Lager is the beer for all seasons. It has a fairly average ABV — usually four to five percent — which lands it squarely in easy summer sipper territory. It’s also full-bodied, thanks to solid levels of malts and hops, making it an excellent fall beer for all your Oktoberfest “prost!”-ing. Hell, even in the depths of winter there are going to be times where a super heavy stout feels like a little much and you opt to drink lager by a crackling fire. Winter, spring, summer, or fall it’s never out of style.
But for all their versatility, lagers aren’t the easiest to make — even if they seem “simple.” Lager yeasts that settle to the bottom of the fermenter require a high level of brewer know-how, while the storing or “lagering” of the beer requires a commitment of time and money from breweries. Which explains why you really didn’t see too many craft lagers out there until recently. Brewers felt far more comfortable with over-hopped IPAs that could hide their shortcomings.
All of that’s changing of late. Craft beer in America continues to grow and brewers are constantly widening their skill sets. Meanwhile, the appreciation of beer aficionados for lager techniques is increasing.
The 12 lagers below are unique expressions of the style from all over America’s beer scene. These are the crowd-pleasing and ultra-refreshing brews that you can drink a sixer of without feeling drunk or bloated. Some of these picks will be easily available in your corner beer shop, others you’re going to have to hunt down or maybe even travel for. Trust us, they’re well worth the effort.