Difference between Beer and Lager

Updated on February 14, 2018

There are two kinds of beer – lager and ale. There is a different technology involved in making ale and lager, but both are still commonly referred to as “beer.” In real life, people rarely distinguish between “ale,” “lager” and “beer.” In this article we will describe what distinguishes lager as a beverage.


Brew kettles at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery

The term “lager” comes from the German word, which translates into English as “storeroom.” The fermentation process of lager takes a long time. The beverage is stored under low temperatures until the proper condition is reached.

The other distinguishing feature of the lager brewing process is that the fermentation is bottom up, unlike in the ale brewing process, where it is top down.

If you go to a bar or a restaurant and ask for a “beer,” most likely you will be served with lager. What is interesting is that the language distinction between the two types of beer seems to exist exclusively in English-speaking countries. In some parts of the English-speaking world, you will get ale, after you’ve asked for beer. If ale is not what you wanted, and you prefer lager, you have to specify that.

Comparison chart

Can be either ale or lagerIs one of the types of beer


What is the difference between beer and lager?

Lager is one of the two types of beer.

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