The golden lager defines beer’s first taste revolution. Before 1840s all beers were ales, but in 1842, the blonde, clear, bubbly Czech Pilsner took the world by storm. The blend of newly-discovered lager yeast and pale barley malts created a clean, crisp lager with a firm hop bite—it wooed drinkers with its bubbly, brilliant appearance, especially after drinking dark, murky ales for so long.
Today, almost 80% of beers drunk in the world are still pilsners.
I think of lagers as white wines and ales as reds—and it blows my mind that half of the beer family wasn’t even discovered until 150 years ago—beer has been around for 8000 years. I think we’ll see a lot more lagers coming onto the scene as a recent discovery of a more flavourful strain of lager yeast has resulted in spicier flavour profiles. We might even taste a lager with the clove notes of a wheat beer pretty soon.
Pilsners came to prominence in Canada after World War II when Labatt Blue, Molson Canadian and other popular golden lagers wooed Canadian drinkers with their delicate, easy drinking flavours.
I paired a classic German pilsner from Beck’s, made by AB-In Bev, with a Vietnamese spring roll, filled with Asian-style marinated vegetables, cilantro, mint, avocado purée,, crispy vermicelli topped with a ginger soy glaze.
Beer tasting note: Crisp and bubbly, this German pilsner strikes a perfect balance between a white-cracker sweetness and spicy bitterness—no wonder it’s been around since 1873.
Why it works: The light intensity of the beer and the roll work. Beck’s floral hops play nicely with the roll’s bright herbs and the beer’s high carbonation refreshes the palate.
Sip it with: Green salads, orzo or rice salads, cured meats, jerk chicken, Thai and Vietnamese fare, sushi, pesto-based pasta dishes, bloomy-rind cheeses.
For more beer and food parings from Beer Master Class, click here.