The same professional obsessive streak that a brewer must deploy when making an industrial lager is also needed, in a completely different way, when they aim is to create a lager brewed, fermented and conditioned in the older, more elaborate and better flavour-imparting ways.
It is likely that the first commercially brewed lagers, which appeared around 1840, derived from the Kellerbier tradition of Bavaria and neighbouring regions of the Alpine foothills, where for centuries beers had been stored in cold caves over the summer, to save them from spoiling in the heat.
The best European lagers are made from 100% unrefined malted barley; mashed using the decoction method; hopped with German varieties such as Saaz, Hallertau, Spalt or Tettnang; fermented by a lager yeast strain at no more than 15 Centigrade for up to two weeks; and then conditioned in lagering tanks at between 0 and 4 Centigrade, for as long as three months.
This last part of this process requires a lot of storage space at the brewery but gains the beer maturity and sees off a wide variety of immature and unpleasant flavours.
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