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Bottom fermented beers, better known as lagers, came about by accident. They were discovered while ales where being stored in caves to prevent dangerous bacteria from growing. Top fermented Ale yeast could not survive in the cold conditions, only bottom yeast, the beer was cleaner, clearer and safer.

Brewed at lower temperatures and for longer than ales, the most commonly known lagers are Pilsner,amber, bock, and Doppelbock. In America when we think of lagers we usually identify with the pale lagers like Heineken and Amber lagers such as Sam Adams Boston Lager. Lagers are typically drier and yield less flavor and aroma than ales.

Pilsners are pale, the name is derived from Pilsen, Bohemia, where it was originally crafted. Modern day Pilsners are very light and clear, from pale to a golden yellow, and have distinguishable light hops and flavor.

Bock beer is a strong lager that was first brewed in the 14th century. Modern bocks are dark, amber, red, or pale in color and have a lower carbonation. Bocks flavors tend to be malty and complex, tasty low hop bitterness. Michelob makes an amber bock that I have tried, it is clear and dark in color with a lingering sweet finish.

Doppelbocks are similar to bocks, but they have an even stronger full-bodied flavor. Darker in color from amber to almost black and typically have a higher alcohol content.

I definitely recommend trying at least a pale lager and a bock, you won’t have many ordering doppelbocks, most restaurants don’t carry them.