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Why ‘Lager’ Isn’t a Four Letter Word -

Why ‘Lager’ Isn’t a Four Letter Word

In the first of a new series of expert opinion pieces, Andrew Morgan, Sales & Marketing Director, Black Forest Beers and member of the British Guild of Beer Writers, looks at lager's reputation here in the UK and how the true meaning of the word ‘lager’ in Germany is key to its popularity and success...

Has any beer had a tougher time than lager? If you asked most people what word they’d put after ‘lager’, many are going to say ‘louts’ from its association with football violence in the 80’s/90’s. They’d probably also mention a certain lager brand being called ‘wife beater’ for a while. If someone told you that their favourite drink was lager, many wouldn’t expect them to be aspirational folk. Lager is the most popular beer style in Britain but also certainly the least revered.

However, not all lagers are created equally – and that’s a very literal thing. One of the main reasons some taste better than others, give you less post-drinking headaches, and cost more is due to the time they’re allowed to mature in their conditioning tanks. In the UK, there are no laws regarding this so it’s possible for lagers to be sold a couple of weeks after being brewed. The science is pretty simple: the longer the beer sits in the tank, the more time the yeast has to work its magic on the beer and turn all the nasties into lovelies. Sure, it’s possible to take it from the tank once it hits the required alcoholic strength but that’s missing the point of lager as it’s designed to take ages to mature. The word ‘lager’ actually means ‘maturation’ in German, it’s designed to be a beer that’s had longer to mature.

Rothaus Master Brewers at work

German lager balance and quality

This brings me to the Germans and their love of lagers. Generally, they’re very local affairs, served fresh, and don’t travel well. This is why the vast majority don’t leave the country and, for anyone who has visited Germany to drink German beer, you’ll know all the amazing styles of lager you can enjoy easily and relatively cheaply. There’s nowhere to hide with lagers, no adjuncts like chocolate, peanut butter, or anything ‘modern’ put into many cans these days. It’s all about the purity of flavours that come from water, yeast, hops, and barley. That’s where Rothaus excels. Using water from their own wells, yeast they’ve propagated for decades, and a dedication to quality that’s imperious.

It’s always amazing to see people’s faces when they try Rothaus Pils for the first time. Everything just clicks into place. They understand what balance and quality taste like. It’s great to show them how the lacing on the glass doesn’t fade, how the head remains foamy protecting the beer, and, even when it’s warmed up a bit, still tastes amazing.

Four glasses of Rothaus Hefeweizen sit on a bar while a barmaid pours another

Take the Rothaus challenge

We’re not going to list the reasons why other beers aren’t as good as those Rothaus produces but we invite you to test it versus your current lager of choice. The majority of taps we’re taking over in pubs across the land aren’t German beer competitors, they’re standard commercial lagers. We’re giving the every(wo)man a chance to drink something other than the status quo and they’re coming back in droves to enjoy Rothaus time and time again. On draught, it’s amazing. In bottle, it’s just as good when served in a specially designed Rothaus glass. So, if you’re looking to drink Rothaus at home, then please consider buying a half/pint glass to make the best of the Rothaus experience.

If your local bar/pub isn’t serving Rothaus then ask them to give us a shout and we’ll gladly head down with samples so they can experience Rothaus first-hand. Help us spread the good word and we’ll ensure you’re never far from a Rothaus tap again.

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