Creators of the World’s Greatest Pilsners? :: Drink :: Features :: Austin Beer Garden Brewing :: Paste
In the remainder two years, the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.—upper known to locals simply as “The ABGB”—has won three medals on the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. That’s a very good feat all on its own, but it surely definitely’s the details that make it quite astounding.
All three medals won by the use of the ABGB have been golds.
And by hook or by crook, ALL THREE of them have been for pilsner, in three separate pilsner substyles—German-style pils, Czech/Bohemian pils, and American pils.
That form of issue merely doesn’t happen—not at GABF, a competition that this 12 months collected beer from more than 2,000 breweries. Each of those pilsner categories receives 100 or further entries. Even if a beer is consistently great, each and every year, it rarely manages to look out itself at the winner’s platform more than once. If you’ll be capable to arrange to score a single medal in one of the additional tradition-driven categories similar to pilsner, you thank your lucky stars. Winning gold medals in three different kinds of pilsner, inside the span of 2 years? That’s like some form of German brewer’s GABF pipe dream fable.
Brian “Swifty” Peters is that brewer, even though he’s German in now not the rest on the other hand genre for authentic lagers. The founding father of ABGB, Peters has been around the block within the craft beer industry, co-founding Austin’s Live Oak Brewing Co. with Chip McElroy in 1996—every other brewery within the identical the city, in a similar fashion known for award-winning German beer sorts. After leaving Live Oak in 2001, Swifty brewed in a large number of other locales previous to opening ABGB in 2013. But this seems like the only where the brewer is taking a look to build his legacy, alongside fellow brewers Amos Lowe and Kim Mizner. A bevy of medals is unquestionably a superb place to begin out, anyway.
“Chip and I both went to Prague, and that was it for us: We were going to bring fresh Czech pilsners to America,” says Peters, referencing the artwork Live Oak continues to be doing to at the present time. This conversation is happening at the floor of GABF, moderately audible over the roaring din of tens of loads of craft beer geeks milling around the Colorado Convention Center. In the center of it’s ABGB, pouring all three of its different pilsners. In three years of walking around the GABF floor, I’ve on no account seen every other gross sales house have three different pilsners on tap. Not once.
“It’s a little ambitious I guess,” says a modest Peters once I stage this out. “But there is a different between them, and people will notice if they try them. And we have great bartenders at the brewery who are eager to explain some of the finer points and subtleties between similar beers. People will end up loving one more than another.”
One of the gold medal winners this 12 months is Rocket 100, a so-called “pre-prohibition” American pilsner. Curious about how Swifty will describe any such beer, in a style that isn’t as well defined as German or Czech pils, I ask him if it uses American hop varietals, in particular out of date ones similar to Cluster. He replies within the adversarial.
“It’s not so complicated,” he says. “For me, ‘American pilsner’ is what I want it to be, and everyone is making up their own answer. So we use some corn in it, but we still use the German malt and Continental hops, like Saaz. It’s like what a German immigrant might have brewed in pre-prohibition America.”
Last 12 months, it was once as soon as the brewery’s German pilsner, Industry, that came upon itself within the gold medal spotlight—a beer that we’ve already written about as one in all our favorites from GABF this 12 months. Or as I wrote then:
It has the whole thing I consider of, once I believe the most productive German pils: Crisp, crackery malt and numerous subtle, floral and frivolously extremely spiced hops, which contribute affordable bitterness. Like all the ABGB beers, it’s moderately dry, mega drinkable and previous reproach in a historical sense. All that, and it almost definitely drinks well on a patio, too.
The only one I wasn’t in a position to try—not because of I was tired of pilsner, on the other hand because it had completely run out on the pageant—was once as soon as Velvet Revolution, the brewery’s Czech pils. It was once as soon as a shame, on the other hand on the identical time I was just about excited to look a beer like that run out. At a contest dominated by the use of hazy IPA and barrel-aged stouts, it’s form of cool to look a crowd clamoring for Czech pils.
This is all not to say that ABGB best produces German lagers. The brewery doesn’t package deal deal, apart from crowlers, on the other hand their beer garden pours an bizarre 10-beer rotation on tap, which accommodates lots of the other American sorts you need to expect from a successful brewery in 2017.
“The 10 beers usually includes three lagers, a sour of some kind—usually a fruited sours with lactobacillus—and then a full-time pale ale, IPA and imperial red,” says Swifty. “So we really do hoppy ales, lagers and the occasional sour. I don’t like ‘em to be sweet, either; all of our beer is super dry. So we make like a dry, but not overly bitter IPA, but using the same hops everyone else is loving, like Citra or Mosaic.”
But however, with GABF results like this, it’s exhausting not to be aware of the brewery’s mastery of pilsner in particular, and Swifty is pleased with that. He describes the affection for pils as “going full circle,” the end result segment of a journey that involved leaving an engineering procedure behind to be aware of homebrewing. At first, it was once as soon as experimental beers that got him excited—the extra atypical, the upper. But in this day and age? It’s pilsner. Or as he puts it, “I left on a journey, and came back to make what Milwaukee’s been doing forever, and do it better.”
That’s the Gospel of Swifty in this day and age, and by the use of extension the gospel of ABGB. If he can accomplish one thing within the beer industry, he says he wishes to position in his love of pilsner into every craft beer fan who however buddies the time frame with dull, flavorless, hop-free macro lagers from Anheuser Busch or MillerCoors.
“I still get a lot of people coming up to me and saying ‘This is pretty good for a pilsner,’” he says. “To be able to put an end to that, to never hear that again—that would be my wish.”
Jim Vorel is a Paste personnel writer and nascent pilsner geek. You can follow him on Twitter for lots extra beer content material subject material.