Cold storage (lagering) as part of the production process of beer predates the bottom-fermenting or cool-fermenting yeast strains used to create lagers, as opposed to ales. In fact, the word lager literally means to ‘store’ or ‘lay down’ in German and certain styles of beer are still produced today that are technically ales (fermented with top-fermenting/warm-fermenting yeast), but are in fact lagered.
Two prime examples from Germany are Altbier and Kölsch. Altbier comes from Westphalia (Alt being the German for ‘old’ or ‘old style’) and is a speciality of Düsseldorf that’s also produced in the Netherlands. Usually copper or amber in colour they offer crisp, fruity lager notes. Kölsch, meanwhile, comes from Cologne (Köln) and is defined by the Cologne Brewery Association (they must be full-bodied and hopped, with a gravity of between 11 and 16° and must be brewed within 50km of Cologne, for example). Made with pale malt, they’re usually clear and golden.
Today, Altbiers and ‘Kölsch-style’ (as you’ll find beers brewed outside of the 50km area labelled) are brewed all over the world, especially in America. Other examples of these ‘lagered’ ales include California Common and steam beer, Cream Ale and some Kellerbiers.