The Lagers initially brewed in Holland were called Beiersch and were in the Munich Dark Lager style. Munich beers were the prototypical Lagers and it was only when bottom-fermenting techniques spread outside Bavaria that Lagers began to be brewed in other hues.
Dutch Beiersch was roughly the equivalent of a Munich Sommerbier or Lagerbier. It had a gravity higher than Pilsener – 13º to 14º Plato, was less lightly hopped and more poorly attenuated than Lager of the Pilsener type.
Gerstebier was originally a top-fermenting style, but Heineken used the name for a cheap and cheerful type of Lager. Baartz, of Oranjeboom in Rotterdam, described Gerstebier in 1884 as "although a bottom-fermented beer, it is of a low gravity and not lagered, and is a beer quick to make for a significantly lower price" ("een weliswaar ondergistend bier, maar van licht gehalte en geen Lagerbier, maar een bier van snelle confectie en tot belangrijk lager prijs").*
Though this may well just be sour grapes on the part of Mr. Baartz. From other sources it seems that Gerste Bier was lagered.
Gerste Bier was brewed with Heinieken’s D strain of yeast, while the posher beers were brewed with their A strain, the one they still use today.
Beers called Vienna or Wiener – both Amstel and Heineken brewed one at some point – were presumably amber in the Austrian style.
Culmbacher, named after the Franconian town of Kulmbach, was a style brewed in several countries when Lager first began to spread from Central Europe. It was a very dark, almost black, Lager which was hopped at three times the rate of Munich Lagers.
|Hopping rate per 100 pounds of beer|
|Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für öffentliche Gesundheitspflege, Volume 2, 1870, page 276.|
Dortmunder, or Export, was originally slightly higher gravity than Pils and not as heavily hopped.
The Culmbacher and Vienna styles didn’t last that long in Holland.
The first mention I can find of Dutch-brewed Pilsener is from 1879. It wasn’t brewed in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, but in Amersfoort:
The first advert for their Pilsener I can find is dated 5th March 1879.
* "Korte Geschiedenis der Heineken's Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij N.V. 1873 - 1948", by H. A. Korthals, 1948, page 96.