Bringing Lagers Back to the Cities That Put Them On the Map
Apr 14, 2014 – 0 Comments
When [lager] beer is properly understood it will at once be regarded as one of the most beneficent agencies now at work in for the regeneration of society. - Editor of the St. Paul Advertiser, "The Lager-Bier-ization of America," published in 1858.
"So, what's your thing?" As a new brewery opening in a flourishing craft beer market, we get this question a lot. To be honest, we didn't set out to have a "thing," but we wound up with one anyway. Call it a happy accident. The short answer is that we brew the kind of beer we love to drink: refreshing, sessionable, interesting beer. It just so happens that the beers we love to drink are mostly lagers. This is why three out of our four core beers are lager beers. And why not? Not only are they delicious and drinkable, but their roots are right here in Minnesota thanks to some crafty German settlers.
The Twin Cities, and Minnesota in general, were the adopted home of a multitude of German immigrants in the Nineteenth Century. Many of these German expats were beer drinkers and brewers. These brewers had refined the use of bottom-fermenting lager yeast, sourced in South America a century earlier, which combined with lighter-roasted barley and more floral German hops to produce a distinctively drier, lighter-colored malt beverage far more suitable to warmer climates.
The German word "lager" means "to store": lager yeast performs best when fermented over extended periods of time in cold storage between 46-55 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the reason you don't see many craft lagers these days: they take longer to ferment, which makes them more costly to brew. In this incredible craft beer climate that has many breweries cranking out beer at or near production capacity, not many smaller breweries have the time or the space to focus on lagers.
Today, lager beer is the most widely consumed type of beer in the world...by a long shot. Unfortunately, the style most people associate with modern lager beer is the pale, "world lager" style (think Bud, Miller, Coors, etc.), which is known for its exceptionally light color, body and flavor. But lager beer can be, and has historically been, just as varied and as flavorful as any ale. German black lager (aka Schwarzbier), California Common and India Pale Lager (an experimental lager style currently produced by a handful of American craft breweries) are prime examples of the variety available in lager beer.
Here at Bauhaus Brew Labs, we take classic lager styles that we love so well, and skew them a bit with our sense of play and adventure. We like to think that we're re-imagining certain lager styles for a new era of lager drinkers. We call this approach "forward drinking," and it inspires and informs everything we brew. We're here to bring a new kind of lager beer to the Cities that put lagers on the map.
See you soon, Twin Cities!