Origins of lager

The emergence of lager is often linked to the history of Urquell – the golden, bitter beer from Pilzen, Czech Republic.

But it seems that lager brewing developed in Bavaria, Germany, centuries before the technique (of low-temperature, bottom fermenting) transformed the beers of Pilzen, from 1842, into global style models.

In concise timeline of beer history Professor Linda Raley, of Texas Tech University, dates German lager brewing from 1420.

Lager brewing seems to have improved during the 1820s and 1830s, to have spread over Europe and to have reached Pilzen in 1842.

There, in combination with the soft water, pale malts and aromatic Saaz hops, Urquell developed the pale-golden, rich, aromatic and refreshingly bitter beer style that was ultimately imitated around the world.

These derivatives often sell as ‘Pilsen’ or ‘Pilsener’. Amongst craft brewers the name usually signals a lager of greater richness, aroma and lingering bitterness than we find in popular commercial lagers.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan

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