Beer is the world's most widely consumed alcoholic beverage and the third most popular drink after water and tea.
By far the oldest of the two types of beer, ale production can be traced back more than 5000 years. The word “Ale” comes from the German word alt, meaning old or aged. Like red wines, they are fermented and served at room temperature, usually yielding more intense flavor profiles. Depending on the brewing style, they can be their best when very young (a couple of weeks) to very old (several years).
Lagers have only been around for several hundred years and were not even fully understood until after the invention of the microscope. The yeast strains that make them were originally propagated on accident. Like white wines, they are fermented and served at cooler temperatures. Lagers are the most popular big-brewery beers in America.