IPA or Lager? What’s The Difference?

There are a lot of varieties of beer out there. There are those who would say “a beer is a beer”, and technically, they’re right. If you enjoy beer though, you know that’s pretty far from the truth. So let’s take a moment and look at two of the most popular types of beer out there. The Lager and the IPA.

What Does IPA Even Mean?

In 1840, a beer was developed in England and it shortly became known as India Pale Ale. IPA is an acronym that it now goes by because it’s much easier. If you are surprised that it didn’t come from India, then don’t worry, you’re not alone. The name came about because it was a popular drink that workers from the East India Company liked to enjoy. The brewery was located near the dock of the trading company in England.

The style of IPA has evolved over time. Another part of its name comes from the light use of hops that made for a pale colored beer. In today’s market there is no typical IPA. They are all brewed with higher or lower levels of hops. In the United States East Coast IPA’s typically have a stronger malt presence. West coast IPAs have a stronger hops presence. The shared factor in all of this is the brewing process and the distinctly pale appearance.

There is also a variety known as a double IPA. These are typically distinguished by their higher alcohol content, which is typically higher than 7.5% ABV. This style is claimed to have started in San Diego County around 1994 and is sometimes referred to as a “San Diego Pale Ale”. They are also referenced as an imperial IPA as well.

Here are some of the best IPA’s you can buy almost anywhere

Founders All Day IPA – Light bodied and fell with a complex pallette. 4.7% ABV

Two Hearted Ale – Has a floral taste and aroma, this centennial is a refreshing drink. 7% ABV

Try an IPA in one of these specially designed glasses that are just for IPA’s from Amazon.

So What Is A Lager?

Lager is a type of beer conditioned at low temperatures. It uses a yeast that is “bottom fermenting” and is usually finished in cool storage. Pale lager is the majority of what you see and is the most commonly available style of lager beer.

The practice of making lager beers runs all the way back to medieval times. The process required a cool place to ferment the beer and so they would store the brew in caves. Things have taken quite a few steps forward since then. Here are some of the main types of Lager that are out there.

Pale Lager – This is the most common style of lager and the flavor of the light style is usually mild. It is a pale to golden color.

Vienna Lager – Amber in color, this lager has a medium body with a slight sweetness to it.

Dark Lager – This was the typical style up until the 1840’s when lighter bodied beers became the norm. They have a thick bodied, rich flavor.

There are numerous lagers that are very popular in The United States and across the world. Here’s a list of some of the best:

Coors Light
Miller Lite

Try a Lager in one of these Pilsner glasses from Amazon.

Which One Should You Choose?

Well, historically, most would go with a lager. It is cheaper to buy and is more available than its IPA counterpart. It is also easy to drink and doesn’t have too much flavor in the way of being overly hoppy or bitter. You can purchase popular lagers at just about any grocery store or local beer spot anywhere in the United States.

IPA’s on the other hand have a much more complex flavor profile. They are often very heavy on hops or spices, which give them a distinct flavor profile. There are some that are available in your local grocery store but you are more likely to find an IPA at your local brewery than you are in the store.

In the end, it all comes down to what you prefer. There are some that don’t like a hoppy beer and prefer a more easy going drink. Some prefer to have a great flavor profile as opposed to a lighter taste and profile. In any case, be sure to have fun and get a DD!

Here at hmmwhat2drink.com, we strive for a commitment to excellence. We enjoy our beers, spirits, and specialty drinks as much as the next, but we urge you to drink responsibly. These articles and recipes are intended for adults and as such, should be used in the proper context. So have fun, relax, but do it responsibly in your home or with a designated driver. If you have any suggestions please email us at hmmwhat2drink@gmail.com.

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