DC Brau Brewing Company released Heurich’s Lager, a limited edition pre-Prohibition style beer, on March 25, 2016. The beer is a historic re-creation of the Chr. Heurich Brewing Co.’s Lager Beer that was produced from the brewery’s opening in 1873 until its close in 1956. Learn more about Heurich’s Lager below:
A Brief Back Story of Pre-Prohibition Lagers in America
Before the period of American prohibition which spanned from 1920-1933 ales and lagers were brewed a little differently, especially in the case of the American Lager. As we know it today, most American Lagers have a fair amount of negative descriptors assigned to them. Common descriptors used amongst savvy consumers are bland, watery, thin, and flavorless to name a few.
Some major differences of pre-prohibition lagers vs. the mass produced American lagers of today are the flavor, strength, ingredients, and bitterness components of these beers. One of the most notable differences between pre-prohibition lagers and traditional all-malt continental lagers is the use of flaked maize (corn).
Contrary to popular belief corn was more expensive than most brewers malt and in some cases more costly than imported malts during this period in American brewing history. Flaked maize was chosen for use in these big lagers due to it’s process of being “pre-gelatinized.” This means that brewers during that period didn’t have to cook the maize at extended boiling temperatures to obtain the extract and flavor qualities. Unlike rice which needed to be cooked and boiled in a special cereal cooker to obtain it’s extract. The use of maize contributed a pleasant “grain-like” sweetness to the finished beer. This gave brewers of the period a more diverse flavor profile and a provided a way for brewers of that time to set themselves apart from other lager producers by using this premium ingredient.
Heurich’s Lager Description:
Style: Pre-Prohibition Lager
Malts: 2 row Czech Pilsner, Wheat, Vienna
Adjuncts: Flaked Corn, Flaked Rice
Hops: Czech Saaz
Yeast: Bavarian Lager
Heurich’s lager is, for all intents and purposes, a traditional pre-prohibition lager. It differs slightly due to the fact that it incorporates flaked rice as well as flaked corn making it almost a hybrid of pre and post prohibition lager styles. This lager has a deep, golden color with brilliant clarity, and attractive lacing created by the lively carbonation. The beer’s flavor is one of distinction in which the mild sweetness of the corn is noticeable but plays well with the malt-forward base of this strong lager. A substantial amount of hops are present and identifiable, but not overwhelming. They also contribute a strong level of bitterness to balance the malt character and aromatically give the beer a rustic, herbal note with a mild spice profile.
If you want to enjoy the beer like Christian Heurich did, let the beer warm up well past serving temperature to experience all the nuances that this lager has to offer. If thats not you cup of tea, or beer, then enjoy it in the manner of how most traditional lagers are served, cold and crisp!
Appearance: brilliantly clear, light straw, golden
Aroma: crisp, toasted bread, mild sweetness, pepper
Mouthfeel: Medium to high carbonation, creamy, medium body
Flavor: clean, refreshing, light malt mild grain-like sweetness, mild spice, medium bitterness, lingering pepper