Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Is it a Lager or a Beer?

No, no and … no it’s all beer and under the big umbrella of beer, Lager as one of the 5 different Beer Types deserves its rightful place at the amber firmament. It’s like saying to a Chardonnay, is it wine or fermented grape juice. Despite it being called ‘fizzy pop’ by ignoramus beer snobs it is beer made from the same ingredients as many other beer and yes even the natural side product of fermentation, carbon dioxide or the fizz in your pint. Lager has a long history and wide cultural diversity often lost on many consumers intimidated by an army of Lager fonts in pubs and bars, with the bar staff none the wiser about the difference of the various Lager beer styles they have on offer. The end product a result of historical events, serendipity and cross border collaboration Lager was born in 1842 (which is long time ago enough for me so marketing stop trying to get us to believe your Lager brand has been around for longer than that), after Bavarian brewers discovered that beer tasted great after cold storing it in ice cellars and caves or even could be fermented under these conditions, before this practice made its way to Bohemia, now in the Czech Republic, to ferment the new golden coloured beer from the town of Pilzen after which a Danish brewing engineer ensured the longevity of this new and unique beer type which has conquered the world with the unique bottom or cold fermenting yeast culture. What many of us don’t realise is that the Lager Beer Type group contains many different Lager Beer Styles offering us a wide variety of colours (yes not all Lager is blond), strength and flavour patterns. So next time you go out do me a favour and ask the person behind the bar or god forbid serves you at the table whether they have a Pilsner, Pils, Vienna, Bock, Black Lager, Schwarzbier, Munich, North or South American or Asian style Lager and to top it completely ask what the difference is between all of them. Bonus points for anyone who can give me the address of a bar or pub who can answer the one million dollar question and rambling of brand names doesn’t count. You don’t want to know whether it is John Jones wine or Smith’s plonk but whether it is Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chablis or Gewurztraminer so why can’t we hear about the characteristics of Lager Styles or all Beer Styles for that matter.