Delving into lager’s past

Pete Brown is the latest to go digging beneath the surface of lager history. Quite literally.

Plzen (places in the Czech Republic have both German and Czech names, and when you’re there it starts to feel appropriate to use the Czech spelling) is synonymous with beer, and with the date 1842, when Josef Groll allegedly brewed the first golden lager, the style which eventually became known as Pilsner.  That’s bollocks of course – there was golden lager before Groll – but there’s no denying the astonishing impact his intervention had on the beer world.

…as soon as the town was granted its charter in 1295, the citizens began to dig.  First cellars, then tunnels joining them up, and soon there was a 19km underground network inside the hill.

I think it’s time to declare a war on all self-serving 19th century industrialists who claim to have invented this or that. Seems to be that what they invented was the ability to build/brew/transport/sell it cheaper and faster for a mass market – a category that lager beer falls into nicely.


About Andrew

Former Grocer journalist and Carlsberg PR, turning lager historian
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