Went to Gordon Biersch for a party featuring Chesapeake Porter, beer made according to an old recipe.
We got a short lecture about lagers and ales. Lagers are made a lower temperatures and have a crisper flavor.
In the old days, beer was generally dark. A big reason was that technologies were not well developed and the darker beers were easier to make. They also hit impurities better. As tech improved, it because easier to make lighter beers. As clear glass cups came to replace mugs or steins, people could see their beer and liked it clearer.