Ale vs. Lager: Which Beer is Healthier?

When it comes to beer, there are two main types: ale and lager. But which one is healthier? Ale is often touted as the better option, with fewer calories and more of the sophisticated antioxidants called phenols that are good for protecting your heart. However, lager beer is actually the healthier choice. The main difference between ale and lager lies in the temperature at which they are fermented and the type of yeast used.

Ales are generally fruitier, sweeter, fuller and more complex than lagers, which tend to be softer, lighter and generally easier to drink. Chemical reactions occur more slowly at lower temperatures, which greatly affects characteristics such as taste, carbonation, and alcohol content. Lager beer is brewed with bottom-fermented lager yeast at cold temperatures (35 - 50 F). This process takes much longer than brewing ale, which can be done at room temperature.

The slower fermentation process results in a softer and sweeter finish than ale, not because of the additional ingredients, but because the yeast itself reacts chemically with some types of sugar in the vat that ale yeasts do not. Despite the low calories and higher amount of phenols present in ale, lager beer is still the healthier option. It's important to keep in mind that drinking 10 beers in a row will only add more calories and carbs to the party (and will probably make you lose your life). Beers shine when served in warmer temperatures, such as amber beers and Scottish beers.

The taste of beers is generally more fruity and sweet, while the body and flavor of lager beers are generally lighter and softer. So if you're looking for a healthier beer option, opt for a cold lager.