As the weather continues to warm, spring yard work makes way for summer beach days, where no other style of beer quite slacks the thirst like a well made lager.
With its origins in continental Europe, lager’s development is tied to progress in scientific research during the late 19th century. This research allowed for the isolation of a yeast strain able to consistently produce a clean and crisp beer. Unlike ale yeast, lager yeast ferments at the bottom of the vessel and also has a preference to colder temperatures allowing it to create a neutral profile. This colder environment provides the yeast a platform to slowly ferment and avoid the production of esters and phenols creating a fresher, cleaner aroma.
With the rise of craft breweries, lagers were often overlooked by brewers as an offering; they take longer to make, they need a more robust brewery infrastructure, and the large breweries do a tremendously good job at producing them at a scale most small brewers could not fathom.
All that aside, most brewers enjoy a good lager and we are lucky to be seeing more of them being produced locally.
The first to take on this task was PEI Brewing Company with the launch of its flagship beer “Beach Chair Lager.” Brewed to compete on the shelf with the larger breweries, but with the advantage of being brewed locally, “Beach Chair Lager” sees its way into the coolers of many locals and Island tourists throughout the summer months.
When Upstreet Craft Brewing launched a few years ago, one of their core, year-round offerings was “Commons” lager. Drawing heavy influence from Czech style pilsners, “Commons” has a bit more of a bitter finish and rounded mouthfeel than a typical lager you would find at the local liquor store.
Most recently Copper Bottom in Montague brewed up a limited batch of a beer they dubbed, “Saaz Pils.” After a recent trip to the Czech Republic, brewer Ken Spears brewed it using select Czech ingredients. The beer gains its name from the beloved Czech Saaz hop and is paired with traditional floor-malted barley to create a well-rounded lager with a distinct grassy nose.
If you are looking to branch out form the tried and true lagers available at PEI Liquor Stores, be sure to give one of these a try or grab a can of the imported German Pilsner Bitburger, with its crisp mineral finish—another great lager that is readily available on PEI.