Lakefront Local Acre Lager (Milwaukee, Wisconsin; A gorgeous, hazy, apricot-colored lager that is left unfiltered for rich, tangy heft, this unique beer is brewed from locally grown organic barley malt and fresh Wisconsin hops. It tastes of apricots and earth. At 7 percent alcohol, it is certainly potent, but also subtle and delicious. Back to Tasting Notes: Great American Lagers ». Todd Coleman

America’s first lager brewers arrived in the mid-19th century from Germany, where the golden, hoppy pilsner style of lager was just then catching on. But German brewers were making lagers long before that, in a wide range of styles. There’s dry, refreshing schwarzbier, or black beer, and dunkel, or dark. There’s sweet, copper marzen, enjoyed at Oktoberfest, while malty bocks, aged through winter, are drunk in spring. Subcategories of bock include floral Maibock, rich doppelbock, and eisbock, traditionally lagered in ice caves and skimmed of freezing water to concentrate its potency. The pale, bland American pilsners made today by the country’s biggest breweries are a far cry from these flavorful beers, but stateside craft brewers are now making lagers of depth and complexity in both traditional and innovative styles. View the gallery for some favorites from Milwaukee and around the country.

See the photo gallery of 9 Great American Lagers »