Beer Info FAQ

Is Michelob Ultra a Pilsner or a Lager?

Michelob Ultra is a popular beer brand known for its light and refreshing taste. When it comes to classifying Michelob Ultra, there is some debate among beer enthusiasts regarding whether it should be categorized as a pilsner or a lager. In this article, we will explore the key characteristics of Michelob Ultra and delve into the question of its classification.

Overview of Michelob Ultra

Michelob Ultra is a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate beer that was first introduced by Anheuser-Busch in 2002. It is marketed as a beer for those who are conscious of their health and fitness, as it contains only 95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce serving. The beer is brewed using a combination of malted barley, hops, water, and yeast, resulting in a light and crisp flavor profile.

Brewing Process

To understand whether Michelob Ultra is a pilsner or a lager, it is important to examine its brewing process. Pilsner and lager are both beer styles that undergo a process of cold fermentation and maturation. During this process, the beer is fermented at lower temperatures, which contributes to its clean and crisp taste.

Michelob Ultra follows a similar brewing process to traditional lagers. It is brewed using bottom-fermenting yeast, which ferments at cooler temperatures (around 50-55°F or 10-13°C). This results in a beer that is smooth and well-balanced, with a clean finish. However, unlike traditional lagers, Michelob Ultra undergoes an additional step called "ultra fermentation," which helps to reduce the calorie and carbohydrate content of the beer.

Flavor Profile

Michelob Ultra is characterized by its light and refreshing flavor profile. It has a mild maltiness with subtle hop bitterness, making it easy to drink and highly sessionable. The beer has a pale golden color and a clean, crisp finish. It is often described as having a delicate balance of flavors, with a slight sweetness and a hint of citrus.

Classification Debate

The classification of Michelob Ultra as a pilsner or a lager is a topic of discussion among beer enthusiasts. While some argue that its brewing process aligns more closely with that of a pilsner, others believe that its overall flavor profile and characteristics make it more fitting to be classified as a lager.

Pilsner is a specific type of lager that originated in the Czech Republic. It is known for its pale golden color, distinct hop bitterness, and floral aroma. While Michelob Ultra shares some similarities with pilsners, such as its light color and clean finish, it deviates from the traditional pilsner style in terms of its lower hop bitterness and reduced calorie content.

On the other hand, lager is a broad category that encompasses various beer styles, including pilsners. Lagers are typically characterized by their clean and crisp taste, which is achieved through the cold fermentation process. Michelob Ultra's brewing process aligns with the general characteristics of lagers, making it a viable candidate for this classification.

Ultimately, the classification of Michelob Ultra as a pilsner or a lager may vary depending on individual perspectives and preferences. It is important to note that beer classification is not always definitive and can be subjective to some extent.


In conclusion, Michelob Ultra is a light and refreshing beer that falls within the broader category of lagers. While its brewing process shares similarities with pilsners, its overall flavor profile and characteristics align more closely with the general characteristics of lagers. Whether you consider it a pilsner or a lager, Michelob Ultra offers a low-calorie and flavorful option for those seeking a lighter beer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can Michelob Ultra be considered a craft beer? A: No, Michelob Ultra is not typically classified as a craft beer. Craft beers are typically produced by small, independent breweries that emphasize traditional brewing methods and unique flavors.

Q: Does Michelob Ultra contain gluten? A: No, Michelob Ultra is brewed using malted barley, which contains gluten. Therefore, it is not suitable for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Q: What is the recommended serving temperature for Michelob Ultra? A: Michelob Ultra is best served chilled, at a temperature between 38-45°F (3-7°C). This helps to enhance its refreshing qualities and maintain its crisp flavor.

Q: Can Michelob Ultra be aged like other beers? A: Michelob Ultra is not typically aged like other beers. It is best enjoyed fresh to fully appreciate its light and crisp characteristics.

Q: Are there any alternative beers similar to Michelob Ultra? A: Yes, there are several other low-calorie and low-carbohydrate beers available in the market that offer similar characteristics to Michelob Ultra. Some popular options include Corona Premier, Budweiser Select 55, and Miller64.