is a Pale Lager and a Pilsner but in a different way. Nowadays Pale lagers are all very similar to Pilsner so you can refer to Corona as both Lager and Pilsner.
What popular beers are Pilsners?
Budweiser is an iconic American pilsner brewed with both wheat and rice.
Stella Artois is the best-selling Belgian European-style pilsner.
Is Bud Light a Pilsner?
Being part of Budweiser Bud Light is also a Pale Lager. Bud Light is an American high-quality beer made of barley, rice, and hops.
What type of beer is Coors Light?
Coors Light is an American-style light lager beer, first introduced in the 1940s but stopped production at the beginning of World War II. Coors Light was reintroduced 44 years ago. The flavor is light, and the calories and the bitterness are low.