The best lagers: taste tested

Beer is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and 90 per cent of all beer drunk is lager, yet it’s often dismissed as an inferior brew. Mark Dredge disagrees and celebrates the joy of the good stuff with his picks of the best lagers for 2022…

The best lagers: taste tested

For much of the world, ask for a beer and you get a cold glass of pale, refreshing, carbonated lager – and it’s lager’s reliability and affordability that’s made it so successful. While lager is loved by many, it’s also misunderstood and often seen by British drinkers as boring, mass-produced and inferior to ale. But there are lots of great small brewers challenging those beliefs with their own classic and modern lagers that have the quintessential balance and easy drinking quality that defines the genre.

Lager and ale are different families of beer. Lager is brewed with yeast that prefers cold temperatures. It was first brewed in Germany over 500 years ago and the name comes from the German word ‘to store’, as the beer was kept in cold cellars to mature, unlike the ambient-brewed ales of the rest of Europe. In the lager family there’s a range of styles. Look out for crisp, herbal German pils; bittersweet Czech pilsners; pale, lightly bitter Bavarian helles; dark, malty dunkels, black lagers, strong bocks – even hoppy lager-IPA hybrids. Whether you prefer the refreshing simplicity of a global lager or the complexities of something from a small brewer, we’re in a golden time for Germany’s great invention.

Did you know?

For lager lovers October means Oktoberfest, Munich’s famous beer festival (which actually begins mid-Sep). It originated as a celebration for the wedding of the crown prince of Bavaria in 1810 and the party was so good they’ve repeated it ever since. Festival goers enjoy specially brewed lagers, like Paulaner’s Oktoberfestbier, which is available in the UK from Booths, Aldi or Majestic. (From £3/500ml.)


Three of the best lagers

Cloudwater Helles, England, 4.5% 

Inspired by Munich and brewed in Manchester, this classic-tasting pale lager has gentle bready malts and a light and refreshing dried citrus hop finish. Tastes great with sausages. Available from Cloudwater (£3.75 for 440ml).


Lost and Grounded Keller Pils, England, 4.8%

This Bristol-brewed unfiltered German-style pilsner is wonderfully hoppy, with floral, herbal and lemony aromas, and a lasting bitterness. Great with pork schnitzel. Available from Waitrose (£2.75 for 440ml).

Lost and Ground

Donzoko Northern Helles, Scotland, 4.2%

Unfiltered and lightly hazy, this soft-textured, easy-drinking lager from Leith owes its lovely tropical aroma to New Zealand-grown hops. Enjoy with your favourite curry. Available from Donzoko (£44 for 12 x 500ml).


Braybrooke Keller Lager, 4.8%

Brewed by lager specialists on a farm in Leicestershire, this amber brew boasts rich toasted and biscuity malt flavours. It’s great with carbonara or cauliflower cheese. Available from Braybrooke (£2.90/330ml).


Siren Craft Beer Santo, England 5%

Berkshire-based Siren combine a crisp golden lager with the American hops of a pale ale, giving a standout aroma of juicy citrus and tropical fruits. A top match for Thai food. Available from Siren Craft Brew (£2.20/330ml).

Siren Craft

More to discover

Subscribe to our magazine

Food stories, skills and tested recipes, straight to your door... Enjoy 5 issues for just £5 with our special introductory offer.


Unleash your inner chef

Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter

We treat your data with care. See our privacy policy. By signing up, you are agreeing to delicious.’ terms and conditions. Unsubscribe at any time.