One of the newest editions to the Joymongers taps is the French Lager and while most folks coming up to our bar have heard of a lager, we’ve been getting lots of questions about what makes it a French lager.
LAGER VS ALE
Perhaps the most crucial thing we can teach you here on the Barrel Hall blog, if you did not know it already, is that basically all beer falls into two categories: Lager and Ale. Yes, every beer you have ever consumed falls into one of these two broad categories. I know what you’re thinking: what about a stout? A stout, along with porters and IPAs (India Pale Ale), are all types of ale. Meanwhile, Dunkels and Pilsners fall into the lager category.
So what is the key difference between lagers and ales? Yeast.
Simply put, ales are brewed with a yeast that brews at warmer temperatures and lagers are brewed with yeast that brews at cooler temperatures. An easy trick to help remember this is lagers, like our French Lager, ferment colder, for longer — almost like you are storing them, and in German, the word lager translates loosely to “storage.” ***
WHAT MAKES IT FRENCH?
We call it a French Lager as our brewing team based the recipe around a French style of beer called a Biere de Garde. A Biere de Garde is a lager brewed with a strain of yeast that results in a less yeasty flavor with a drier finish, distinguishing it from Belgian style beers.To reflect the Biere de Garde style, the French Lager is brewed with mostly traditional Pilsen malt, but in a twist about 20% of the recipe is a mix of kilned and aromatic malts to create a unique depth of malty flavor.
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
The rich caramel color of the French Lager hints at its flavor. The medium malt flavor is balanced perfectly with toffee sweet notes. The malt flavor lasts into a dry finish with very little bitterness.
This is a new and unique style for us in the Spring of 2020! We’re excited to bring it to our customers. Check the current tap menu for the Barrel Hall here and the Greensboro location here, to see if it’s still on tap!
***If you’re interested in a bit more of the science and difference between Lagers and Ales, we recommend this short article on Thrillist by Cicerone Zach Mack