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Lager: Brewed Cold, Aged Colder, Consumed on Ice
Beer lists aren’t complete without lagers. Check out Groupon’s guide to the world’s most popular type of beer—and why it’s different from ale.
Despite having a variety of colors, flavors, and effervescence, most of the world’s beers fall into one of two types—ale and lager. The difference begins during the fermentation process. As opposed to ale yeasts, which tend to float near the top of the tank, lager yeasts form closer to the bottom, where they thrive in colder temperatures—around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. After fermentation, most lagers often age for months at around 40 degrees, resulting in a clean, pale brew that’s best enjoyed chilled.
Even among lagers, the flavor and style of beers vary wildly. Generally made with delicately roasted malts and little hops, North American lagers tend to be pale and light, ideal for sipping on a hot summer day or while waiting out a blizzard in a farmer’s greenhouse. German lagers, by contrast, include varieties such as bock, dunkel, and märzen—cold-weather lagers with darker malt, more hops, and higher alcohol content. An eisbock, for example, has almost nothing in common with an American-style lager; as it brews, the beer’s temperature dips below freezing as the yeasts consume the last of the sugar, yielding a beer whose malty, robust body smolders like a campfire in one’s belly.
Until around the mid-19th century, lager was almost exclusively brewed in Germany. Traders found it difficult to keep the fragile, bottom-fermenting yeasts used in lagers alive during the trip to the New World, and the colder temperatures the yeast demanded meant breweries had to be located in regions where ice was naturally plentiful. Today, however, almost all of the world’s best-selling beers are lagers—a demand that has bred new breweries throughout the planet. Skol lager is massively popular in Brazil, Holland’s Heineken is popular virtually everywhere, and Americans consume endless quantities of Bud Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller, and Corona.
The Greene Turtle
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtle's philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.