Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Thürstein pilsner

On our last trip to the Lakes the lovely Lisa and I managed to track down Thürstein pilsner.

With a name like that, complete with a heavy metal umlaut, we had to give it a go, despite the natural aversion to lager we share with all discerning drinkers.

The beer's described as a "pilsner style top fermented lager" which got me thinking. Nowadays the beer kingdom is generally divided into the phyla of ale and lager depending on whether it is made with top/warm fermenting yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) or bottom/cold fermenting yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus) respectively. This difference contributes greatly to ales having their delicious fruity flavour and lagers having their boring bland lack of flavour.

But the classification wasn't always this way, as originally ale was the term for unhopped fermented grain drinks, beer was hopped fermented grain drinks and lager didn't get a look in.

As I've said before I'm not entirely happy with how beers are currently classified, but I'm no Linnaeus so I haven't come up with my own grand scheme yet. However, I'm not convinced the best way to classify beers is solely by the yeast species they're fermented with and it seems the Coniston Brewing Company agree with me. There are ale yeasts out there that give a 'neutral' flavour (i.e. they contribute nothing to it) and a number of breweries make 'lagers' with them. As the main flavour I get from lager tends to be the sulphury/vegetable flavour of DMS ( Dimethyl Sulphide - which ultimately comes from the very lightly kilned malt used to make most lagers), I think the malt makes a large contribution to whether I would recognise something as a lager or not.

Fortunately Thürstein pilsner doesn't taste of vegetables, it's a refreshing, easy drinking beer flavoured with posh German hops. I'll leave it to the style police to decide whether it's a pilsner or not.


  1. "despite the natural aversion to lager we share with all discerning drinkers"

    If by "discerning" you mean "know no better" then you have described the majority of so called "beer geeks" superbly.

    However, there are plenty of us who do know better.

  2. Of course a number of independent brewers in the UK used to brew a top-fermenting "bastard lager" (effectively a pale, very lightly hopped keg ale) for sale in their pubs. I think Robinson's Einhorn (=Unicorn) was about the last to vanish.

  3. Velky: I've not come across that definition of "discerning" before! But to be serious for a moment, I really very rarely like pilsners, even posh ones and even in Germany and the Czech republic.

  4. "the natural aversion to lager we share with all discerning drinkers" - utter bollocks.

  5. Yep. Way off beam there Ed. I love a really good lager.

  6. No, no, I've drunk lager on a number of occasions and I'm definitely right on this one.

  7. I'd be interested to try this. Where is it available in London?

    Have you tried Nils God Lager? I recommend you do if you haven't already. http://dasteepsspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/07/godly-lager.html