At McFleshman’s we specialize in German Lagers and British Ales, but what’s the deal with German Lagers? (We’ll tackle the British Ales next week!). Known for refreshingly clean and crisp flavors, the Germans have mastered the art of the lager for centuries. Lagers are fermented longer and at cooler temperatures than the ales (6 weeks compared to about 2 weeks). It makes them a bit harder for craft breweries to produce, but that doesn’t stop us, with our Pirate’s Cove Munich Helles and The Hildy Pilsner being two of our top sellers.
A fun challenge in brewing German Beers is adhering to the Reinheitsgebot or the German Beer Purity Law, which limits the number of ingredients. In 1516, Bavarian rulers drafted the law that “the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities’ confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail. ” At the time, they did not know that yeast were also required for the beer, and have since added it to the law. To this day, the Reinheitsgebot is respected as German Beers are made with just four ingredients, which becomes a bit tricky when you want to capture some different flavors. By carefully selecting the right combination of Barley, Hops, and yeast the German flavors we love can be crafted. We add salts and nutrients to the water we use in our German beers to match the water profile of water found in Germany to bring you a truly German Style experience.
Our Walk in the Park Mai Bock uses a German technique called decoction, which cooks some of the grain separately to bring out a fresh-bready flavor. By carefully cooking this extra grain, we can add nuanced flavors but still follow the Reinheitsgebot. Another great example of how the Reinheitsgebot restricts our ingredients, but increases our creativity is our BrewHouse Dunkelwiezen (Brewed for Habitat for Humanity) which has hints of clove, banana, and nutty flavors, but only the FOUR INGREDIENTS! Lucky for us we stick to the purity law for our German Styles, so we don’t have to worry that the beer will be confiscated by the Courts!
But making the German Lagers is only half the story! We want you to enjoy these lagers like they should be: in our German Beer Garden! In traditional German style, we have long tables set up outside our tap room for you to meet new friends while drinking with old friends. Our hop vines have already sprouted and will soon provide a delightful canopy to protect your beers from the sun (a skunk-like flavor emerges upon sun exposure so keep those beers covered!) One of our owners is an avid gardener and brings that passion downtown through greenery and flowers to our Beer Garden, so relax, don’t worry and have a lager and celebrate the Reinheitsgebot!