Best European Lager?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by EmperorBatman, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,223) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    I miss the Dortmund beers that I enjoyed in the 70s. Especially Dortmund Ritter.
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  2. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (350) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia

    I would agree with you on any other style, but how do you square that statement with the exposed 6pks that use green bottles, that are prevalent only in the EPL style? The people making Heineken and etc are not stupid, they know this will occur and carry on selling damaged beer.
  3. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,223) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    I thought domestic Heineken came in brown bottles and the green bottles were for export only since green bottles were perceived as having more of an import the US.
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  4. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,050) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    The industry convention in the US, pre-craft, was green bottles for ales,
    but there were a few green-bottled lagers as well (Yuengling is a current example, as well as Straub, Augsburger and Special Export in the above pic). In addition, many Canadian ales and some lagers exported to the US also came in green bottles - the Molson beers the most common.
    The beers don't become light-struck until US retailers take them out of the cases.
  5. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,999) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    Strickly isolated to the Euro Pale Lager style, Samuel Smith's Pure Organic Pale Lager is hands down in a tier all to itself (according to my reviews of 16 beers I've had in this style). Made in England but tastes very German.
  6. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,673) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    This does not make it not a fault. I could argue that the people making Heineken are stupid because they've given in to some silly status symbol of marketing BS that (still) makes them believe a green bottle attracts more customers -- let alone all of the other brewers (of any beer, from Munich Helles to Czech Pilsner) who felt they needed to fall into lock-step with the same thinking.

    Bravo to Hofbräu for switching to brown bottles because they realized that stupidity.
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  7. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (350) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia

    Okay, so "currently" the only type of beer who across the board uses green is EPL, and Yunegling. I am not sure why you spent the time to attach pictures of long ago discontinued beers that have nothing to do with the conversation at hand, but okay.

    All beer wine and spirits come with the instructions to avoid direct sunlight. You're making it sound like this is some kind of "special instructions" that come attached to Heineken because it comes in green bottles and they don't want it to get messed up, which is not the case at all. If they didn't want it taken out of the 24 case and exposed to light, they wouldn't the bottles into 6pk holders with barcode. Very silly comment. Maybe you're just kiddin?
  8. cryptichead

    cryptichead Poo-Bah (1,565) Jul 3, 2014 Illinois
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    Haven't had it in a while but I used to be a big fan of Grolsch
  9. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (814) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Dab is my go to. Right around $20 for a case of 24 cans just under 16oz each.

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  10. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,430) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    I see it and have never bought it, I will next time. Steaks on the grill this weekend seems like a nice match.
  11. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,050) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    The 2 seconds it took to attach the jpeg of US and Canadian beers in green bottles was to illustrate that they were and are commonly used for beers other than Euro Lagers. Most of those beers were marketed well into the 21st century and a number still exist - Straub, Lord Chestefield Ale, Molson Golden, Special Export, Little Kings, or, not pictured current brands like Yuengling Traditional Lager and AB's Rolling Rock- the use of the "greenies" part of their marketing image.

    But, I think both @steveh and I were responding to your statement "... a style where skunking is permitted..." ; as I asked "To whom?" Sure, it is well known by the brewers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers of clear- and green-bottled beers that they are likely to becoming lightstruck under normal off-premise retail conditions.

    The marketers of those brands are well aware of it and they are willing to sell the beers in packages that allow the beer to become "damaged", trading protection for image. But, damn, it works for them - the four best-selling imports in the US all fall into the category - Corona, Modelo Especial, Heineken and Stella Artois.

    But (and, ultimately, this might just be a semantic disagreement) I'd say that, while the lightstruck beer is known by the brewers and accepted - in some cases even desired - by those beers' consumers, it isn't, for the broader beer culture, "permitted" in any style beer.

    Not every brewer ignored the possibility of their beer becoming light-struck:
    #51 jesskidden, Mar 15, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  12. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,673) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I always wonder if those consumers think something is wrong with a Heineken when they get it in a can or from draft. "Hey, this doesn't taste right..." Let alone why they enjoy the smell and flavor of skunk in their beer.

    The first time I ever had a non-skunked Heineken was in the early 80s. I was hesitant to get one at the restaurant we were at, but they really didn't have much else (it was the early '80s, after all). I was amazed at how good it tasted -- the restaurant was taking good care of their green-bottled beer -- what a concept.
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  13. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (442) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Also false. Many of those beers are currently available in green bottles. The historic photos JK attaches are always PFC. Get used to them.

    The conversation at hand is "Best European Lager" not only Euro Lagers are sold in green bottles now prove it to me to my satisfaction.

    "all" beer does not come with instructions. Much less wine and spirits which are incidentally not capable of skunking but that is another discussion.

    Heineken's green bottle, it's branding, the skunking, none of this is a new topic among this crowd and a certain amount of knowledge is assumed here. We are aware that green bottles are bad and we know the folks at Heineken are not stupid. The only discussion is why it remains this way and how it effects their sales.

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  14. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,050) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Back when those Molson green-bottled beers made the brand the #2 US import, they were still being sold in Canada in the country's then-standard brown stubby bottles. It got to be a cliché for some drinkers to come home and complain that "Molson's just doesn't taste the same up there..."
    ("Well, yeah, you dummy - it's not lightstruck!")

    The story goes that a former Van Munching exec, George Regan, left (fired, IIRC) the US Heineken importer, and went to work for Molson, forming Martlet Importing Co. and talked them into using the green "heritage" type bottles similar to Heineken's bottle.

    Within a decade or so, both Labatt and Moosehead followed Molson's lead, putting their beers exported to the US in greenies, too. Labatt saw an increase in sales of 30% the first year and Moosehead was the fifth biggest US import by the early '80s (behind Heineken, Molson, Beck's and Labatts - all green bottled brands at the time).

    Yeah, I don't think that is the case anymore and Heineken International has converted most Heineken brewed around the world to their new-ish long-necked green bottle.

    Both Heineken and InBev (for Stella Artois) have been rumored to experiment with a UV filtering "film" that would be applied to their green bottles but, last I researched it, not a lot of info. (Plus, the segment of the light spectrum that causes beer to become lightstruck includes not just UV light but a portion of visible light as well).
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  15. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Guess again. Putting the bottles in 6 packs with the bar code makes it possible for the customer to take the sixpack from the closed case directly to the register to be rung up. Buying all those bottles separately would be much more of a hassle and not everybody lives in a state where you have to buy your beer by the case. Exposing the 6 pack to the light is a retailer decision.
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  16. JA_26

    JA_26 Initiate (139) Feb 4, 2019 Pennsylvania

    Another vote for Bitburger here, especially if I can get the tall cans. Also really like Dinkelacker CD-Pils, but that one has been tougher to find in my area.
  17. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,192) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Supposedly, when Pilsner Urquell was put into green bottles to specifically fit in with the US market, the Czech people started to think that the US was getting superior product and Urquell started to use green glass on their home turf as a result. Not sure how much truth there is to that, but when they were considering switching to brown for the US, they did market research and found that 50% of people preferred the taste profile of the lightstruck beer.

    I don't want the "beer flaw" discussion to take over this thread, but personally, I think that talk of "flaws" or "permitted" is ultimately just abstract thinking when compared to brewer design and consumer demand. Speculation here: I don't know what Urquell's US sales were just before their switch to brown, but if they were as good as bottled Corona (as opposed to canned Corona sales) then I wouldn't expect them to fix what ain't broke... even if what's "broke" is in the eye of the beholder.

    Here's a genuine question to expose my ignorance: There's always talk of buying beer packaged in green glass by the closed case to avoid getting lightstruck beer. Given how quickly beer can get lightstruck, I always figured that will only do so much good. It's not like brewers are filling and packaging bottles in the dark. Am I nuts?

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  18. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (442) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Only a certain spectrum of light causes the chemical reaction. I want to say 400 nm to 600 nm or something, but it is specific. Indoor lighting is generally too weak to have an effect, if the wave length is even present.
    Fluorescent light does get into the wave length required for skunking but also not really powerful enough in ordinary settings. Get the bottles too close to a window or near the bulb though and it's over real quick.

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  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,610) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    You are pretty close with your statement here:

    “…light-struck beer is due to visible light between 400-500 nanometers in wavelength (the blue end of the spectrum) and ultraviolet light, which has a wavelength of less than 400 nm.”

    You are correct that fluorescent bulbs have the majority of the spectrum above the light-struck range (i.e., most of the light is above 500 nm). You can see a graph in the below linked article:

    I would think that light intensity would play a role here as well but I have not seen this quantified in any papers.

    I do indeed think it is fair to say that the conditions of lighting in a beer production facility are markedly different from exposing a bottle of beer to direct sunlight.

    billandsuz likes this.
  20. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,192) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Yeah, but I’ve had plenty of lightstruck beer and I doubt the beer stores are bringing cases to the windows to open up before stocking their shelves. Are the lighting conditions in a brewery all that different from a Total Wine? :wink: I know the effects are due to the type of light intertwined with exposure time - so I assume that’s a big factor. Your point about the distance to the light source is a good one.
  21. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,050) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, it's pretty difficult to research the beers that came in green bottles (either in their domestic market and/or only for export, etc.) because once you get back to, say, before WWII, the ads and photographs are primarily in B&W. And even the industry publication didn't really discuss it much.

    My theory has always been the popular consumer image of the green bottle suggesting import quality and superiority was established in the US before beer was commonly sold in open basket-type sixpacks and stored behind "self-service" glass doors illuminated with bright florescent lights, or (even worse) on the "warm" shelves under even brighter, more direct fluorescent fixtures. (Heck, even in the 1970s I was buying beer at stores and bars that stored their beer behind heavy-wooden doors in coolers lit only by incandescent light bulbs, which were manually turned off and on.)

    There is a myth (in my opinion, anyway :grin:) that green bottles from Europe were the result of shortages after the War (and that may have contributed to their use) but there is photographic proof that both Heineken and Lowenbrau (the two biggest imports in the US post-WWII) used green bottles pre-War - although the glass itself was both thicker and a darker green.

    M. Jackson, in his obit of Freddie Heineken (available online) mentions that when Heineken adopted its green bottle, it was unknown that it was not as good at preventing lightstruck as brown glass. Not sure about that but certainly lightstruck clear-bottled beer was well understood in the US by the early 1900s.

    A 1980 quote from a Molson exec:
    And another from the same era, from
    The Practical Brewer Master Brewers' Association of the Americas [1977]
    #61 jesskidden, Mar 15, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,610) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “Bottled beer can become lightstruck in less than one minute in bright sun, after a few hours in diffuse daylight and in a few days under normal fluorescent light.”

    I think it is safe to say this is your answer right here.

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  23. dgmirelli

    dgmirelli Aspirant (271) Mar 21, 2015 New York

    need weihenstephaner to follow lead of Paulaner and can!
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  24. augustgarage

    augustgarage Poo-Bah (2,104) May 20, 2007 California

    Slightly off-topic, but Żywiec's baltic porter is one of my favorite inexpensive dark beers - probably one of my most repeated purchases.
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  25. MightyTrustKrusher

    MightyTrustKrusher Initiate (76) Nov 5, 2014 New Jersey

    Fresh canned Weihenstephaner Original would be a dream come true.
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  26. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,066) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I've said this before here. Years ago in Amsterdam the magnificent aroma of fresh bread above the neighborhoods was utterly enticing. We went to the brewery, took the tour, and had tons of great beer and food and met people from across the world. It was a first class place.
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  27. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (160) Mar 15, 2014 California

    Eurostyle - Trumer Pils
    European - Pilsner Urquell
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  28. Amendm

    Amendm Champion (805) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    As far as European Pale Lagers are concerned, Heineken, Stella Artois, Harp, Grolsch. St.Pauli Girl were considered a treat back in my Bud drinking days. When the weather gets warmer I plan on revisiting and exploring this style, I have not reviewed one yet.
    #68 Amendm, Mar 16, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  29. barrybeerdog

    barrybeerdog Initiate (146) Aug 17, 2012 South Dakota

    A couple years ago my son & I were in Mitenberg Germany drinking a wide range of Faust beers at the brewery pub. Maybe it was the perfect setting, but the range of fresh Faust beers, especially the Kraeusen were fantastic!
  30. Mindcrime1000

    Mindcrime1000 Meyvn (1,174) Apr 30, 2016 South Dakota
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    Weihenstephaner and Urquell are tough to argue with but...

    I like an Efes Pilsener from Turkey too...
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    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (793) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin


    I am very, very much on-board with 1881. It recently appeared in sixers in my area for $8, which I think might be the tastiest budget method of getting slammed, if one so chooses. Regardless, it's an excellent price for a very good beer.
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  32. dgmirelli

    dgmirelli Aspirant (271) Mar 21, 2015 New York

    agreed, would buy by the truck full
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  33. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,066) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Also, Black Boss Porter. from Poland.
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  34. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,771) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Have you ever tried the Benediktiner Helles? I find it quite satisfying for a cheapie 4-pack, and it makes for a good substitute until you get your Weihenstephaner wish :slight_smile:.
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  35. considerbeer

    considerbeer Initiate (39) Dec 15, 2016 Colorado

    Robert Lobovsky confirms as much in terms of Urquell's switch to green bottles in the US in this interview (an utterly fascinating interview, start-to-finish, in my view):

    US consumers started "demanding" green bottles from Urquell and they acquiesced in 1982/83. It barely took 6 months for Czech consumers to think that the US was getting a better product and demand the switch as well.

    Come full circle, and at least at the time of the interview, US bottles had switched back to brown and they remained green in Czech...
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  36. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,050) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Will check out the audio interview later, but the dates for green-bottled Pilsner Urquell seems off to me. I recall them (in 4 packs) in the 1970s and here's a 1976 or '78 ad (hard to make out, the larger print underneath it I added after scanning) from their then importer, All Brands Importers.
    EDIT - OK, found the original - ad was copyrighted 1976 and published in a 1978 magazine.

    Of course, the ABI text is incorrect to imply the beer was "new" to the US, there are many US ads for P.U. after Repeal and again after WWII (some on my PILSNER URQUELL webpage - unfortunately, all B&W) and it is listed in the 1964 NJ State Price Guide.
    #76 jesskidden, Mar 16, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  37. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (324) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    There's a collection of old bottles on a Czech website showing bottles from different years.
    Year 1950, export bottle.
    Year 1965 export bottle.
    1973, intended for the German market.
  38. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,050) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    This is pretty cool (gotta go through my physical print files more often...)

    1979 ad for a Canadian* label printing company-
    Pilsner Urquell in brown glass.
    * Bi-lingual Molson label on a stubby, German Lowenbrau and ABV listed on the P.U. label all verify it's Canada.
  39. considerbeer

    considerbeer Initiate (39) Dec 15, 2016 Colorado

    Lovobsky was just going off memory in the interview. It's an aside about taste/consumer preference that starts at the 45 minute mark.
  40. Tucquan

    Tucquan Poo-Bah (3,099) Oct 11, 2007 Pennsylvania
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    It sure is a good value and I too am a fan. Can't get the cans here in Lancaster County, PA but they are available closer to Philly. Also, when I'm in Chicagoland, I can regularly get 4/16.9's in just about every grocery store for $4.99.