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Beer Basics

Defining Beer
Beer Styles

American Classic Lager

Style Snapshot

This refreshing lager can be pale straw to light amber in color, medium in body, of moderate strength, and has a unique grainy flavor provided by the corn used in its grain bill.

This is an American version of the European Pilsener style, which employs North American ingredients to distinguish itself from its Old World origins. It is a substantial beer that has greater malt and hops character and presence compared to modern-style American lagers.


The term 'classic' is used to differentiate the original North American incarnation of the Pilsener style from those brewed in the mid-20th century onward. Pilsener beers were introduced in the United States by German immigrants in the 1800's who brought both the required yeast strains and brewing process with them to their new country. By adapting to the native North American ingredients, especially six-row barley used with adjuncts like corn, they created a unique version of the Continental Pilsener style. This style died out from the impact of Prohibition but was reborn as part of the craft and homebrewing Renaissance.

Style Parameters

Original Gravity (OG):

1.044 - 1.063

Final Gravity (FG):

1.011 - 1.017

Strength (ABV):

4.5 - 5.6

Bitterness (IBU):

23 - 40

Color (SRM):

3 - 6

Compare this beer style's parameters to others

Serving This Style

Suggested serving temperature: 42 - 48 F

Examples to Try

Related Styles

American Classic Lager