American Pale Lager
American Pale Lagers are the generic spin-off of the Pilsner beer style. The discovery of yeast, innovations in kilning, and the invention of refrigeration, all led to the development and success of Pale Lagers.
Bottom fermenting yeast was found for the production of Lagers, giving brewers the ability to perfect the Lager fermentation process.
Prior to the late 1600s, most beers were brown because kilning conditions could not be met. However, in the late 1600s, British brewers discovered that kilning over coke—coal heated in the absence of Oxygen that gives off heat with virtually no smoke—could make pale malts. Later, kilning time, temperature, and ventilation were discovered to be crucial components when making Lagers. For American Pale Lager beers, pale malt requires low temperatures and high ventilation to ideally dry.
Finally, the invention of refrigeration allowed for a more consistent product to be brewed year round. Lager yeast requires cold temperatures for fermentation, which meant prior to refrigeration, they could only brew Pale Lagers in colder months. Refrigeration also helped to stabilize the beers, helping them to survive exportation.
Josef Groll of Pilsner Urquell originally developed the first Pale Lager recipe in the year 1842. He called it the Bohemian style Pilsener, which was often characterized as a brilliant pale gold color with a large white head, good carbonation, rich malt flavors, medium hop bitterness, and noticeable spices from Saaz hops.
Though many different Pale Lagers have emerged from different areas around the world, American style Pale Lagers tend to stick to the old school Pale Lager recipes. Most use adjuncts like corn and rice, while some Americanize their lagers with domestically grown hops, and others imperialize the brew to a double or triple strength. In fact, in America the IPL or India Pale Lager has been rapidly emerging and becoming increasingly popular.
Generally the American Pale Lager ABV ranges from 3.5-5%, with the upper range more preferable for getting a true mouth feel. American Pale Lager food pairings typically include spicy foods and American dishes such as herby chicken. The Lager is medium bodied, with a light to medium hop impression, and a clean malt character, allowing the beer to act as a crisp palate cleanser.
We're excited to share this great beer style with our beer of the month club members. Cheers!
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