Lager - what type of beer is it and why it is so popular?


In Australia, the typical beer drinker is a lager drinker. Go to any pub or club and view what is on tap, the big brands are all serving up this style of beer.

It’s the same the world over.

So why do the big guys like this beer so much?

Why is it so popular with beer lovers the world over and where does it come from?

Very brief history of Lager Beer

Unlike the Pale Ale that originated in England, lager’s have their origins in either Germany or Bohemia (now known as the Czech Republic)

There are 3 main styles

  • Pale (Helles) Lager

  • Vienna Lager (which is not seen so much anymore) or

  • Dark (Dunkel) Lager

Devil’s Elbow lagers will fall in the Pale Lager side of the lager family with our Small Arms German Style Lager being the first to drop. We are using a combination of Australian Pilsner Malt, German Cara Malt, Traditional German Hops and Traditional European Lager Yeast.

Yep we are being traditionalists with this one!

Lager beer uses a process of cool fermentation, followed by maturation in cold storage. This is a different process to that used by traditional English Ales. The German word "Lager" means storeroom or warehouse. The yeast generally used with lager brewing is Saccharomyces pastorianus (for the home brewers/chemists amongst you!). This brewing process provides the restrained flavours and crisp finish of lagers beloved by lager drinkers everywhere.

Prior to refrigeration techniques developing around 1870, it was difficult to store lager during warm summers in Europe. During the 1500’s it was forbidden to sell lager during the summer months in Bavaria as you couldn’t guarantee that the process of fermentation wouldn’t go off and poison your patrons! Hence the birth of Oktoberfest as a celebration where the taps are open again.

Other methods for storing lager were to keep it in caverns and caves and plant chestnut trees outside that provided shade, but had a shallow root structure so not to interfere with the caverns themselves.

The birthplace of the modern beer garden!

What glass should I use?

A pint glass or similar - tall, crisp, classic - just like the beer itself.

What food goes great with this?

Seafood, especially prawns and oysters, salads and a great roast chook!

When should I drink this?

It’s a beer drinker’s staple, so we say all year round as its easy, sessionable drinking.