We’ve come a long way from filling our red solo cups with that American light lager. And while we no longer play flip cup with [insert regional macro light lager here], we do still enjoy a craft version of America’s own interpretation of a bottom-fermenting beer.

We can thank German immigrants for bringing yeast capable of producing this crisp, clean style. Made with ingredients available to them in a new country—corn and barley malt—lager’s popularity grew. During World War II, rationing meant brewers replaced grain with rice, which you’ll find in a lot of macro versions, such as Bud Light, still today.

In fact, 3 Tier Beverages scanned NIQ date through April 20, 2024, reporting that the category “Light Lagers” grew +62 percent to $4.6 million in Q2 this year, making this beer style the third fastest-growing of last quarter behind only hazy imperial IPAs and imperial IPAs. Which makes sense now that we’re in the thick of summer.

According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, American light lagers are “highly carbonated, very light-bodied, nearly flavorless lager designed to be consumed very cold. Very refreshing and thirst-quenching.”

Characterized by a lighter body, little to no bitterness, and a low ABV, American light lagers are perfect for celebrating the Fourth of July.

Because this beer style just pairs impeccably with summer.

Light, crisp, smashable, crushable, refreshing, effervescent, and sessionable, American light lagers embody whichever word you choose.

So to help you choose during this American holiday, below you’ll find one hundred percent highly crafted, medal-winning, innovative, well-made American light lagers.

Untappd’s All-Time Top-Rated American Light Lagers

Editor’s Note: These are not Hop Culture’s personal ratings. This list is based on Untappd’s ratings on the All-Time Top-Rated American Light Lagers. The list shows the top beers based on Untappd’s weighted average formula, which effectively rates all beers against each other. A beer must have 150 ratings or more to qualify for this list. For more information on the rating system, please view the Untappd ratings explainer.

We’re simply reporting on Untappd’s list based on statistics from check-ins from people all around the world.

Dwell (Batch 1) – The Veil Brewing Co.

Richmond, VA

the veil brewing co dwell (batch 1) american light lager
Photography courtesy of Jeff | Untappd

Call Dwell (Batch 1) the President of the best craft American light lagers in the country. Although no longer produced, this American light lager was the last beer brewed at the Veil’s original brewhouse.

What a doozy! Open-fermented for eight days in The Veil’s koelschip, Dwell (Batch 1) lagered in oak barrels for over three months before bottle conditioning for another seven months!

With this kind of care and attention to make a deceivingly simple (read: actually pretty complex) American light lager, Dwell (Batch 1) easily tops these rankings with an astounding 4.12 rating on Untappd.

Expect the crispness of a lager with some nice funky, oaky hints of a saison or wild ale.

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Coffee Lager – Steel Hands Brewing

Cayce, SC

steel hands brewing coffee lager american light lager
Photography courtesy of Steel Hands Brewing

Perhaps a little unconventional, but classified as an American light lager all the same, Coffee Lager from Steel Hands Brewing in South Carolina adds a dose of Loveland Coffee beans.

If you think coffee in your easy-drinking lager sounds funky, well, you might be in the minority. Just take a look at how many people on Untappd love this beer: Almost 6,000 ratings, by far the most out of any beers on this list, rank it with a 3.96—good for second best.

Light and crisp, Coffee Lager excites because you basically have an excuse to drink this beer any time of the day: morning or night.

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SOAKER (american) – HOMES Brewery

Ann Arbor, MI

homes brewery soaker (american) american light lager
Photography courtesy of Brian S. | Untappd

We recently covered Untappd’s All-Time Top-Rated Smoothie/Pastry Sours, where HOMES cleaned up with two beers in the top five.

Pivoting completely, the Michigan-based brewery’s American light lager SOAKER (american) falls into the top three here.

Brewed with Pilsner malt and flaked corn, SOAKER (american) lagers in a foeder before getting a dry hop of Mosaic.

HOMES describes this beer as simple: crisp and refreshing—two words necessary for any standout American light lager

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Tin Hoagie – Human Robot

Philadelphia, PA

human robot tin hoagie american light lager
Photography courtesy of Human Robot

We love Human Robot’s lagers. And yes, they’re all human-made, including Tin Hoagie, the Philadelphia brewery’s version of an American light lager brewed with U.S.-grown Pils malt and non-GMO corn.

Hitting only 4% ABV, Tin Hoagie benefits from a single decoction to bring out the malt layers and natural carbonation. Add in a dose of Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops for aroma, and you’ve got “a tailgate go-to with soul!” according to Human Robot.

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Dry-Hopped House Lager – Tree House Brewing Company

Charlton, MA

tree house brewing company dry-hopped house lager american light lager
Photography courtesy of Oakenator | Untappd

We all know that Tree House can crush hoppy ales, but turns out they know how to churn out some crisp, clear lagers, as well. Brewed with flaked corn and North-Central Connecticut-grown barley, Dry-Hopped House Lager benefits from a gentle dry hop with Pacific Northwest Cascade and Czech Saaz.

What you get is a house beer with a lightly doughy base, sweet corn middle, and a slightly citrus finish. “Masterfully executed and cared for,” says Tree House in the beer’s Untappd description. “We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!”

I’m sure we all will.

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Domestic – Outer Range Brewing

Frisco, CO

outer range brewing domestic lager american light lager
Photography courtesy of Taylor Stack (@taylormariestack)

Outer Range has a pretty cool story about leaving the life below for brewing in the mountains.

For years, the brewery focused on just two styles: Belgians and IPAs. After nailing those, they set their sights even higher, literally opening a second taproom in the French Alps and expanding their range of beer styles. But the brewery never lets its ego get too high.

Case and point: Domestic.

“We’re amazed at how many people come to our taproom and ask: Do you have any domestics,” Outer Range Brand Manager Wyatt Holwagner wrote to Hop Culture in an email. “While all of our beers are brewed right here at our brewery in Frisco, Colorado, we think we knew what they were getting at. To avoid any more confusion, we brewed a light lager called Domestic. So the next time someone asks if we have any domestics, we’ll get you the beer we think you’re looking for!”

This American light lager is kind of like the Goldilocks of Outer Range’s portfolio—nothing out of whack or balance. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a damn fine lager.

Outer Range says to expect notes of “honeysuckle, wafer cookie, and a crisp finish.”

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Capitola Bright – Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Capitola, CA

Sante Adiarius calls Capitola Bright a “coastal-style light beer.” What that means exactly is probably up to interpretation, but we can imagine sipping this 4.2% ABV American light lager on the deck of a boat, a patio by the pool, a lounge chair by the beach, and basically any situation that gets you in or near water. Refreshing, quaffable, and thirst-quenching, Capitola Bright nails the American light lager style.

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Brodelo – Wild East Brewing Company

Brooklyn, NY

wild east brewing brodelo american light lager
Photography courtesy of Tyler Marsh | Wild East Brewing

We are definitely not surprised to see Wild East on this list. We recently took a trip to Brooklyn, stopping into the taproom for the first time. While the brewery originally opened in early 2020 with a focus on mixed-ferm, wild ales, and saison, they quickly picked up a penchant for making excellent lagers, too, whether an Italian pilsner, Czech-style pilsner, or what have you.

Their interpretation of an American light lager, Brodelo includes Pilsner malt, flaked corn, and Sladek hops, commonly found in the Czech Republic.

“Light, crisp, and refreshing,” Wild East describes this beer as having a “clean profile with a hint of citrus.”

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The Peak – Percent Tap House

Harrisburg, NC

percent tap house the peak american light lager
Graphic courtesy of Untappd

The 2023 Untappd Community Awards ranked The Peak as the No. 1 American Light Lager. While all-time Percent Tap House’s version drops down slightly, it still maintains a high place in the top ten.

The North Carolina-based brewery brews this premium-style light American lager with a blend of the highest-quality local Pilsner malts. That good foundation gives this beer a top billing of 4.04 on the app.

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Xtra Good – TRVE Brewing Company

Denver, CO

trve brewing company xtra good american light lager
Photography courtesy of Anton K | Untappd

With a name like Xtra Good, this American light lager better be good. Collabing with the lagerheads themselves, Live Oak gives this beer a leg up. Add in craft malt like Troubadour Peve and Texas grits, and you have a recipe for top-ten success.

Hopped with Mittelfrüh, Xtra Good gives us cracker, biscuity, gritty goodness with crispy, Earth-shattering extra greatness.

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