The other day, I happened upon an article from MentalFloss.com which asked the question what’s the difference between a lager and an ale. I knew National Lager Day was on the horizon, so I saved it because the info might be helpful. Here’s what they said (edited):
Lagers are known for their crisper, slightly more mellow flavor and ales tend to be fruitier, the separation has less to do with taste and more with how they are brewed. Ales utilize top-fermenting yeasts which interact with sugar near the top of the wort (the liquid product of boiling the barley and other grains) to produce alcohol at higher temperatures. Lagers ferment on the bottom of the wort and can take weeks or months to do their handiwork while chilling out at cooler temperatures. The term “lager” comes from the German word largern, or “to store.” Bavarian beermakers in the 15th and 16th centuries discovered lager when they left yeasts in cold storage for months at a time and noticed they were still fermenting—lager yeasts could withstand the near-freezing environments that made their ale counterparts go dormant. The variation in temperature produces different chemical reactions, which is why lagers tend to behave differently on the palate. While lagers are a relative newcomer to the beer scene—ales have been around for many, many hundreds of years—they have found favor with enthusiasts who enjoy their unique aroma and clean taste.
Me, I just like lagers because it’s what I grew up drinking. I like that they’re a little lighter and I prefer the clean taste to the smoky afterbirth of a heavy ale. There’s all kinds of lagers available especially with the array of microbrews on the market today, but there’s also another one that is called the King of Beers. That’s Budweiser and that’s the route I tend to go. As usual, I mean no disrespect to the beer connoisseurs out there. I know that there are some good quality lagers out there made painstakingly by brewers who take their creations very seriously. I’m appreciative of their efforts. I just would rather swill a cold Bud. So that’s what I did today.
Truth be told, I wasn’t feeling 100% today. I may have caught a cold while walking the grounds at Blithewold on Friday. I felt like ZuZu after the teacher sent her home with her jacket open. I was sneezing, achy, runny nose – the whole business. Just not at the top of my game. But, because I’m a trooper, the celebration had to go on. So after an afternoon nap, I got up and we made our way to Barrett’s Ale House in Fall River for my niece Wavy’s 6th birthday party. Barrett’s is a sports bar/ale house with a big game room. For a second we were wondering why there would be a party for a six year old at an Ale House, but then we saw that it boasts itself as “the best kid parties in Fall River,” so we figured it would be fun for us and for Wavy. It was only about 20 minutes away and when we got there, we found our group. Most of the kids were running amok in the game room so we were able to say hello to the adults and order a beer. I ordered a nice cold Budweiser lager.
It was good. I won’t describe it because I really hope you know what that tastes like. In any case, it was perfect. You always need a cold beer at a kid’s birthday party plus it was good company and good food too. Eventually the kids came back to the table to have some pizza and we got to see all the kiddos. Wavy seemed very busy as she always does. She showed me her newly pierced ears which she was very proud of. She said it only hurt a smidge too. If any little girl would like earrings, it would be Wavy. She’s been a fan of jewelry, baubles and beads since she could walk and to be able to add more accessories to her repertoire just seemed fitting. Soon she was off to play more games, eat some popcorn and enjoy her party. We were all recalling the day she was born with the whole family in the waiting room on a midnight vigil awaiting her arrival. Ben sleeping on the couch. Barry falling asleep in a position that made it really awkward for the random lady sitting next to him. Becky and Tara munching on their cheese platter (yes, you read that right – a cheese platter in the hospital). And Lola in the delivery room alongside Pete and Cherie as an assistant Johnny Bench. It was a happy event in what was an otherwise sad time. Wavy’s been making us smile ever since.
That’s Wavy munching on a pixie stix in the game room. When Lola and I walked into the party, I peeked ahead into the game room (which was on the other side of the party room) and I noticed that they had a piano video game which is one of Lola’s favorite games. We played it on a trip to Mohegan Sun one time to see a concert because that’s how we roll. No gambling, but time in the arcade. In any case, I told Lola the machine was there and I knew that she would want to play before we left. After cake, we went to the game room to tickle the plastic, flashing ivories.
I noticed that after cake and candy and flashing lights and the kids are all hopped up they become video game fiends. When they realized I had a card to play games, they were upon us (they had spent all their card money prior). “Can we play this?” “I want to play that!” “Will you swipe your card? Just this once.” I’ve never had so much power. We did our best to keep them happy but to also make sure we got to play our games too. We went to the piano game first and although Lola had lost a step since the last time she played, she started getting better and better by the end. We then moved to the pop-a-shot game where I was the winner. Lola, who is usually pretty good at that game, was off today and couldn’t get her shot going. Then we played a racing game versus each other. I was in the lead for most of it, but at some point one of my assistants decided to hit my flashing nitro button for extra speed which sent me crashing into the wall, so Lola won. We have fun in arcades. Maybe it’s the kid in us or maybe it’s just our immaturity, but we can keep ourselves amused in a room full of games. My crowning moment of the day was when I played the claw machine and won a god-awful Celtics stuffed capsule-like thing while my nephew Brickie was watching. His eyes lit up when he saw the claw making it back to the home base with the prize in its clutch. I was a hero in his eyes if just for that moment.
So that was Lager Day. I didn’t go all out in my celebration but I did enjoy a nice cold lager in a fun little party celebrating fun people. That’s the spirit of this celebration and in that regard, mission accomplished. I also won 600 tickets good for prizes too, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
Next Up: National Noodle Ring Day