In a time where there’s a brewery on every corner and everyone is an IPA-expert, there are still two traditional varieties that are sipped the most: ales and lagers. Whether you keep it simple and only pay attention to flavor or you get fancy with the fermentation techniques, we’ve got the low-down on these two variations of beer and how they’ll play into your Super Bowl Party. With Jacksonville’s ever-evolving craft beer scene, it’s important stay in the loop about what’s brewin’ in the Bold City. Here are some important similarities and differences between ale and lager:


If you didn’t know already, the brewing process is the main difference between ale and lager. That means the first step to understanding these two beers is learning about the brewing process! Ales originated in England in the 1700s, where they created the idea of brewing at warmer temperatures (between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit). This distinct process results in a beer with very unique taste, smell and texture.

Ales are a craft brewery favorite, typically focusing on IPAs (India Pale Ales) and APA (American Pale Ales). Another common ale variety is a stout, which is typically an acquired taste reserved for seasoned beer drinkers. They’re dark, robust, heavy and certainly not for everyone.

When someone talks about an ale, “citrusy, robust and bold” are common buzzwords that find their way into the conversation. We have no doubt an IPA will make its way into your Super Bowl beer selection. At Valley Smoke, we’ll be serving up some of our favorite ales to keep the party going. From small-batch craft options to our rotating draft, there’s something for everyone to sip on during the big game.

Our Favorite Menu Items to Pair With Your Ale:

– Farm House Mini Sandwiches: Buttermilk Biscuits, House Cured Country Ham, Pepper Jelly

– Carolina Style Chopped Pork

– Smoked Chicken Wings: Alabama White BBQ Sauce or House Buttermilk Blue Cheese


The cooler temperatures used to brew lagers causes the yeast to settle at the bottom during the fermentation process. The result of this German process is a crisp, clean beer. Compared to ales, lagers are far lighter in color; often transparent. The most common crowd-pleasers are lagers. Lagers are a go-to choice for novices and experienced beer drinkers alike.

While ales may have more complex layers of flavor, “crisp and smooth” are good descriptors for a lager. Lighter beers typically fall into the lager category and are usually high in carbonation. Many casual beer drinkers prefer lagers because of their mellow flavors.

One of our favorite things about a lager is how well it pairs with pretty much all food, especially BBQ. The menu at Valley Smoke is right up any beer drinker’s alley. Here are our favorite menu items to pair with your cold lager:

– Crispy Chicken Livers with Red Pepper Jelly, Whipped Lemon Cream and Fried Shallots

– Valley Smoke Beef Brisket

– Local Shrimp & Chorizo Pasta


Thanks to the brewing and fermentation processes created by some old guys a couple hundred years ago, we now have the beers we love and enjoy today.While both of these beers are distinctly different, we have a great variety of both. Whether you’re sipping a cold beer watching the game or enjoying a private party at Valley Smoke, we recommend trying one of each to see what you prefer. We can’t wait to see you! Cheers.