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ipas may rule but hey dont ever forget those lagers
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IPAs May Rule, But, Hey, Don’t Ever Forget Those Lagers

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin As American consumers go gaga over IPAs, a new book says — hey, wait a minute! — don’t forget the lagers. Modern Lager Beer, written by Jack Hendler and Joe Connolly, extols the virtues of lagers which, for centuries, have been the backbone of the brewing industry. Hendler is the founder and co-owner of Massachusetts-based Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers, and Connolly is the company’s sales director. A waitress in Munich, Germany, carries glasses of beer during Octoberfest, an annual celebration … [+] dominated by lagers. (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images) Getty Images “As we see more and more entrants into lager brewing by craft breweries, we feel that the time is now for a serious resource dedicated to the production of high-quality craft lager,” Connolly says. “More good lager is good for the consumer perception of lager beer; more bad or boring lager, less so!” Hendler’s “first memorable lager experience” was drinking Dunkel with his mother at Munich’s Hofbräuhaus. “Her eyes nearly popped out of her head at the size of the liter glass,” he recalls in the book. “Mine nearly did the same at the first sip. Underneath that fluffy foam cap was a beautiful, crystal-clear amber liquid with a depth of flavor I had never experienced before. I was hooked.” Hendler later went on a quest for the “perfect dunkel” and enrolled in a brewing school in Germany. The school “laid a solid foundation,” but much of his learning came from traveling and visiting breweries, he writes. MORE FOR YOU Cannes Film Festival 2024: Stars Arrive On Red Carpet For Annual Event TelevisaUnivision 2024-25 Slate Touts Latino Culture, ViX Growth, Juanpa Zurita, William Levy Deals Judge Says Up To 20 Million Fintech Depositors Are At Risk From Synapse Bankruptcy Connolly followed a very different path to lager appreciation. He drank his first Hofbräuhaus Dunkel when researching the book. Connolly was a fan of American and Belgian artisanal beers, West Coast IPAs and complex barrel-aged beers, and they inspired him to home brew. He eventually made his way to appreciation of lagers. “The humble lager was there waiting on the other side,” Connolly writes. “Yes, the same lager that they warned me about, the same style sold in bulk that had bored me into seeking out all those wild flavors. I’m not sure when it clicked, but when I realized the Herculean effort that goes into creating these simple beers — these hardest to make, easiest to drink beers — the story and the beer hooked me for good.” Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers, located about 23 miles west of Boston in Framingham, was founded in 2011 by Hendler and his brothers Eric and Sam. “Part of our goals from the beginning was to change people’s perception of lager beer from cheap, fizzy beer to as diverse and interesting as craft ales,” Hendler explains. “Part of that goal has led us to push the bounds of lager brewing, creating new styles and using unusual ingredients and innovative processes like barrel aging. While the majority of beer we sell is traditional and recognizable styles, the pushing of the envelope has allowed us to educate craft beer consumers and make them appreciate craft lager in the same way they appreciate craft ales.” A cowboy struggles to stay on a bucking bronco in this vintage lager beer label from 1936. (Photo: … [+] Pierce Archive LLC/Buyenlarge via Getty Images) Buyenlarge via Getty Images Many beer drinkers view lagers as less flavorful than ales. “This is a key issue that we deal with on a day-to-day basis, particularly in the early days of the brewery,” Hendler says. “We countered this issue by brewing big and bold beers that are as far from that description as possible. In the modern brewery, there is no reason ales can’t be brewed as clean and neutral as lagers, or lagers brewed as flavorful as ales. Once you can get past the brilliant marketing that has made the American consumer expect light and flavorless beer from lager beer, it’s easier to appreciate the various styles of lager available around the world.” Hendler offers an anology. “Assuming American lager beer is without flavor is the equivalent of saying all American bread is cheap white-enriched sliced bread,” he says. “It may be the most common, but you need only go to your local baker to find a tastier loaf to eat.” Modern Lager Beer includes lager recipes of notable breweries worldwide. It is a book aimed at brewers but is full of history and information that can appeal to consumers. “For consumers, we loved highlighting all the unique breweries around the world that brew and feature lager,” Connolly says. “It was fun to highlight the interesting cultural and philosophical traditions that unite lager brewers and associated trades across the globe. For example, we learned about the Riggs Beer Company from our hop farmers in Germany, which led us to travel to Urbana, Illinois, the next winter. The Riggs brothers make beer there from grain they grow on their family farm, which makes their lagers completely of their own category. And, they’re doing it free of pretension in a way that nods to their heritage while creating something new.” Brewers will find the book a resource for “getting under the hood” of their beers, Connolly says. “In many lager styles, the difference between world-class and unremarkable is very, very slight,” he says. “Understanding how to use the tools and technology of the modern brewhouse to create unique, high-quality lagers requires a deep appreciation for process and raw materials. We get into the weeds of those details to help brewers understand and execute their visions.” Follow me on Twitter. Gary Stoller Following Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions

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