Since Austin’s Live Oak Brewing launched with its Czech-style Pilz, Texas has become America’s craft brewing breeding ground for world-class pale lagers. But how did bottom fermentation end up on top here?
There’s nothing new about collaboration beers; international brewers have been working together for centuries. Pilsner, for instance, was born when British and Bavarian brewing technology intersected with Bohemian raw materials.
Why aren’t brewers playing with lagers like they do ales? For one thing, lagers are more difficult to homebrew due to the extra refrigeration requirements. Lager yeasts also leave a crisper, more delicate edge that makes it tricky to lay another flavor down without overwhelming the beer.
In the second half of the 19th century the types of beer brewed in Sweden changed radically. The original, purely indigenous styles were gradually swept away by imports from elsewhere, and Sweden was very early to jump on the lager train.
Considering the substantial resources and opportunities provided by the sales juggernaut that is IPA, it’s time to redirect some of those resources to a noble and long-ignored end: the resurrection of American lager beer.