In contrast to ales, lagers are bottom-fermented — or, in laymen's terms, the yeast sinks to the bottom of the fermentation vessel during production — and aged slowly in cool temperatures, giving rise to a wide variety of flavors and aromas.
The most common lager worldwide is the Pale Lager, which has a relatively mild taste, golden color and hoppy bitterness. Two popular examples of Pale Lagers are the Pilsner and Dortmunder styles.
The Tavern's current collection of lagers includes one Pilsner that is well-known in craft beer circles, Oskar Blue Mama's Yella Pilsner. A Czech Pilsner with 5.30% alcohol by volume (ABV), the Yella Pilsner is a solid variant of the Pale Lager. Distinguished by its clean taste, earthy aroma, and faint citrus flavor, the Yella Pilsner is a consistently good brew recommended for drinkers seeking a lighter, crisper beer.
Much like the Yella Pilsner, the Tavern's recently imported Spaten Munchner Hell, a German beer that shares some characteristics with the Czech Pilsner, but with a tad more maltiness. (Interestingly, this similarity is actually historical; when lagers from Bohemia became all the rage in Germany during the 1800's, Munich brewers started producing a similar domestic lager—the Helles Lager—to combat foreign competition.) The Helles Lager is a safe choice for drinkers who enjoy the simplicity of Pale Lagers, but with a slightly stronger flavor profile.
More powerful is the Tavern's Sam Adams Winter Lager, a darkly colored Weizenbock (meaning “bock strength”), touting more hops and a bolder maltiness than the above-mentioned Pale Lagers. Indeed, by the virtue of this lager's complex character, it should pair nicely with any rich and spicy foods on the typical holiday menu.
Lastly we suggest one of the Tavern's two Vienna Lagers for anyone desiring a full-bodied lager. Sam Adams Boston Lager is a longtime favorite amongst craft beer critics. A perfectly light brown color, the Boston Lager combines sweet maltiness with caramel, grain, and lager flavors while also maintaining its slightly bitter character. And, because of its very balanced flavor profile, this lager could accompany thousands of food combinations. (Full disclosure: I personally could drink this one forever.)
The Tavern's second Vienna Lager — Twisted X's Cow Creek — is also a good option for drinkers with a heartier pallet. Set apart by its dark brown (nearly black) color, this Vienna Lager was modeled after Negra Modelo, according to the brewer's website. And, much like its inspiration, this full-bodied lager incorporates hints of caramel and toffee.
So, in honor of National Lager Day, stop by The Hangar Tavern for a lager at a discounted price on December 10th. (Or you can visit the Tavern for a lager any other day. After all, it is the world's most popular beer!)