Head Brewer Niko Tonks in defense of Fizzy Yellow Beer
Pilsner is my first true beer love, and maybe my only real one. It’s never made sense to me that “craft beer,” as a segment, has positioned itself against “fizzy, yellow beer.” I love fizzy yellow beer! Fizzy yellow beer doesn’t have to mean insipid, old, adjunct syrup beer. Fizzy yellow beer is the most popular kind of beer in the world not because some evil cabal of industrial brewers has forced it upon us, but because it’s a kind of beer that very many people enjoy very greatly, myself included.
Pilsner is the undisputed king of fizzy yellow beer. It contains multitudes, and it might just change your entire mindset about beer if you give it a chance. Pilsner began in the 1840s in Pilsen, in what is now the Czech Republic. It proved so popular that it was adopted, in turn, by the Germans, the rest of Northern Europe, and the world, all by the third quarter of the 19th century. Some perhaps less-than-ideal things have happened to Pilsner between then and now, sure, but we all make mistakes.
At its core, in the form that we do our best to emulate, lager bier is all about restraint, intention, detail, and mindset. Lager is not, as so many people would have you believe, the absence of things. It is, in fact, a deeply idiosyncratic palette upon which only certain things may be accurately projected. It requires selection of only the finest ingredients; a willingness to work them in the ways that they demand; and the patience, forbearance, and skill to ensure that those ingredients and our yeast friends play nice.