Is there any differences in the mainstream company lagers?

I often see people go into bars and just order a pint of lager, even though there are many different lagers available at the bar. This leads me to believe that most of the mainstream lagers don't actually taste that different from each other.

As I don't drink lagers — I tend to stick to cask/real ales — lagers all taste similar to me anyways.

So is there really any difference with these companies' lagers?

By mainstream mean Fosters, Carling, Carlsberg, etc...


2 Answers 2


I think the short answer to whether mainstream lagers taste different is no, not really. But this depends on how you define mainstream lagers. Different lager styles definitely taste different, but the reason mainstream lagers all taste the same is because they're all pretty much the same style of lager- American lager, and are all probably brewed in a similar fashion (what those in the industry call "macro brews").

For instance, coors light, bud light, keystone light are all the same style of lager, just different brands of the same brew.

But to taste the difference between different styles of lagers, try a budweiser and compare it to a Pilsner Urquell (it's a Euro pilsner- another lager style). The bud will taste light, bready and slightly sweet, while the pilsner will taste crisp, somewhat floral, and slightly bitter on the finish (and definitely way better imho).

Since craft beers are made in small batches with brewmasters experimenting with different flavours through use of various hops (flavouring agents), I'd recommend trying craft lagers if you want to experience the difference lager styles and flavours within a style. A brooklyn lager definitely tastes different/better than a Budweiser, even though they're both of the American Lager style.


Most generic lagers have subtle differences, but in general as you say they are usually very similar.

To be frank, though, this is something I find with just about any style of beer. For instance, if I'm buying an imperial stout from any given brewery I can reasonably expect what the beer is going to taste like for the most part. The only thing that really brings it down below my standard is if it's just not a quality beer.

In the same way generic lagers are an equivalent style and have a similar purpose, to be non-offensive and give people the 'beer' taste that they expect. So if you're drinking a Canadian, to a Bud, to a Sapporo you can expect them to be pretty similar.

The one additional thing I'll say, though, is that when beer falls into the realm of 'craft' you usually see a higher range of flavour within a style, than with generics, though. This is because the very purpose of a generic lager is not to stand out as to gain mass appeal.

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