For the love of lager

By Dave Kelley

Ahh, lager. Gold like the dawn, cold like a glacier, crisp like the whack of a nun's ruler across your knuckles...

Yeah, I like lager. And I'm not ashamed - even in the face of a million brew-newbies arguing the difference between Hallertauer and Cascade when the only hops they've ever seen have been on a checkerboard. Why do I like lager? Let me count the ways...

I like lager because... If it weren't for lager (i.e. Budweiser, Miller, Coors, Stroh's, etc.) most of us would never have tasted, enjoyed, and learned to love beer. They may use Guinness to wean babies in Ireland, but in the U.S. - until about 1985 - the lagered pilsners from BudMillCoors was all we had. And, by God, we liked it.

I like lager because... If not for lager, there would be no soccer hooligans, aka "Lager Louts." This means that without lager, there would be nobody (hooligans) for American football fans to feel superior to. Let me demonstrate: Jaz (Manchester United fan who's had 19 lagers): "Let's set the ref afire and pillage the city!!!" Gonzo (guy with his head shaved and painted to resemble a Green Bay Packer helmet): "Uhhh, how about another brat?" Thanks to lager, the American standing shirtless in freezing rain looks positively civilized.

I like lager because... Since most American lagers don't have a lot of body, they taste best when they're ice-cold and you can slam 'em right down, making them absolutely perfect for drinking in the shower after mowing the yard on a hot summer day. I'm tellin' ya, a cool shower and an icy six-pack is my idea of heaven on an August Saturday.

I like lager because... It's cheap, and where I come from, thrift is a virtue. I love a brilliantly crafted microbrew more than almost anybody I know, and if I'm only planning on sipping a pint or two, I'll usually go for the good stuff. But when it's a college football afternoon with the guys, I'll take the $11.99 case of Swill Lager, thanks.

I like lager because... I have to. Why? Because when I'm invited over to a non-beer-geek's house, nine times out of ten he's got a fridge full of megabrewed lager, and I can either drink that or go dry. So why fight it? Gimme another cold'n'frosty, pal. And put it in a frozen mug, will ya?

I like lager because... It's available in cans, and you can put more cans than bottles in an ice chest. And if I'm heading out for a long day of fishing or golfing, you know I'm bringing a filled-to-the-brim ice chest along. Also, you can drop a can - full or empty - and it won't shatter, so a canned beer is a safe beer.

Finally, I like lager because it's beer, and anything that's recognizably beer is a good thing in my book.

Say it loud, I'm a lager lover and I'm proud. And you should be, too.

(Originally published in Tap Time News)