There seems to be some excitement brewing (no pun intended) for the upcoming BA Lager Fest. Some folks have discussed they are particularly excited to try Live Oak Pre-War Pils. There is likely a few BAs who do not have a lot of familiarity with the Classic American Pilsner (CAP) style so a bit of background: “Classic American Pilsner It was not just European beer drinkers that wanted to drink golden colored lagers. The challenge for producing a beer like Pilsner Urquell in America was a difference in barley. The predominant type of barley grown in North America was 6-row barley vs. the 2-row barley grown in Europe. The 6-row barley was better suited for growing in the climate of North America. The issue with 6-row barley when it comes to brewing a golden beer is that it is higher in protein as compared to 2-row. Brewing an all malt golden beer in the America would yield a beer that suffers from chill haze – a hazy appearance when the beer is cold. The American beer drinkers of that time preferred to drink their beers cold so this chill haze issue was a real problem. It should be noted that chill haze was not too much of a problem for the others beers being produced in America in the mid-1800s since they were typically darker in color (e.g., amber/dark ales, dark Bavarian Lagers, etc.). Thankfully there was a brewing scientist who came to the rescue. Anton Schwarz immigrated to America in 1868 from the Austrian Empire. “He was educated at the University of Vienna, where he studied law for two years, and at the Polytechnicum, Prague, where he studied chemistry.” The year after he immigrated to the US he wrote a seminal article entitled “Brewing with Raw Cereals, Especially Rice” in American Brewer magazine (1869). What Anton Schwarz recognized is that by adding some adjuncts (e.g., rice, corn) to the grain bill the overall content of protein was diluted since the adjuncts contained little protein and consequently the resulting beer would not suffer from chill haze. There was also the added benefit that the beer brewed using adjuncts would have improved beer stability. This improved beer stability was a great asset since American beer consumers drank quite a bit of bottled beer. The information that Anton Schwarz provided was quite an innovation for American brewers. Below is how Anton Schwarz is lauded in the book American Handy-Book of the Brewing, Malting, and Auxiliary Trades by Wahl & Henius, 1902, page 711: “It was Anton Schwarz who first advised the employment of rice and subsequently of Indian corn, which is so abundant in this country. The stubborn perseverance with which he sought to convert conservative brewers to his ideas and finally succeed in doing and, last, not least, the discovery of suitable methods to scientifically apply them, entitles him to be called the founder of raw cereal brewing in the United States.” https://www.morebeer.com/articles/Pilsen_Beer Live Oak Pre-War Pils is detailed on their website: “Live Oak Pre-War Pils After the repeal of prohibition, World War I still loomed large in public consciousness. Consequently, these beers were commonly known as “pre-war” pilsners. This 1912 recipe, mashed with one-third corn grits in a cereal decoction mash is a fine example of American early 1900s brewing. OG: 12ºP ABV: 5.0% IBU: 32” https://liveoakbrewing.com/pre-war-pils/ If you visit the above link there is also a promotional video for this beer. A principle difference between a contemporary AAL beer (e.g., Budweiser) and the beers brewed in the latter 1800’s in America was the hopping – CAP beer were generously hopped in all three phases (bittering, flavor and aroma). As can be noted above Live Oak Pre-War Pils has 32 IBUs which is significantly more than a Budweiser of today (about 10 – 12 IBUs). There are not many commercially brewed CAP beers but a few examples: “Examples of Classic American Pilsners There are few examples of commercially brewed CAP beers. They tend to be only available in limited regions and sometimes on a rotating basis: Straub 1872 Pre-Prohibition Lager (Pennsylvania), Fort George 1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager (Oregon), Short’s Pontius Road Pilsner (Michigan), Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. Rocket 100 (Texas), Upland Champagne Velvet (Indiana), and Fullstream Paycheck Pilsner (North Carolina).” My favorite commercially brewed CAP is Straub 1872 Pre-Prohibition Lager but unfortunately it has been a few years since I have seen this beer at my local beer retailers. I suppose Straub mostly distributes this beer in western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio? Have any of you had the chance to drink a CAP (maybe at a local brewpub)? Do you have a favorite? If you already had the opportunity to drink Live Oak Pre-War Pils what did you think of this beer? Cheers!