Difference Between Pilsner and Lager

Learn the Difference Between Pilsner and Lager

Pilsner is a type lager from the Czech city Plzen. Pilsners use different yeast and tends to be hop forward with some added spice while Lagers are less hoppy and light.

What is a Pilsner?

A pilsner is a pale Lager beer first produced in the Czech Republic, in the city of Pilsen or Plze (also spelled “pilsener” in certain places or just “pils” in slang).

The original pilsner beer is generally acknowledged to have been created in the nineteenth century by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll. This Bavarian brewer developed a unique lager formula using malty barley, soft water, and Saaz hops. 

The bitter flavor of pilsner-style lagers comes from this particular noble hop flavor. German immigrants helped this style of lager gain popularity, which subsequently began to expand throughout Europe, Germany, and the entire world.


What’s the Best Way to Drink a Pilsner?

Pilsners taste best when served in pilsner glasses. A pilsner glass is a tall, tapered glass only a tad smaller than a pint glass. It features a wide mouth to aid in preserving the foam head and highlight pilsner’s lovely, nuanced flavors and aromas.

Serve pilsners between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, a crisp pilsner goes well with a range of dishes if you want to drink one with supper. Dishes like bratwursts, poultry, salmon, salads, and light sweets like lemon shortbread go best when paired with a pilsner.

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You’ll love the flavor of fermenting yeast, noble hop smells, and other crisp pilsner qualities whether you sip it directly from a glass or a can with some friends.

What is Lager?

Lager is a beer made using a yeast strain that can ferment at freezing temperatures. The lager style varies depending on the type of beer, the alcohol by volume (ABV), and how dark or light the beer is. 

Several well-known multinational breweries and specific craft breweries make lager in large numbers. Compared to ale-style beers, they often have fewer hops.


What’s the Best Way to Drink Lager?

Food combinations complement the experience and enhance the flavor of your beverage. Lagers are adaptable beverages that go well with typical pub foods like hamburgers, pizza, macaroni, and roasted chicken. Drink your lager cold and pour it into a pint glass to enjoy its aroma.

Explaining the Difference Between Pilsner and Lager

Pilsner vs Lager
Brewed at a high temperature Preparation Brewed at a low temperature
Golden color, slightly bitter taste Characteristics Crisp taste, slightly darker than pilsner
Bitter, aromatic flavor Taste Crisp, sharp flavor
Poured into a tall, thin serving glass Serving Method Usually poured into a pint glass

Certain factors that differentiate the two popular types of beers are:

Preparation Method

Grinding whole-grain barley in a mill is the first step in making pilsner. Following that, manufacturers combine the crushed barley with hot water and heat it to a required temperature of 154.5 F.

The lager brewing process is unique because makers brew it at a low temperature and then mature it in cold storage. You must complete three phases of fermentation to effectively manufacture this specific beverage.

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The distinct taste of pilsners distinguishes them, along with their light, golden hue. This beer has a slightly bitter flavor because Saaz hops define the fragrance and flavor. 

Most pilsners have an alcohol content of between 4 and 6 percent. In this type of beer style, minimalism is always the secret to success.

The lager brewing process happens at cool temperatures, giving it its well-known light, refreshing flavor, and light or dark brown color. Most dark lagers have an alcohol content of 4 to 6 percent, usually around 5 percent.


Regional Saaz hops, a fine form of this plant famous for its unique and classic scent, go into the making of Pilsner together with the soft Pilsen water. Brewers use it to make clear, golden beer.

Lager is among the most famous beer styles in the world because of its crisp, sharp flavor and fragrance. Brewers kept Lager beer for a long time in underground caverns to give it the taste.

Serving Method

Pilsners should be served cold. It’s best to pour the beer into a tall, thin glass for you to see its distinctive purity.

Lagers, like pilsners, taste best when served cold, except Bocks, which are ideal at room temperature. Remember that darker lagers should always be served warmer than lighter lagers.

You can serve lighter lagers in a tall, narrow glass, while darker lagers must go in a pint glass or mug, enhancing your drink’s clarity.

Wrapping It Up

Pilsner is a type of pale lager and shares similarities with other pale lagers. Pilsners are easily distinguished from dark lagers by their golden hue and gentle foaming on top. There is a clear distinction between the two.

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However, consumers may find it difficult to accept that pilsners fall under the lager beer group. Pilsners and lagers both use bottom-fermenting yeasts.

Types of Pilsners

The pilsner has been adapted in many ways by numerous nations and civilizations. Here are four different kinds of pilsners:

Belgian Pilsner

Belgium has several well-known pilsner labels that are often relatively smooth and light.

German Pilsner

Pilsners made in Germany often have a more bitter flavor than other pilsners. They have a taste profile between dark, hoppy ales and extremely light lagers.

American Pilsner

American Pilsners feature more subdued characteristics than their European equivalents, with notes of sweetness, breadlines, and malt.

Czech Pilsner

Czech-style Pilsners have a flavor that makes sweet bread come to mind. Bohemian Pilsner is another name for this pilsner malt.

Types of Lagers


Lagers from the Märzen region tend to be a bit stronger than many of their competitors. Their flavor is delicious without being bitter and has a robust body.


Compared to many other lager varieties, this beer is richer and darker. However, it still lacks an ale’s level of pungency.


This amber beer comes from Austria and tastes sweet, yeasty, and malty. Craft beer is more prevalent than a commercially made drink.


This delicious, dark brown beer originates from Bavaria. Its name means “dark” in German.


This style of lager, which gets its name from the German word for “bright,” has a bright golden hue and a mild flavor.

If beer isn’t your thing, check out our post on the difference between mezcal and tequila


Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

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