Among non-beer drinkers, lager can have a bad name, largely due to the large quantities of tasteless, nondescript clones produced in many countries around the world. However, there’s far more to lager than that, with some breweries producing exceptional versions.
Within the family of lagers, there is also a huge range of different styles to try, and with the sheer numbers of great beers on offer, finding the tastiest options can be a challenge. To help, here’s our list of the 29 best lager beers so now at least you’ll have an idea of where to start.
The Best Lager Beer Lists
1. Pilsner Urquell (Pilsner Urquell Brewery, Czech Republic)
This is the original pilsner – the world’s first pale lager – and it’s arguably still the best. Pilsner Urquell has been brewed in the city of Plzeň (also known as Pilsen) in what is now the Czech Republic since the mid-19th century.
It’s light golden in color and pours with a thick and full head. It has a slightly malty nose and tastes crisp and fresh with a pleasant bitterness.
This beer is ubiquitous in the country where it’s produced, and if you spend any time at all there, you’re sure to sample it many times – which is good news because this is a fantastic beer!
2. Bernard Cerne (Dark) (Bernard Family Brewery, Czech Republic)
The Bernard Brewery is a family operation in the Czech Republic that has been running since 1597. They produce a range of lagers and ales, all of which are extremely tasty, but perhaps the one to look out for is their dark lager.
Like the other beers in Bernard’s range, it’s unpasteurized, and it incorporates a mix of specialty malts to create a unique flavor profile that delivers notes of coffee, caramel and nuts. It’s well balanced and easy to drink, and a delight whether from a bottle or the tap.
3. Eliot Ness (Great Lakes Brewing Co., USA)
Great Lakes Brewing is an Ohio-based outfit, and the Eliot Ness is one of the most acclaimed beers in they have produced. It’s a Vienna lager of 6.1% ABV with an aroma that includes prominent notes of caramel and hops.
The taste is light and nutty with a small amount of malty sweetness and just the right amount of alcohol. It’s an understated beer, but its strength is in its balance – it’s well rounded and goes down very easily, so you can enjoy several bottles of this in a sitting.
4. Augustiner Bräu Lagerbier Hell (Augustiner Bräu, Germany)
An easy beer to find in convenience stores all over the city if you spend any time in Munich, this is perhaps the best example of the German Helles style. It has an ABV of 5.1% and a clean, fresh nose with hints of grain, hops and perhaps grass.
In the glass, it displays a light yellow or golden color with a delicate white head, and in the mouth, you can expect a clear and crisp taste with easily detectable hops and malt along with a touch of fruit.
This comes from a part of the world with a centuries-old tradition of brewing, and this is a beer that lives up to that reputation.
5. Dos Equis Amber (Dos Equis, Mexico)
A Vienna lager from Mexico, the Dos Equis has an attractive light-brown color and pours with a thin and frothy head.
On smelling, you’ll be able to detect notes of bread and malt along with a hint of spice, and the taste is what you’d expect from the nose – with a pleasant refreshing bitterness followed by a suggestion of caramel.
An easy-drinking beer that’s perfect if you feel like sinking a few on a sunny afternoon.
6. Köstritzer Schwarzbier (Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei GmbH & Co., Germany)
If you want to experience the German Schwarzbier style, this offering from Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei would be the perfect introduction. The roasted barley malt gives it a deep and rich aroma that also sends out hints of hops and yeast.
On tasting, you can expect a smooth flavored beer, again with plenty of sweet malt along with chocolate and caramel. Carbonation is medium, and it ends with a crisp, dry finish. This is just what a Schwarzbier should be like, so don’t miss it if you have the chance to try.
7. Weihenstephaner Helles (Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, Germany)
This is another exceptional example of the Helles style, this time from Germany’s Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan in Bavaria. It has a clear golden color in the glass with a medium head that doesn’t disappear too quickly.
The nose is clean and fresh, as it should be for this kind of style, and you may be able to detect hints of grass, biscuit, spice and hops.
Much of the nose carries over into the taste, and everything is balanced by just the right amount of maltiness to make this a well-rounded and easy-drinking beer.
8. First Call (Modist Brewing Co., USA)
A strong American lager of 6.5% ABV from Minnesota brewers Modist. It comes in cans, and when poured into a glass, it has a deep and attractive golden hue with a fluffy white head.
The most prominent aroma in the nose in the unmistakable whiff of coffee, which is mixed with undertones of vanilla, caramel and pale malt.
The coffee is very apparent in the taste too, but you may also be able to find hints of chocolate and perhaps some nuts in there as well. An intriguing lager with so much coffee you could almost have it for breakfast.
9. Dortmunder Gold (Great Lakes Brewing Co., USA)
The name of this lager refers to the style rather than its origin – because this one is brewed by Great Lakes Brewing in Ohio, USA. This award-winning beer has a clear gold appearance and a fluffy white head.
It’s easy to drink, with a gentle hoppy flavor and notes of fresh white bread. You may be able to pick out a suggestion of orange in there too, along with a touch of caramel malt, and it has a satisfyingly dry finish that leaves you ready to order another.
An excellent lager from an established and well-respected US brewing operation.
10. Christoffel Nobel (Bierbrouwerij Sint Christoffel B.V, Netherlands)
A strong European lager from the Netherlands that weighs in at 8.7% ABV. It is matured for 10 weeks and is unfiltered and unpasteurized, giving it a cloudy orange appearance.
The nose is predominantly malty, but there is a hint of hops in there too, along with more than a whiff of alcohol. The flavor is bitter yet sweet, and you may be able to notice hints of fruits such as orange, banana or apple.
Somehow, the whole thing tastes or feels old – but in a good way, making it an interesting beer to sample. This lager is brewed seasonally, but the brewery also has other beers that are produced year-round, all of which are well worth a taste.
11. BREWtality – Espresso Black Bier (Midnight Sun Brewing Co., USA)
According to BeerAdvocate’s rankings, this Alaska-brewed offering is the most sought-after beer of this style, putting it high on the list of brews to try for anyone who loves Schwarzbier – as well as those who are interested in sampling high-quality lagers in general.
It has a huge ABV of 9.7% – which probably has something to do with how it got the name – and the flavor is full of espresso combined with notes of chocolate and vanilla. It’s smooth and silky despite all the booze, making it a beer that demands your time to sit and savor.
12. Kiwi Rising – Double IPL (Jack’s Abby Brewing, USA)
This beer is an India Pale Lager or IPL, so it’s a bit like an IPA – but it’s a lager rather than an ale.
It’s a double, so it’s strong in both hops and alcohol content, and the New Zealand Kiwi hops added at various stages during the brewing process give it a distinctive and unmistakable hoppy, spicy flavor with a pleasingly bitter finish.
If you’re a fan of heavily hopped American IPAs and are looking for something similar yet different to sample, this IPL will be just what you’re craving.
13. Mönchsambacher Lager (Brauerei Zehendner GmbH, Germany)
Mönchsambacher Lager is a classic German Kellerbier – or “cellar beer” – a style of beer that’s traditionally unfiltered and unpasteurized, resulting in a thick and cloudy brew.
This version from Germany’s Brauerei Zehendner is a perfect example of the style, pouring with a pale golden color that’s almost orange and with a thick and foamy head.
It has a gentle hint of malt in the flavor and is light and refreshing to drink, making this another exceptional lager to look out for.
14. Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel (Klosterbrauerei Andechs, Germany)
A strong, dark German Doppelbock from Bavaria with an ABV of 7.1%, this beer pours with a deep brown color and a clear white head. Before you sip, you’ll be surprised by the complexity of the nose, which contains an array of aromas including raisins, yeast and toffee.
Much of this carries into the taste, but you may also be able to discern more flavors like brown bread and molasses, and this is followed by a clean and satisfying finish. An accomplished beer you’ll want to come back to again and again.
15. Region Riot (3 Floyds Brewing Co., USA)
3 Floyds is an Indiana-based brewery that consistently manages to produce world-class beers in just about any category they dip into. Their Region Riot lager is classed as a malt liquor and incorporates Indiana corn in the mix as a nod to the region where it’s brewed.
It has a golden appearance with a big fluffy head, and the flavor is malty – which is normal – but this is accompanied by some more intriguing notes that are subtle and hard to pin down.
This is an outstanding example of this style, so if you want to know what the very best malt liquors can taste like, this is one to track down and try.
16. Palatine Pils (Suarez Family Brewery, USA)
This is a German pilsner-style beer from the Suarez Family Brewery in New York, and it’s everything you could want from this style and more.
It has a clear golden appearance with a thick and long-lasting head, and it gives off aromas of bread, grass and lots of malty sweetness. This is a well-carbonated beer with a light-to-medium body and a crisp finish that makes it extremely easy to drink.
At 5.1% ABV, it’s not excessively alcoholic either, and many people will be happy to sit and work through a four-pack without feeling the need for a change.
17. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen (Brauerei Heller-Trum/Schlenkerla, Germany)
Rauchbier is a venerable style of beer from Germany that has been around since the 16th century.
Brewing it involves drying green malts over a beechwood fire, which gives the beer an unmistakable smoky flavor – “rauch” is the German word for “smoke” – and this beer is considered one of the best examples around.
Drinking one of these is a unique experience due to the strong smoky flavor – it might not appeal to everyone, but you should at least sample it once so you can make up your mind for yourself.
18. Yacht (Stillwater Artisanal Ales, USA)
In some circles, anything termed a “lager” is frowned upon due to its association with the mass-produced, insipid versions that are churned out in many countries around the world.
However, when done properly, a light lager can be a revelation, and that’s what Stillwater Artisanal Ales set out to prove with the beer they call “Yacht”.
It’s fresh and refreshing, as all light lagers should be, but it also has a surprising depth of hops, floral notes and citrus flavors along with just the right amount of carbonation and a slightly dry finish.
The brewers claim it’s the perfect beer for a luxury Caribbean cruise – but if that’s not within your budget, it’s also the perfect beer to sit and drink while dreaming of one!
19. Reality Czeck (Moonlight Brewing Company, USA)
The clever play on words in the name of this beer gives a nod to the country where this type of beer originates, but – whisper it – this version from the Moonlight Brewing Company might be better than anything from the land that invented the style.
The color is light golden, and it pours with a generous fluffy head. It has plenty of carbonation, as the head suggests, and the taste is a delicate mix of grass, spice, herbal and floral tones and an exquisite bitterness.
This is another beer that will challenge your perceptions of pale lagers or pilsners and should be high on your list of beers to try.
20. Hirsch (Hirsch-Brauerei Honer GmbH & Co., Germany)
An award-winning classic German pilsner with a nose full of honey and hops followed by a crisp, refreshing taste, a balanced body and just the right amount of bitterness. Understated rather than spectacular, this is an easy-drinking lager that you will be happy to turn to on a hot and sunny day.
21. Zubr Gold (Zubr, Czech Republic)
This is a Czech-style pale lager from the Czech Republic, and as you would expect from a country with such a strong tradition of brewing beers like this, it’s an exceptional example of the type.
It has a pale golden color and a slightly off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. The nose is subtle, with notes of malt, caramel and a touch of hops.
Very slightly sweet on sipping followed by a more bitter finish. Another high-quality brew from a nation that produces so many excellent beers.
22. Voll Damm Doble Malta (Voll Damm, Spain)
Although from the name, you might imagine this beer was from Germany, it is actually Spanish – but this double-malt lager is German-inspired.
It is pleasantly boozy with, as expected, a predominantly malty flavor profile – but also with plenty of complexity just below the surface. It’s a strong-tasting beer – all round, not just in terms of alcohol – so not everyone will enjoy it.
But for those who enjoy something richer and deeper, it’s a beer that always hits the spot.
23. Poetica 2 (Hill Farmstead Brewery, USA)
An excellent German pilsner-style beer that’s meticulously brewed in Vermont by the Hill Farmstead Brewery to produce an exemplary beer of its class.
Light yellow in color with an airy, creamy head, lively in the glass and busy in both its nose and flavor profiles, this is a brew that will leave no beer-lover disappointed.
It’s bursting with flavors, is so easy to drink and is a perfect choice to quaff outside in the sun. A pilsner that’s good enough to convert even non-pilsner drinkers.
24. Litovel Dark (Litovel, Czech Republic)
Although the Czech Republic might be best known for light lagers and pilsner-style beers, they brew plenty of other types there too, and the Litovel Dark is a Munich-style dunkel that’s deep amber in color with moderate carbonation.
The nose is reminiscent of dark bread with perhaps a hint of coffee and a light touch of hops, and the flavor is a balanced blend of chocolate, fruit and something like caramel.
At only 3.8% ABV, it is also the kind of beer you can drink if you want to avoid getting too tipsy.
25. Warabi-Za (Warabi-Za, Japan)
This is a Dortmunder lager from Japan with a light, bright appearance and a mixture of apple and malt in the nose. It has just the right touch of bitterness to give it balance, and the finish is clean, fresh and satisfying. A superb take on this style of beer from the Far East.
26. Beerlao (Beerlao, Laos)
Although some might argue that Beerlao doesn’t belong in the same company as some of the world-beating brews on our list, this surprisingly tasty pale lager from Laos is most probably the best beer in the whole of Southeast Asia.
It’s light and refreshing, easy to drink and is the perfect option to combat the sultry heat of a lazy Lao evening. If it’s not something you’ve experienced, you might not be convinced, but as anyone who has spent time traveling in the region will tell you, this beer is one you quickly grow to love.
27. Super Fresh (Peak Organic Brewing Company, USA)
The Super Fresh from Peak Organic is a pilsner with character to spare. At 7.6% ABV, it packs an alcoholic punch that can’t be ignored, and the dry-hopping process it goes through adds extra layers of citrus notes and irresistible bitterness.
There’s also just the right amount of sweetness lingering in the background to round it off, making this a modern imperial pilsner to seek out and savor.
28. Altenburger Hell (Altenburger Brauerei GmbH, Germany)
Germany produces so many excellent Helles beers, and this version from Altenburger Brauerei is another fantastic example. The nose displays malt, grass and citrus, and this is joined by a hint of spice on tasting.
A good amount of carbonation helps keep it crisp and refreshing, and it finishes with a satisfying touch of malt. Slightly different from many Helles lagers, but more than worth sampling if you have the opportunity.
29. Hopfmeister (Hopfmeister Braumanufaktur, Germany)
To end our list, we have a hoppy pilsner from Hopfmeister Braumanufaktur in Germany. It’s surprisingly fruity, with tropical notes along with the expected hoppy bitterness in both the nose and the taste. The body is light, making it an easy-drinking lager that is an ideal refreshing drink for the summer.
An incredible range of lagers waiting to be discovered
As you can see, there are so many amazing beers being brewed in styles ranging from light lagers and pilsners through to darker Schwarzbiers as well as more unique-tasting tipples like the smoky Rauchbiers and quirky creations like coffee beers or India Pale Lagers.
Of course, there are also plenty of poor-quality lagers out there, including some of the world’s best-selling beers, but with such a fantastic selection of outstanding brews on offer, there really is no excuse or reason for choosing to drink mass-produced, uninspiring beer again!