Friday, 30 July 2021

Heineken's first Lager

Yes. Yet more Heineken shit. Going a bit further back this time. Back to when they were just starting to switch from top to bottom fermentation.

It's unusual to have a review of the first appearance of a beer. Especially one that's become as big as Heineken. Though it isn't quite what tou might assume.

"Mr Gerard A. Heineken, the owner of the Hooiberg, one of the oldest breweries in our city, is one of those industrialists, to whose entrepreneurial spirit and energy the young Amsterdam owes great thanks. He develops a useful branch of industry in Amsterdam, which was rightly proud of its brewers in earlier times, and by honoring the taste of the day and brewing Bavarian beer, he has given the Dutch the opportunity to purchase an excellent folk drink, brewed on their own soil. Last night, at his request, a few hundred residents of the town came to taste the new brew, which was excellent. It is proverbially difficult to judge the taste of others, but if the public wants to know the subjective opinion of a hundred Amsterdammers regarding this new Bavarian beer, then we can say that it is a spicy, clear, very tasty drink, which seemed to us to combine the good qualities of Viennese beer with those of Bavarian beer. "May this beer soon become generally known, and refresh thousands!" Wished one of the guests at the Vyfhoek. We share this wish, and hope that Heineken's Bavarian will soon be as well known in the Netherlands, as Guinness's Porter in Ireland, as Bass's Ale in England."
Algemeen Handelsblad 24-02-1870.

Sadly, Heineken is now better known in England that Bass Ale.

Why not what you might have assumed? Because this wasn't a Pilsner, but a beer called Beiersch. Which means Bavarian in Dutch. That is, a dark Lager in the Munich style. In the early days of Lager expansion, it wasn't Pilsner, but Vienna and Munich Lagers which were all the rage. Hence the reference to those two types of beer in the article.

At one point, Heineken brewed both a Munich and a Vienna Lager. Sadly, I've no details for the latter, as it was dropped before the earliest brewing records I've seen. All I've seen are labels.


The Beer Nut said...

I don't recognise the placenames there. Was the Amsterdam brewery always down at Stadhouderskade where the museum is now?

Ron Pattinson said...

Beer Not,

the Stadhouderskade hadn't been built then. The brewery stood by itself on a piece of open ground.