It’s no secret that Americans adore their beer, but the last century has been difficult for the beer manufacturers in the US. Prohibition and weak grain harvests took a huge toll on the traditional beer brought to America in the 1800s, and a style of lager unique to the US was born.
When you think of American beer you think of the golden colour you see on TV. A simple, non-intimidating beer for a simple American. It’s America’s pride and joy and has deeply embedded itself in the culture.
What Is The History Of American Lager?
You’ll notice that the American style lager available today is very different to European styles. This first is the appearance, the light yellow colour is not what you’d expect when ordering a lager when you’re used to one from the UK or other European countries. The colour of the beer directly relates back to the stigma surrounding alcohol consumption in the US throughout the 20th century.
Prohibition was instated in America in the year 1920. For 13 years Americans were not allowed to sell, distribute, drink or produce any alcohol. This was an obvious hit to the beer industry, and many beer manufacturers went on to keep their companies alive by selling completely different products.
What Makes American Style Lager Different?
German and Dutch immigrants and colonizers brought their traditional beer brewing methods to America in the 16th century. These lager and ale styles were similar to that of German bock beer and a Dutch pale ale, with the same ingredients and alcohol content. However, by the time prohibition had been lifted, German beer styles had lost their hold on Americans largely due to war and because of America’s lack of the needed grains, and a new lighter version of the lager using corn and rice as a replacement came about.
There was also a market for a lighter beer due to the stigma surrounding alcohol consumption. In those days, the alcohol content of a beer wasn’t easily establishable, so the general public would assume the lighter the colour of the beer, the less alcohol in it. This would make it socially acceptable to drink beer at any time of the day. American style Lager is often known as a “simple” beer, as the aromas and taste aren’t overwhelming or overpowering.
Due to grain restrictions after the world wars, rice and corn were added to the brewing process as an additive to the barley. This method has stuck around to this day to produce the majority of American lagers.
Is American Style Lager Common?
American style lager is very popular in America, but it is yet to have made an international name for itself like other European beers, at least in Europe. Europeans are immensely proud of their beer styles and aren’t convinced when it comes to the lighter, more “modern” style beers.
However, new world countries in Asia, South America and the tropics have taken to the American style beer. Where drinking culture can be perceived as more humble, the light beer is attractive in this sense. It’s refreshing, subtle and easily drinkable in the daytime and doesn’t hit you too hard too fast, and this is what many people love about it.
What Does American Lager Taste Like?
The taste of American Lager may come as a surprise to Europeans who are used to the typical German-style lagers. The taste is very light in comparison and has an almost sweet note due to the addition of corn. Its aroma is almost non-existent, making it very easy to drink. It’s known for being a great thirst quencher in the summer months, as the taste and high carbonation are satisfying and refreshing, a great beverage for picnics, beach days and barbeques.
Which Breweries Are Making The Best American Style Lager?
The craft of American style Lager is a proud one, and many microbreweries and big names exclusively sell the beer. Think Budweiser, Bud ice and light. Outside of America, although the beers may not be marketed as American style, a lot of Asian beers take after the influence. Beers like Tsingtao from China or Bingtang from Indonesia bare a similarity to the American style. Budweiser is definitely the most well-known American style lager to date and has become a favourite all over the world.
Is Corona An American Style Lager?
Technically, yes! But the recipe is of great pride to the Mexican people. Corona utilizes the same ingredients as your typical American style lager, it can just be perceived as slightly different thanks to the addition of lime.
Most people have never tasted a Corona without lime, that’s like having bread without butter, you just don’t do it! This pale lager is produced in Mexico, but is ironically owned by a Belgian company, and is sold all over the world.
Guess they’re not too good for pale lager after all. This beer is a great example of the refreshing taste of American style lagers, even if it’s not technically marketed as one. If your pallet is more akin to the strong beers of Europe, the idea of a pale and weak lager may sound unappealing, but don’t knock it until you try it.
What Foods Can You Pair With American Lager?
Thanks to its fruity, fresh citrus notes, American style lager goes splendidly with all the foods associated with the summer season. Anything salty and fatty will go well with this beer like American classics such as cheeseburgers, New York-style pizza, salads and grilled fish. The most iconic pairing would be with an American style backyard barbeque. Just imagine sipping a light fresh beer with slow-cooked ribs, there’s just nothing better than this classic combo.
American Lager Deserves A Spot At The Top
American lager might be a controversial topic, but just because its brewing history isn’t as traditional as that of the typical European beer, it doesn’t mean it’s any lesser.
The American beer industry overcame a huge culture shift and gave the people what they want: a light, bright, fresher beer for a new age of beer drinkers.